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Washington Watch: Major party candidates overview

This year’s presidential election is setting precedents for a variety of reasons. Most notably, for the first time in American history, a female has gained the nomination of a major political party.

This nomination is a big deal for the United States – which only granted women the right to vote in 1920.

And, while Donald Trump isn’t the first celebrity to run for president (think Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood and Ronald Reagan, to name a few), he is certainly one of the few political outsiders to gain the nomination of a major party without previously holding an elected office.

But, whether you are registered Republican, Democrat, or something else, it’s good to know the basic facts about each of the main party candidates.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is married to former President Bill Clinton, who held office from 1993-2001. Hillary Clinton has been First Lady, a senator for the state of New York, and most recently served as the Secretary of State for current president Barack Obama.

She first ran for the Democratic nomination for president against Obama back in 2008.

Clinton has a law degree from Yale Law School, and decades of experience in public office.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, is not a career politician, and tracks most of his successes in the business world — namely real estate holdings and development.

He is listed by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s 500 wealthiest billionaires.

Trump also previously ran for president, vying for the Reform Party nomination in 2000. He withdrew before the voting began.

As far as campaign strategies, the two nominees could not be more different. While Clinton is very traditional, using speechwriters and other typical political strategies, Trump shoots from the hip and seems to ad lib most of his speech content.

Additionally, Clinton has been a Democrat since her days as an undergrad while Trump has changed his voter registration several times over the years, according to the Washington Times.

Dr. Terilyn Johnston Huntington, MVNU’s resident political science professor, notes how unconventional a candidate Trump is.

“He doesn’t give campaign speeches in the traditional way,” she said. “He is much more colloquial. He’s a reality TV star.”

Clinton has her own challenges to overcome on the campaign trail, specifically the scandal surrounding her email server and thousands of deleted emails.

“We can’t ignore that,” Huntington said.

Trump’s main platform issues are immigration reform for stricter laws and more rigid enforcement of current laws. He also hopes to implement an “America First” trade policy that renegotiates the current agreement with China, reforming veterans’ affairs, replacing the Affordable Care Act, and implementing tax cuts for every income group on a sliding scale.

Clinton is focusing on higher taxes for wealthy Americans and immigration reform to allow immigrants to easily become citizens. She also promotes equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community and is working to find and utilize clean energy sources to minimize climate change.

For more information on where the candidates stand on these and other issues, visit their websites at and

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