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Here Are the Actual Issues from the Final Presidential Debate

by Countable | Updated on 10.10.18

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump wrapped up their final, contentious debate Wednesday night. While the cable news talk today is largely centered on Trump’s refusal to say if he will accept the results of the election, which is now just 18 days away, the two candidates also discussed some pretty important issues that are worth taking a look at.

Who won the debate?

Vote in our survey and let us know who you think won: Clinton or Trump?

Tell your reps

Check out the issues below and click through to learn more, vote and tell your reps what you think. Passionate about something the candidates skipped over? Use the tool below to tell your members in Congress why it matters to you.

SCOTUS

Both candidates were asked Wednesday night what they'd look for in a Supreme Court nominee. That's a key question, given the current vacancy and the fact that Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy are both over 80 years old. Clinton said that she would seek justices who support rights for LGBT Americans and women, and who would oppose the Court’s Citizen’s United decision (more on that later). Trump, meanwhile, said he would look for conservative justices who support the Second Amendment and are pro-life.

Trump also addressed some negative comments that Justice Ginsburg made about him earlier this year, arguing that the Supreme Court should stay out of presidential politics. Congress is considering legislation that would give SCOTUS a “code of ethics,” which would in part prohibit justices from engaging in political activity. Should Congress pass it?

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Clinton also said Wednesday that the Senate should confirm President Obama’s current nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. Do you agree?

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Entitlements

The candidates were also asked during Wednesday’s debate to discuss their plans for entitlement programs and how they would save Social Security. Clinton suggested that she would raise taxes on the wealthy by raising the cap for contributions to Social Security in order to save the program. Congress is considering a similar move. What do you think?

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Trump didn’t address entitlements directly, but called for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, arguing that the law is raising healthcare costs across the board.

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Abortion

Abortion was a major topic at Wednesday night’s debate, with Clinton calling for additional protections for the procedure, while Trump pushed for a ban on late-term abortions. Clinton said that she supports the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, while Trump said that pro-life SCOTUS justices under his presidency would likely overturn the decision, but return the right to make decisions about abortion policy to the states.

Should Congress ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy?

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And should federal funding, including dollars from federal healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid, be used for abortions?

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Immigration

Clinton and Trump went back-and-forth on the issue of immigration, with Clinton arguing in favor of Obama’s executive actions allowing children brought to the U.S. illegally to stay, as well as the undocumented parents of citizen children. Trump, meanwhile, emphasized border security, with a plan that starts with building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border before moving on to figure out what to do with the illegal immigrants who are already in the United States. But Trump argued that it was “unfair” for Clinton to allow people who entered the U.S. illegally to stay, while many others are going the legal route and waiting in line for the same opportunity.

What do you think? Should Congress cut funding for Obama’s executive actions protecting children who were brought to the U.S. illegally and the parents of citizens? Tell your reps.

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Citizens United

Clinton brought up the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on Wednesday night, which made it legal for unions and corporations to participate in politics and elections through outside groups like super PACs and dark money organizations.

Clinton argued that Citizens United has “undermined the election system in our country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money” to influence elections. Trump didn’t address the court decision directly in Wednesday night’s debate. Throughout the campaign, Trump has been incredibly critical of the influence that wealthy individuals and outside groups have over the political system, but he has not said whether that translates into a desire to overturn Citizens United or some other kind of campaign finance reform.

What do you think? Should Congress pursue a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision? Tell your reps!

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Voters in both Washington state and California will have the chance to vote directly on overturning Citizens United in November.

— Sarah Mimms

Image via C-SPAN

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