The Entire 2016 Presidential Election Explained Using YouTuber GIFs
Everything you need to know about the two candidates - explained in a much more entertaining way than usual
Meet the candidates
Hillary Clinton is the nominee of the Democratic Party (the largest left wing party in the US), while Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party (the largest right wing party in the US).
How did Hillary Clinton become a Presidential Nominee?
Hillary has been involved in American politics for nearly 30 years. She was First Lady when her husband, Bill Clinton, was President, then she served as the US Senator for New York. In 2008 she ran for President but lost the nomination to Barack Obama. Obama later appointed her as Secretary Of State and her official title is still 'Secretary Clinton'. In 2016 she received wide support from Democrats when she announced she was running for president, as many people had predicted it would happen. She then defeated fellow candidate Bernie Sanders in order to become the Democratic Nominee.
How did Donald Trump become a Presidential Nominee?
Trump was publicly known for his vast wealth and his role on the reality show 'The Apprentice'. Trump's run for President was regarded as a joke at first, due to his larger than life personality and lack of any previous political experience. However he quickly rose in prominence and popularity by slamming the other Republican nominees and promising many 'populist' policies if he were elected. Populism is effectively idea that normal people need to stand up to the 'elites' that run the country. Populist proposals tend to be alluring, but impractical (or even impossible) - for example Trump's plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico has been criticised for, among other things, being extremely expensive.
Wait, aren't there more than two candidates?
Yes indeed. There are many, many candidates in every state but the only ones big enough to make it onto national polls are the Green Party candidate Jill Stein, the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and the independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin. However due to the way the American political system is structured there is almost no chance that any of these candidates will win the election - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do some research to see what they're all about it. In this list we will stick to just Hillary and Trump, though.
How does Clinton feel about LGBT issues?
Hillary has positioned herself as the pro-LGBT candidate. Her opinions on gay marriage have varied over her career but she now emphasises that she is in favour of it and regrets ever being opposed. She also opposes the recent wave of anti-trans legislation that has been appearing in some Southern states.
How does Trump feel about LGBT issues?
Trump has not really made LGBT issues a part of his campaign (positively or negatively). However, his running mate Mike Pence (who would be Vice President if Trump won) is heavily against LGBT issues and is in favour of 'gay conversion therapy' - a practice where you 'treat' young gay people to try and 'turn them straight'. Conversion therapy is not scientific and Tyler Oakley and other LGBT figures have spoken out strongly against it, as it has a very high suicide rate and is fundamentally homophobic.
How does Clinton feel about immigration & refugees?
Hillary has said her focus is on bringing illegal immigrants 'out of the shadows' so that they can become taxpaying citizens. She says this will prevent companies employing illegals because they can pay them less than they would need to pay American citizens, which in turn costs citizens jobs. This is also something she has directly accused Trump of doing. She is in favour of taking in a specific number of refugees from places like Syria.
How does Trump feel about immigration & refugees?
Trump has been extremely critical of immigrants and refugees from the start of his campaign. In the speech in which he announced he was running for President he called Mexicans 'rapists' and he has repeatedly accused immigrants and refugees of being dangerous criminals (despite statistics that state otherwise). He also opposes the US accepting Syrian refugees.
How does Clinton approach female issues?
Hillary has pledged to support women with regard to reproductive rights. She has also vehemently opposed Donald Trump's previous (and current) comments against women. She believes there is a gender pay gap and wants to correct it.
How does Trump approach female issues?
Trump has stated that he is pro-life and would appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court if elected. He also wants to repeal Roe v. Wade, the landmark legal case that established a woman's right to an abortion. Trump has also made waves after making a number of offensive comments about women, particularly on a tape from 1995 where he effectively told the story of how he tried to sexually assault a married woman. He is on tape saying that "when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything…Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything."
How does Clinton approach the economy?
Clinton wants to increase the minimum wage, raise taxes for the very rich and deal with the gender pay gap. She also wants to lower taxes for middle and lower income earners and supports unions.
How does Trump approach the economy?
Trump does not want to increase the minimum wage. He wants huge tax cuts for the very rich and does not have a clear position on the gender pay gap. Trump also wants to cut taxes for corporations.
How does Clinton approach foreign policy (/defence) ?
Clinton has traditionally been similar to President Obama with regard to foreign policy, if not slightly more hardline. She states the need to defeat ISIS, but does not believe that all Muslims should be scrutinised in order to do it. Clinton has also been wary of Russia and stated that the US needs to 'stand up' to Putin.
How does Trump approach foreign policy (/defence) ?
Trump has already soured relations with Mexico by repeatedly insulting Mexicans and calling for a giant southern border wall 'which Mexico will pay for'. He has called for the return of waterboarding (which is accepted near-universally as torture) for use on terror suspects. He has also called for 'extreme vetting' of all Muslims entering the US, in case they are terrorists. His hardline approach to Muslims in general has been criticised as contrary to the American right to freedom of religion. Trump has also been noted for his unusual fondness for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whom he has repeatedly praised, particularly in comparison to President Obama.
How does Trump approach race?
Trump has not endeared himself to African Americans by constantly referring to them as 'the blacks' and generally ignoring racial issues and instead emphasising his support for police officers (which more of a subtle nod that he opposes movements like Black Lives Matter than an actual support for cops). Trump has stated that a judge wouldn't be fit to do his job because he is Mexican. He spent a number of years insisting that President Obama wasn't a real US citizen (basically because he is black). Trump as continued this claim as late as this year, although in one of the recent debates he insisted (falsely) that he had stopped an number of years ago. He attacked the parents of a fallen US soldier because they are Muslim. He has also attracted support from members of the far right and has frequently retweeted tweets from white nationalists. When he was pushed to disavow the KKK, he refused and instead insisted he didn't know what it was.
How does Hillary approach race?
Hillary's stances on race basically stand at the opposite end of the scale to Trump. She believes America still has a way to go in terms of race relations and she has been in favour of the spirit of movements like Black Lives Matter (though not acts of violence done in its name). She is currently projected to win the vast majority of African American votes in the election and is also projected to do well with Latinos and other minorities.
Who is winning?
At the time of writing (20th October), Clinton is heavily favoured to win. Trump has responded by claiming that the media and polls are all conspiring against him but the reality is that unless there is some incredible upset in the last stretch, Clinton is almost certainly going to be President.
There are obviously a ton of issues that are vitally important to research and learn about before the election but we hope this list has provided you with a little taste of the issues to get things started. This has been one of the most unusual elections in modern American history so it's important to make your voice heard if you are eligible to vote.
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