Voting- 2016 Primary (Democratic)


I take voting very seriously (as we all should).  However, I take researching to figure out who to vote for even more seriously.  If I vote for someone who does terrible things (or if I refrain to vote), I am partially responsible for their actions.  So, I’m embarking on this research for Maryland’s primary on April 26th and I’d be happy to share my research with other Democrats who haven’t already voted.

Sorry Republicans, Maryland has closed primaries, so I only have to worry about my own party for now.  I’m not ready to do more research than is necessary.  I’ll be happy to include your candidates after April 26th.

Thus far, I’ve undertaken a comparison of Bernie Sander’s and Hillary Clinton’s issues:

IssuesHillary Clinton's Stance on the Issues:Bernie Sanders' Stance on the Issues:
Abortion- Pro-Choice, but wants to encourage a reduction in the number of abortions by increasing other options (adoption, foster care, contraceptives)- "The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman and her doctor to make, not the government."
- "Only nominate Supreme Court Justices who support Roe v. Wade and the reproductive rights of women."
Budget & Economy- "Strengthen rural America for the next generation" by spurring "investment to power the rural economy," raising "agricultural production and profitability for family farms," promoting "clean energy leadership and collaborative stewardship," and "expand opportunity in rural communities across America."
- "Make it easier to start and grow a small business in America" by "unlocking access to capital," "cutting red tape," "providing tax relief," "tapping new markets," and "supporting small-business owners and entrepreneurs."
- Improve the rural economy by: "Fighting for America’s small and mid-sized farms," "encouraging the growth of regional food systems," "reversing trade policies like NAFTA," and "enforcing our country’s antitrust laws against large agribusiness and food corporations," "investing in renewable energy for a cleaner environment and new income for farmers," and "make substantial infrastructure investments... throughout rural America"
Civil Rights- Ensure women's rights.
- Close the pay gap between men and women.
- "Fight for full federal equality for LGBT Americans."
- "Support LGBT youth, parents, and elders."
- "Protect transgender rights."
- Confront racial injustice (more in crime), protect the right to vote, and "revitalize the economy in communities being left out and left behind."
- Fight "for pay equity by signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law."
- "Make sure federal resources are there to crack down on the illegal activities of hate groups."
- Address "the five central types of violence waged against black, brown and indigenous Americans: physical, political, legal, economic and environmental." (more in Crime, Drugs, Elections, and Environment)
- "Sign into law the Equality Act, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, and any other bill that prohibits discrimination against LGBT people" and "advance policies to ensure students can attend school without fear of bullying, and work to reduce suicides."
- "Require police departments to adopt policies to ensure fairer interactions with transgender people, especially transgender women of color who are often targeted by police unfairly, and institute training programs to promote compliance with fair policies."
- "Bar discrimination against LGBT people by creditors and banks so that people will not be unfairly denied mortgages, credit cards, or student loans."
- "Veto any legislation that purports to “protect” religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights."
- Support Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Corporations- "Call for reform that closes corporate tax loopholes and drives investment here, in the U.S."
- "Defend the Wall Street reforms put in place after the financial crisis," "tackle dangerous risks in the financial sector" and "appoint and empower tough, independent regulators and prosecute individuals and firms when they commit fraud or other criminal wrong-doing."
- "Revamp the capital gains tax to reward farsighted investments that create jobs."
- "Address the rising influence of the kinds of so-called 'activist' shareholders that focus on short-term profits at the expense of long-term growth."
- "Reform executive compensation to better align the interests of executives with long-term value."
- "Ensure more workers share in near-record corporate profits."
- "Stop corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes" by "reversing trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs."
- "Enact a tax on Wall Street speculators who caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, and life savings."
- Break "up huge financial institutions so that they are no longer too big to fail."
Crime- End campus sexual assault.
- "End the era of mass incarceration, reform mandatory minimum sentences, and end private prisons."
- "Encourage the use of smart strategies—like police body cameras—and end racial profiling to rebuild trust between law enforcement and communities."
- "Help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully re-enter society."
- "Expand services provided through the Violence Against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, and fight any attempts to undermine these laws."
- "Fight to end federal, state and municipal contracts with for-profit private prisons within two years."
- "Boost investments for programs that help people who have gone to jail rebuild their lives with education and job training."
- "Demilitarize our police forces so they don’t look and act like invading armies."
- "Invest in community policing."
- "Create a police culture that allows for good officers to report the actions of bad officers without fear of retaliation and allows for a department to follow through on such reports."
- Encourage "police forces that reflect the diversity of our communities, including in the training academies and leadership."
- "Establish a new model police training program that reorients the way we do law enforcement in this country."
- "Federally fund and require body cameras for law enforcement officers to make it easier to hold them accountable."
- "Require police departments and states to collect data on all police shootings and deaths that take place while in police custody and make that data public."
- Establish "new rules on the allowable use of force."
- "Stop local governments that are relying on fines, fees or asset forfeitures as a steady source of revenue."
- "States and localities that make progress in this area should get more federal justice grant money. Those that do not should get their funding slashed."
- "Prevent employers from discriminating against applicants based on criminal history by 'banning the box.'"
Drugs- "Focus federal enforcement resources on violent crime, not simple marijuana possession."
- "Prioritize treatment and rehabilitation—rather than incarceration—for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders."
- "Empower communities to implement preventive programming for adolescents about drug use and addiction."
- Ensure "all first responders have access to naloxone, which can prevent opioid overdoses from becoming fatal."
- "Require licensed prescribers to meet requirements for a minimum amount of training, and consult a prescription drug monitoring program before writing a prescription for controlled medications."
- "Turn back from the failed 'War on Drugs' and eliminate mandatory minimums which result in sentencing disparities between black and white people."
- "Invest in drug courts and medical and mental health interventions for people with substance abuse problems, so that they do not end up in prison, they end up in treatment."
- "Take marijuana off the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs."
Education- New College Compact: "Ensure no student has to borrow to pay for tuition, books, or fees to attend a four-year public college in their state," "enable Americans with existing student loan debt to refinance at current rates," and "hold colleges and universities accountable for controlling costs and making tuition affordable." "This plan will cost around $350 billion over 10 years—and will be fully paid for by limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers."
- K-12 Education: "Make high-quality education a priority for every child in America" by making sure the Every Student Succeeds Act is implemented effectively, "ensure that teachers receive the training, mentorship, and support they need to succeed and thrive in the classroom," and "ensure students with disabilities have the resources and support they need throughout their school years."
- Early Childhood Education: "Invest in early childhood programs like Early Head Start," "ensure that every 4-year-old in America has access to high-quality preschool in the next 10 years," and "provide child care and scholarships to meet the needs of student parents."
- College: Make "tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout America;" "significantly lower student loan interest rates" and allow Americans to refinance their student loans at the lower interest rates; and "triple the federal work study program to build valuable career experience" and allow low-income students "to use federal, state and college financial aid to cover room and board, books and living expenses." "The cost of this $75 billion a year plan is fully paid for by imposing a tax of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street speculators."
- Enact "a universal childcare and prekindergarten program" and "ensure access to quality affordable childcare for working families, especially for parents who work non-traditional hours."
Energy & the Environment- "The United States will have more than half a billion solar panels installed across the country by the end of Hillary Clinton’s first term."
- "The United States will generate enough clean renewable energy to power every home in America within ten years of Hillary Clinton taking office."
- "Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third."
- "Reduce American oil consumption by a third."
- "Defend, implement, and extend smart pollution and efficiency standards."
- "Ensure that the fossil fuel production taking place today is safe and responsible and that areas too sensitive for energy production are taken off the table."
- "Reform fossil fuel leasing and significantly expand clean energy production on public lands."
- "End wasteful tax subsidies for oil and gas companies."
- "Cut emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, by 40-45 percent."
- "Ensure coal miners, power plant operators, transportation workers, and their families get the respect they deserve and the benefits they have earned."
- "Ban fossil fuels lobbyists from working in the White House."
- "End the huge subsidies that benefit fossil fuel companies."
- "Create a national environmental and climate justice plan that recognizes the heightened public health risks faced by low-income and minority communities."
- "Bring climate deniers to justice so we can aggressively tackle climate change."
- "Embrace a science-based standard for carbon pollution emissions reductions."
- "Put a price on carbon."
- "Work toward a 100 percent clean energy system and create millions of jobs."
- "Invest in clean, sustainable energy sources powered by the sun, wind and Earth’s heat."
- "Invest in advanced renewable fuels" like cellulosic ethanol and algae-based fuels "and keep our energy dollars at home."
- "Invest in making all American homes more energy efficient."
- "Convene a climate summit with the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists and indigenous communities in his first 100 days."
- "Lead countries in cutting climate change."
- "Support the development of vehicle charging stations that will allow us to drive cleanly and sustainably."
- "Address the inadequate environmental cleanup efforts of Superfund hazardous waste sites in communities of color."
- "Stop the unequal exposure of people of color to harmful chemicals, pesticides and other toxins in homes, schools, neighborhoods and workplaces and challenge faulty assumptions in calculating, assessing and managing risks, discriminatory zoning and land-use practices and exclusionary policies."
Foreign Policy- "Keep America safe and secure by defending our core values and leading with principle" by "making sure that our military is on the cutting edge," "investing our people, our infrastructure, and our technological edge," continuing "her long-standing emphasis on gender equality and human rights, including the rights of LGBT individuals around the globe, and standing up for an open Internet to ensure that all people have equal access to information and ideas"
- "Defeat ISIS and global terrorism and the ideologies that drive it" by "never allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon," "holding China accountable," and "standing up to Putin."
- "Strengthen our alliances and nurture new relationships to tackle shared challenges such as climate change, cyber threats, and highly contagious diseases."
- "Ensure the United States helps protect the rights of LGBT people around the world."
- "Plan for peace to avoid international climate-fueled conflict."
- "America must defend freedom at home and abroad, but we must seek diplomatic solutions before resorting to military action. While force must always be an option, war must be a last resort, not the first option."
- "While we must be relentless in combating terrorists who would do us harm, we cannot and should not be policeman of the world, nor bear the burden of fighting terrorism alone. The United States should be part of an international coalition, led and sustained by nations in the region that have the means to protect themselves."
- "Make certain that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon."
- Support resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution "that recognizes Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and the Palestinians right to a homeland in which they control their political and economic future."
- "Work with our allies to root out terrorist funding networks, provide logistical support in the region, disrupt online radicalization, provide humanitarian relief, and support and defend religious freedom."
- "Never again embrace torture as a matter of official policy" and "close the Guantanamo Bay detention center."
Government Reform- "Push for legislation to require outside groups to publicly disclose significant political spending. And until Congress acts, she'll sign an executive order requiring federal government contractors to do the same."
- "Appoint Supreme Court justices who value the right to vote over the right of billionaires to buy elections" and "push for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United"
- "Establish a small-donor matching system for presidential and congressional elections to incentivize small donors to participate in elections, and encourage candidates to spend more time engaging a representative cross-section of voters."
- Strengthen Voting Rights: "Restore the crucial provisions of the Voting Rights Act," "implement universal, automatic voter registration for eligible 18-year-olds," and "set a new national standard allowing early voting to begin 20 days or more before an election."
- "Only appoint Supreme Court justices who will make it a priority to overturn Citizens United and who understand that corruption in politics means more than just quid pro quo" and "fight to pass a constitutional amendment making it clear that Congress and the states have the power to regulate money in elections."
- "Fight for a publicly financed, transparent system of campaign financing that amplifies small donations, along the lines of the Fair Elections Now Act."
- "Insist on complete transparency regarding the funding of campaigns."
- "Fight to eliminate super PACs and other outside spending abuses."
- "Work to aggressively enforce campaign finance rules."
- "Strengthen voting rights – restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, expanding early voting and vote-by-mail, implementing automatic voter registration, ending gerrymandering and making Election Day a national holiday."
Gun Control- "Strengthen background checks and close dangerous loopholes in the current system."
- "Repeal the gun industry’s unique immunity protection."
- "Revoke the licenses of bad-actor dealers."
- "Support legislation to stop domestic abusers from buying and possessing guns."
- "Make straw purchasing a federal crime."
- "Close loopholes that let persons suffering from severe mental illness purchase and possess guns."
- "Keep military-style weapons off our streets."
- "Strengthen and better enforce the instant background check system."
- "Close the gun-show loophole."
- "Make 'straw man' purchases a federal crime."
- "Ban semi-automatic assault weapons which are designed strictly for killing human beings."
Health Care- "Defend the Affordable Care Act and build on it to slow the growth of out-of-pocket costs."
- "Crack down on rising prescription drug prices and hold drug companies accountable so they get ahead by investing in research, not jacking up costs."
- "Protect women’s access to reproductive health care, including contraception and safe, legal abortion."
- "Improve access to meaningful and gainful employment for people with disabilities."
- "Provide tax relief to help the millions of families caring for aging relatives or family members with chronic illnesses or disabilities."
- "Create a federally administered single-payer health care program" which means "no more copays, no more deductibles and no more fighting with insurance companies when they fail to pay for charges."
- "Plan has been estimated to save the American people and businesses over $6 trillion over the next decade."
- Expand Planned Parenthood.
- "Work with HHS to ensure LGBT Americans have access to comprehensive health insurance which provides appropriate coverage and do not have to fear discrimination or mistreatment from providers."
- "Protect and expand the social security disability insurance program (SSDI)."
- "Fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and vocational education programs. We also need to expand funding for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), which aim to provide “one-stop shopping” for information on long-term services and support."
- "Require Medicare to use its bargaining power to negotiate with the prescription drug companies for better prices"
- "Allow individuals, pharmacists, and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from licensed Canadian pharmacies."
- "Close the Medicare Part D donut hole for brand and generic drugs by 2017, three years earlier than under current law."
- "Prohibit anti-competitive deals – “pay-for-delay” deals – between brand and generic drug makers" that keep generic brands off the market.
- "Enact stronger penalties for fraud:" "nearly every major pharmaceutical company has been convicted of either civil or criminal fraud for violations including off-label promotion, kickbacks, anti-monopoly practices, and Medicare fraud."
- "Require drug companies to publicly report information that affects drug pricing."
Immigration- "Fight for comprehensive immigration reform legislation with a path to full and equal citizenship."
- "Conduct humane, targeted immigration enforcement:" "focus enforcement resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety"
- "Expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of immigration status."
- "Dismantle inhumane deportation programs and detention centers."
- "Pave the way for a swift and fair legislative roadmap to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants."
- "Ensure our border remains secure while respecting local communities."
- "Regulate the future flow of immigrants by modernizing the visa system and rewriting bad trade agreements."
- "Enhance access to justice and reverse the criminalization of immigrants."
- "Establish parameters for independent oversight of key U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies."
Infrastructure & Technology- Invest in "infrastructure, clean energy, and scientific and medical research to create jobs and strengthen our economy."
- "Boost federal infrastructure investment by $275 billion over the next five years."
- "Create a $25 billion national infrastructure bank."
- "Fix and expand our roads and bridges, reducing congestion and cutting the 'pothole tax.'"
- "Expand public transit options."
- "Connect all Americans to the digital economy with 21st-century internet access."
- "Accelerate aviation technology and invest in American airports."
- "Build a faster, safer, and higher-capacity passenger rail system."
- "Unlock America’s clean energy potential by modernizing infrastructure like dams, levees, and wastewater systems—saving billions of gallons in clean drinking water and generating clean energy."
- "Hillary will fully pay for these investments through business tax reform."
- Invest "$1 trillion over five years towards rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, ports, dams, wastewater plants, and other infrastructure needs."
- "More than double the current level of funding for the highway and transit accounts of the Highway Trust Fund, and would create a National Infrastructure Bank to leverage private capital to finance more than $125 billion in new projects."
- "Upgrade our passenger and freight rail lines, to move people and goods more quickly and efficiently."
- "Improve airports across the country, and $17.5 billion to bring our air traffic control system into the 21st century by accelerating deployment of NextGen technology to make our skies safer and our airports more efficient."
- "Clear the backlog of projects to improve inland waterways, coastal harbors and shipping channels."
- "Repair and improve the high-hazard dams that provide flood control, drinking water, irrigation, hydropower, and recreation across the country; and the flood levees that protect our cities and our farms."
- "Improve the drinking water systems that provide Americans with clean, safe water" and "improve the wastewater plants and stormwater infrastructure that protect water quality in our nation’s rivers and lakes."
- "Improve the reliability and resiliency of our ever more complex electric power grid" with "power transmission and distribution modernization projects" which will "also position our grid to accept new sources of locally generated renewable energy, and it will address critical vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks."
- "Expand high-speed broadband networks in under-served and unserved areas, and to boost speeds and capacity all across the country."
- "Rein in the National Security Agency and end the bulk collection of phone records, internet history, and email data of virtually all Americans."
Jobs- "Support working families through equal pay, paid family leave, earned sick days, fair schedules, and quality affordable child care."
- "Raise the minimum wage and strengthen overtime rules:" "has supported raising the federal minimum wage to $12, and believes that we should go further than the federal minimum through state and local efforts"
- "Strengthen unions and protect worker bargaining power"
- Increase "the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020."
- Create "1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans by investing $5.5 billion in a youth jobs program."
- Require "employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; two weeks of paid vacation; and 7 days of paid sick days."
- Make "it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act."
Tax Reform- Cut taxes for "hard-working families" and provide tax relief for small businesses.
- End tax loopholes that benefit wealthiest taxpayers
- Enact the "'Buffett Rule' that ensures no millionaire pays a lower effective tax rate than their secretary"
- Demand "the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes."
- "Create a progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million."
Veterans- "Fundamentally reform veterans’ health care to ensure access to timely and high quality care and block efforts to privatize the VA."
- "Modernize and refocus the full spectrum of veterans’ benefits across the government by implementing a 'New Bradley Plan.'"
- "Overhaul VA governance to create a new veteran-centric model of excellence."
- "Empower veterans and strengthen our economy and communities by connecting their unique skills to the jobs of the future."
- "Fully fund and expand the VA so that every veteran gets the care that he or she has earned and deserves."
- Substantially improve the processing of Veterans’ claims for compensation."
- "Expand the VA’s Caregivers Program."
- "Expand mental health service for Veterans."
- "Make comprehensive dental care available to all veterans at the VA."
Welfare & Poverty- "Fight any effort to privatize or weaken Medicare and Social Security, and expand Social Security for future generations by asking the wealthiest to contribute more."- Expand "Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000," which will "extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 50 years" and "bring in enough revenue to expand benefits by an average of $65 a month."
- "Expand the WIC program for pregnant mothers and infants."

I hoped this table would help us to make our decision, but I am surprised how similar the two candidates’ positions are, this may be harder than I thought.  I might have to look deeper into each candidate.  I’ll report back with anything else I find.

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