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Front-runners have sharp differences

As the campaign continues to heighten the debate in both parties, sharp contrasts are becoming evidently clear between the two frontrunners, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

In the recent March 8 primary elections here in Lafayette County, both Trump and Clinton won the day as well. Assuming they are the eventual nominees, voters in November will have two completely different philosophies to choose between as to where the country will be headed. Today, we’ll look at two of these differing views.

Immigration has been one of the hottest topics ever since Donald Trump brought it to the forefront at his June 16 opening press conference. Trump believes strongly that the 11 million illegal immigrants here should be deported and returned to their respective countries. This would be taking place at the same time the approximately 1,000-mile wall is being built to secure the southern border with Mexico. (And, by the way, did I mention, Mexico is to pay for the wall.) Trump will then encourage the deportees to apply for legal admission before they are allowed to reenter the U.S.

On the other side, Hillary Clinton is opposed to deporting the illegals. It is her position to allow these individuals to remain, inviting them to apply for citizenship. She is confident that deporting 11 million aliens is impossible due to the logistics and costs associated. The Republicans have criticized her and fellow Democrats for taking this viewpoint, stating that the reason for allowing the illegals to remain is to secure future Democratic voters. As to the wall, Clinton has indicated that tighter border security is needed without the expense and necessity to build a wall similar to what the Republicans are advocating.

Another major issue where the two candidates differ considerably is the recently signed agreement with Iran. Clinton supported the president’s position and Secretary of State John Kerry in approving this whereas Trump and fellow Republicans have opposed it from the get-go.

The agreement included returning $150 billion to Iran due to economic sanctions enforced and funds withheld because of their nuclear testing and development in addition to creating a hostile environment throughout the entire Middle East. Iran would in turn halt development of their nuclear missile program for the next decade and allow independent observers to perform unannounced inspections.

In the past two weeks, criticism has begun mounting as it is becoming more and more apparent that Iran is not living up to its end of the agreement especially in the area of verification in dismantling its nuclear facilities. Should this track continue, this will certainly become a major campaign issue in the fall. Several NATO allies also have voiced concerns about the Iranian intentions and current behavior.

The recent test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile with the words written on the rocket in Hebrew to destroy Israel did not play well in the western world and with our closest ally in the Middle East.

As Bernie Sanders continues to tack Clinton more to the left and as Trump doubles down to his followers on the right, more sharp contrasting viewpoints are certain to emerge. Boring, this fall election will be anything but!

Steve Vassallo is a contributing columnist and Oxford resident. He can be reached at sovassallo@gmail.com.