Hot-Button Issues

Candidates running for President of the United States need to be well-versed on a variety of topics and well-honed on their positions.  The table below oulines some of the most common political issues, including those identified in the platforms of the major political parties. 

Topic Social/Political Issues
Abortion
  • Partial birth abortions
  • Should first trimester abortions be legal
  • Women’s reproductive rights
  • Life and rights of the fetus
Budget
  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Federal spending and the budget process
  • Reducing the national debt
Civil rights and liberties
  • Ensuring equal treatment for all
  • Same sex marriage
  • Religious freedom
  • Americans with disabilities
  • Voting rights and fair elections
  • Protecting our national symbols
  • Freedom of speech and of the press
  • Privacy
Courts
  • Constitutional law
  • Judge’s role in interpreting the law
  • Securing our civil liberties
  • States’ rights
Crime, violence and criminal justice
  • Mandatory jail sentences
  • Death penalty
  • Gangs
  • Illegal drugs
  • Child predators and pornography
  • Support for law enforcement
  • Victim rights
  • Protecting law-abiding individuals and families
Economy
  • The business bailouts
  • America’s free-market economy
  • Creating new jobs and the unemployment rate
  • Help for the nation’s poor
  • Small business and entrepreneurship
  • Science, technology and innovation
  • Manufacturing
Education
  • Performance-based pay for teachers
  • National education standards
  • No Child Left Behind
  • World class education for every child (early childhood, K-12, higher education)
Energy
  • Energy independence
  • Reducing demand for fossil fuels
  • Cause of global warming/climate change
  • Cap-and-trade system
  • Drilling – offshore and in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Use of ethanol
  • Use of nuclear power
  • Expanding American energy sources
Environment
  • Stewardship of our natural resources
  • Reducing carbon emissions
  • Addressing climate change
Foreign policy
  • North Korea
  • Iran
  • Middle East diplomacy
  • Foreign-aid spending
  • United Nations
  • Relations with allies
Free and fair trade
  • Trade relations with China
  • NAFTA
  • Outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries and competitiveness
  • Supporting agriculture
Government reform
  • Lobbying
  • Campaign reform
  • Earmarks/pork barrel projects
  • Restoring public trust
  • Ethical government
  • Eliminating waste and fraud from public spending
  • Oversight of government programs
Gun laws
  • Constitutional right to keep and bear arms
  • Ban on certain weapon types
Health care
  • Universal health care/health care coverage for all Americans
  • Health care reform
  • Health care systems
  • Limiting medical liability lawsuits
  • Medical research
  • Use of stem cells
  • Funding to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic
  • Support for veterans
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Patient rights and control
  • Health care costs
Homeland security
  • Intelligence reform
  • Securing America’s borders
  • Readiness of the Guard and Reserve
  • Preventing and responding to future domestic disasters
  • Immigration (legal and persons in the country illegally)
Human rights
  • Human trafficking
  • Global health
  • Building and supporting democratic institutions
Infrastructure
  • Rebuilding America’ infrastructure
  • Fuel tax increase
  • High-speed rail expansion
National defense/security
  • Approach to America’s national defense
  • Funding America’s Armed Forces
  • Recruiting and retaining military personnel
  • Better intelligence
  • Nuclear proliferation
  • Confronting global terrorism
  • Ballistic missile defense
  • Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons
  • Denuclearizing North Korea
  • Biological and chemical weapons
  • Cyber security
  • Providing for the Armed Forces
  • Fulfilling commitments to our veterans
  • Helping others abroad
Poverty and welfare
  • Welfare reform
  • Job training
  • Subsidized housing
Social Security
  • Solvency of the trust fund
  • Retirement age
  • Entitlement reform
Taxes
  • Fairness in tax code
  • Financial regulation and corporate governance
  • Small business
  • Tax/social classes
War
  • Defeating Al Qaida
  • Combating terrorism
  • War in Iraq
  • War in Afghanistan
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