Friday, April 1, 2016

The Democratic Race: Where Clinton and Sanders Stand On Issues, Part 1

The Democratic race in the ongoing 2016 Presidential campaign is a close fight between frontliner contender Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, who lags behind yet determined to pursue the race until the July convention.

As with any presidential elections, the candidates' stance on issues of national interests are on the frontline, so begins a 3-part series on the Democrats' leading candidates, their views and their impact on the promotion of diversity and inclusion.

Will their policies be able to respond well to the myriad challenges and changes the nation encounters during their tenure and beyond?

Their divergent political perspectives characterize their individual stance on key issues, though they also share similar views on many of these.

Hillary Clinton sees herself as a modern progressive, someone who believes strongly in individual rights and freedoms, [...] that we are better as a society when we're working together and when we find ways to help those who may not have all the advantages in life [...] I think that's the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring back to American politics

Hillary Clinton runs on her “Hillary for America” platform that bats for:
- a stronger economy of tomorrow through job creation,
- stronger families through accessible healthcare, education and enrichment programs,
- stronger defense, and
- a campaign financing that limits "unaccountable money"

Bernie Sanders tends to lean more to the left, describing himself as a "democratic socialist" and an admirer of the Nordic model practiced in the Scandinavian countries: a combination of free market capitalism with a comprehensive welfare state and collective bargaining at the national level. 
He defines democratic socialism as:
- creating "an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy,"
- reforming the political system,
- recognizing health care and education as rights,
- protecting the environment, and
- creating a "vibrant democracy based on the principle of one person, one vote.

This 1st article presents their respective policies on education and on immigration.


Although both candidates support accessible quality education for everyone from K-12, as well as a tuition-free public colleges/universities, their respective political inclinations nuance how they think this goal is to be met.
Hillary Clinton strongly believes in early childhood education. As a state governor's wife, then as U.S. First Lady, and later as a senator, she initiated and or supported programs to make education accessible to young children, among which are the following:
- Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youth (in the state of Arkansas);
- Early Head Start (for low-income kids, birth to age 3), as first lady;
- "Ready to Learn Act"

She is all for a universal prekindergarten program, even when she was aiming for the presidency in 2008; she's for more teacher training and equipping them with tools to meet the demands of today's growing diversity in the schools.

Hillary supports affordable higher education, and favors free college education, but stresses it's only for those who truly need it. She is for a “loans-free tuition,” and wants to lower interest rates on current and future loans, and do away with fed gov't profit from student debt-repayment. Clinton also plans to allocate grants for states to invest on higher education, at the same time, calling out to private institutions of higher education to lower their costs.

Bernie Sanders likewise supports a free college/university education, publicly funded by the wealthy elite's money – through the so-called “Robin Hood Tax” scheme which he proposes in his College for All Act (S.1373) – getting 50 cents on every "$100 of stock trades on stock sales" as well as a .5% speculation fee to be charged on investment houses, hedge funds, and other stock trades, while a .1% fee would be charged on bonds, and a .005% fee on derivative. He believes high tuition and loan interest are barriers to high quality education.

Like Clinton, Sanders wants to stop the federal gov't from profiting on student debt-repayment, strongly backs up historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and his campaign argues that his proposal to reduce students would help black students, who mostly are affected by the high cost of education and low family income.

It's the sad truth anywhere in the world there is unequitable distribution of wealth, and that it's controlled by only a chosen few. Sander's intention of promoting the good of education, making it accessible & affordable for every child and youth, especially those coming from the lower bracket of society, so as to reduce income inequality, is indeed noble. "We have got to make sure that every qualified American in this country who wants to go to college can go to college -- regardless of income," Sanders said in a statement. (See here

On this, Sanders is gaining traction among the young voters, the millennials who find him providing them with a rational response to the economic inequality and disenfranchisement they face […] Among the issues most pertinent to young people, and perhaps driving them to the polls, are the increasing cuts, costs, and debt associated with higher education. (See this

Yet his controversial idea of letting the rich finance the needs of the poor may not really sit well with many who work hard to attain the financial success or stability they want for themselves and their family. It may not also be a good incentive for the poor to work as hard as they should.

Moreover, the plan is also not sustainable enough to avoid future crises, as this article says, among which could be severe opposition from the financial industry as well as the private universities that could be put out of business.

At the same time though, this very same message endears Sanders to the youth who sees in him someone who will deliver them from poverty.

Both candidates' commitment to helping black students and HBCUs are deemed not good enough, according to this.
While the Clinton plan creates and increases funding for which black students and HBCUs are eligible, it falls short of the kind of targeted investment the candidate’s surrogates suggest it has in their criticism of Sanders. And although the Sanders plan does not include institutional support for private HBCUs, it arguably does as much as Clinton's to support their students while also proposing tuition-free education for the vast majority of black students—at public HBCUs (73 percent) and predominately white institutions (66 percent). 


One of the most hotly-debated issues in the US is immigration, what with the growing influx of illegal aliens. As the Democratic Party has an open policy on immigration – honoring the fact that the US is a country of immigrants, and thus, standing firm on its ideals to value and support the country's present and future immigrants so do both Democrat candidates have an open mind towards accepting all who can ever get to the country, and reforming as well the country's immigration policy. -

The Democratic Party believe that comprehensive immigration reform is essential to continuing the tradition of innovation that immigrants have brought to the American economy and to ensuring a level playing field for American workers.

Here's how each of the candidate view immigration and how their individual stance can affect diversity employment.

- favors protecting the rights of immigrants, who she believes as vital for the economy;
- believes a better solution than to deport millions of illegal immigrants would be a comprehensive immigration reform with “a path to full and equal citizenship.”
- voted in favor of the DREAM Act, and
- promises to “ keep families together. I'll end family detention, close private immigrant detention centers, and help more eligible people become naturalized.
- “...when we see what’s been happening, with babies being left with no one to take care of them, children coming home from school, no responsible adult left, that is not the America that I know. That is against American values.”
- against the exploitation of undocumented workers by employers

Clinton may be accused of flipflopping on this issue of immigration – as she was reported to be adamantly against illegal immigrants, and for sending back undocumented minors in 2014.
"We have to send a clear message, just because your child gets across the border, that doesn't mean the child gets to stay."[97] However, by May 5, 2015, Clinton stated that allowing illegal immigrants to have a path to citizenship "is at its heart a family issue." ( Wikipedia)
Yet this only shows the candidate's flexibility to change her position after much reflection, which a nation's president should be able to do, when it involves the greater interest of the people. 

Bernie Sanders shares his rival's strong support for a path toward citizenship for illegal immigrants via a comprehensive immigration reform program: I will take executive action to accomplish what Congress has failed to do and build upon President Obama’s executive orders to unite families.
- does not favor the idea of detention for illegal immigrants and separation of immigrant families; considers it as injustice: “The growth of the immigrant detention, deportation machine and the expansion of broader militarization has perpetuated unjust policies and resulted in the separation of hundreds of thousands of immigrant families,” he said.
- believes that border security is important for the country, but doesn't believe that a fence is the way to achieve that security;
- against new immigrants receiving only minimum wages;
- If you believe in a country called the United States or any other country, you have an obligation to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don't believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs. 

So far, as can be gleaned from their respective positions on immigration, both Clinton and Sanders will do well for diversity employment. Basically, both are for the upliftment of the poor, including those coming from the south of the border. They seem to be clear about how to draw the line between allowing anyone to enter the country in order to carve a better future for themselves and their families, without compromising the security of the country.

More on the 2 leading Democrat candidates' position on key issues in the next part of this series. 


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