Clinton & Trump: Where They Stand on Minority and LGBT Rights
Politics| | By Brian Delpozo
The 2016 election has been one of the most contentious in American history. Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have thrown barbs on numerous issues, including foreign policy, immigration, the economy, and many others.
The issue of minority and LGBT rights has been a major one, as both candidates have attempted to reach out to these groups, while at the same time appealing to their respective party’s broader constituency.
The first place to look when comparing Trump and Clinton on any issue are their official campaign websites. However, befitting their public personas, each has chosen to display the issues in completely different ways.
Clinton’s website details her potential presidential actions in a way befitting her policy specific-driven persona. On race, Clinton sticks well within the comfort zone of the Democratic Party and most left-leaning Americans. Her site breaks down what as president she would:
“Reform our broken criminal justice system by reforming sentencing laws and policies, ending racial profiling by law enforcement, strengthening the bonds of trust between communities and police, and more.
“Protect the right to vote by fighting to repair the Voting Rights Act and implementing universal, automatic voter registration so that every American will be registered to vote when they turn 18, unless they opt out.
“Protect immigrants’ rights and keep families together by fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, including a full and equal pathway to citizenship and an end to family detention and private immigrant detention centers.
“Of gun violence in our communities. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for young African American men—more than the next nine leading causes combined. We must do more to crack down on gun stores that flood our communities with illegal guns and deprive our children of their futures.
“Fight against environmental injustice. Clean air and clean water are basic human rights. But too many children in low-income housing are exposed to lead. African American children are twice as likely to suffer from asthma as white children. Half of our nation’s Latino population lives in areas where the air quality does not meet the EPA’s health standards—and climate change will put vulnerable populations at even greater risk. As president, Hillary will work to reduce air pollution, invest in the removal of toxins like lead, develop greener and more resilient infrastructure, tackle energy poverty, and boost efforts to clean up highly polluted toxic sites.
“Close the education achievement gap by making sure every child has a world-class education from birth through college. Hillary will double America’s investment in Early Head Start, ensure that every 4-year-old in America has access to high-quality preschool, drive student achievement in K-12 schools, make college affordable, and relieve the crushing burden of student debt.
“End violence against the transgender community—particularly women of color.
“Revitalize the economy in communities that have been left out and left behind through a “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda” that includes $125 billion in targeted investments to create good-paying jobs, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, and connect housing to opportunity.
“Ensure equal treatment for citizens in Puerto Rico. Hillary is committed to making sure Puerto Ricans have a voice and are treated equally. She believes that Puerto Ricans must be treated equally by Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs that benefit families. She will also work with the people of Puerto Rico and with advocates from all sides to answer the fundamental question of their political status.”
Much in the same way that Clinton’s site embodies her style, so does the “Issues” section on Donald Trump’s official site. Befitting his bombastic and grandiose persona, Trump’s campaign has eschewed actual breakdowns of policy. Instead there are short videos (roughly 40 seconds) which feature Mr. Trump pontificating on issues such as “Education,” “The Military,” and “Jobs.”
There is no specific video detailing race relations, though a 40-second clip featuring Trump talking about respecting law enforcement seems to allude to the Black Lives Matter movement. Another clip entitled “Unifying The Nation” says that Trump will be a “unifier” for the United States, though he never specifies anything about race.
Trump has spoken about race relations on the campaign trial. He’s repeatedly denounced the Black Lives Matter movement, while at the same time attempting to court minority voters through his speeches calling for a “return of law and order.”
For example, during an August stump speech, Trump proclaimed, “And I say to the African-American parent: You have a right to walk down the street of your city without having your child or yourself shot–and that’s what’s happening right now. That’s what’s happening. To the Hispanic parent: You have a right to walk outside without being shot; you have a right to a good education for your child; you have a right to own your home; you have a right to have a good job.”
He went on to compare himself favorably to Clinton, saying, “The Democrats and Hillary Clinton policies–once she gets–if she gets your vote–and I think we’re gonna do great with African Americans and with the Hispanic, but, once she gets your votes you know what she does? Bye bye folks, see you in four years. That’s what it is. She’s gonna do nothing. She’s gonna do nothing. And you know what? The truth–she doesn’t have the stamina to do it, even if she wanted to. Believe me.”
When it comes to LGBT rights, the distinction between Clinton and Trump has a bit more nuance to it. The Democratic candidate’s website once again spells out a very specific set of policy goals if she were elected:
“Fight for full federal equality for LGBT Americans. Hillary will work with Congress to pass the Equality Act, continue President Obama’s LGBT equality executive actions, and support efforts underway in the courts to protect people from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in every aspect of public life.
“Support LGBT youth, parents, and elders. Hillary will end so-called “conversion therapy” for minors, combat youth homelessness by ensuring adequate funding for safe and welcoming shelters, and take on bullying and harassment in schools. She’ll end discriminatory treatment of LGBT families in adoptions, and protect LGBT elders against discrimination.
“Honor the military service of LGBT people. Hillary applauds the Pentagon’s decision to allow transgender personnel to serve openly, and as Commander-in-Chief, she will upgrade service records of LGBT veterans dismissed due to their sexual orientation.
“Fight for an AIDS-free generation.
“Protect transgender rights. Hillary will work to protect transgender individuals from violence, make it easier for transgender Americans to change their gender marker on identification documents, and invest in law enforcement training focused on fair and impartial policing, including in interactions with LGBT people.
“Promote human rights of LGBT people around the world. Hillary will promote LGBT human rights and ensure America’s foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people, including increasing our investment in the Global Equality Fund to advance human rights.”
While Clinton’s hypothetical policies are in line with Democratic attitudes regarding LGBT rights, the candidate has come under fire for “flip flopping” on the issue of same sex marriage. Mrs. Clinton has said that she was opposed to same sex marriage as recently as 2013, long after polls found a majority of Americans supported the idea.
Trump meanwhile has an even more complex history with LGBT rights. He says nothing about them anywhere on his website, however throughout his years in the entertainment industry, the former reality show star was friends with homosexual luminaries such as Elton John. Earlier in his presidential run, it was even theorized that Trump would be the “most gay-friendly Republican nominee for president ever.”
Trump has also vowed to defend the LGBT community as part of his broader national security agenda. Following the June massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, Trump vowed that anyone wanting to enter the country would have to pass a screening that would, among other things, verify that they respected the lives of homosexual individuals.
However, Trump has also spoken out against same-sex marriage numerous times. In a broader sense, he’s also tried to appeal to socially conservative and evangelical voters by promising that he would protect their “religious freedoms.”
In a speech to the ultra-conservative Value Voters conference, Trump essentially denounced same-sex marriage without specifically uttering the words.
Regarding the Supreme Court, he said, “I have pledged to appoint judges who uphold the Constitution, to protect your religious liberty, and apply the law as written. We reject judges who rewrite the Constitution to impose their own personal views on 300 million-plus Americans. We’re not going to have that.”
As with many of the other issues around the 2016 Election, minority and LGBT rights have become a focus for both candidates in different ways. It remains to be seen how big an effect they’ll have on the general election.
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