Illustration by Catherine Franck
They’re running to be the 58th President of the US. They talk a lot. But do you know who said what?
I t doesn’t matter whether you can vote on November 8 or not: America’s policies impact everyone, even us Berliners. With that in mind, we chose the top four candidates – not only Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, but also Green Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson – and screened their speeches, interviews and platforms to find out their thoughts on the issues we care about.* It’s up to you to guess who said what! (A tip: sometimes, the same candidates have more than one opinion.) Click here for answers.
1. Marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, although medical weed is legal in 24 US states. Where to go from here?
A — “Legalisation... in some ways I think it’s good and in other ways it’s bad. Medical marijuana? I’m in favour of it a hundred percent.”
B — “Marijuana is dangerous – because it’s illegal. It’s not inherently dangerous. It’s certainly less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, which are perfectly legal.”
C — “Marijuana is still used as a gateway drug and the drug cartels from Latin America use marijuana to get footholds in states, so there can’t be a total absence of law enforcement.”
D — “The parallels between drug policy today and Prohibition in the 1920s are obvious, as are the lessons our nation learned. Prohibition was repealed because it made matters worse.”
What do they think about us and our leader over here in Germany... if anything?
A — Germany is moving to a 100 percent renewable energy economy. The German Green Party is the reason why Germany is ahead of America.”
B — “I think Merkel is the greatest leader in Europe; I think she is a great leader globally, I think she carried Europe on her shoulders and it wasn’t easy.”
C — “Merkel is probably the greatest leader in the world today. She’s fantastic...”
D — “You know what a disaster this massive immigration has been to Germany. Crime has risen to levels that no one thought they would ever see.”
3. We all love LGBTQ voters... but what about gay marriage?
A — “We should commit to building an America where every lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender person can live, work, learn, raise a family, and marry free from discrimination or prejudice.”
B — “Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is, as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.”
C — “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens.”
D — “The government ought to get out of the marriage business.”
4. Ed Snowden is longing to get back home. What kind of welcome should we give him?
A — “I’d pardon Snowden. Not only pardon him, but welcome him home as a hero... and I’d bring him into my administration as a member of the Cabinet...”
B — “Snowden is a spy who has caused great damage to the US. A spy in the old days, when our country was respected and strong, would be executed.”
C — “This is someone who has divulged information – that the United States government is spying on all of us as US citizens. I don’t want to see him in prison.”
D — “He stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands. So I don’t think he should be brought home without facing the music.”
5. From Iraq and Afghanistan to Libya to Syria... how productive is America’s war on terror?
A — “Iraq was a mistake”... but “Military action is critical, in fact I would say essential, to try to prevent [ISIS’] further advance and their holding of more territory.”
B — “All this has done is create failed states. Whether you look at the Taliban, the globalisation of Al-Qaeda or the creation of ISIS, this has been an utter, unmitigated disaster.”
C — “I was against the war in Iraq. I thought it would destabilise the Middle East, and it did. All of this tremendous death, destruction... is just incredible. We’re far worse off today than we were 15 years ago or 10 years ago in the Middle East.”
D — “I initially thought the intervention in Afghanistan was warranted – we were attacked and we attacked back – but we’ve wiped out Al-Qaeda and here we are; we’re still there.”
6. How relevant is NATO in today’s world?
A — “NATO is obsolete. When NATO was formed many decades ago, there was a different threat, the Soviet Union. But terror today is the big threat.”
B — “Putin already hopes to divide Europe, so the US needs to strengthen its alliances.”
C — “We’ve got treaties with apparently 69 countries where we are obligated to defend their borders?”
D — “Who exactly is NATO fighting? … Other than enemies we invent to give the weapons industry a reason to sell more stuff .”
7. Everyone agrees ISIS is the enemy – but who’s responsible?
A — “ISIS was primarily the result of the vacuum in Syria caused by Assad, aided and abetted by Iran and Russia. Let’s put responsibility where it belongs.”
B — “Obama is the founder of ISIS. I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.”
C — “Terrorism is a response to drones that sneak up on you in the night. This is where we recruit and enable ISIS and al-Qaeda to continue expanding...”
D — “The rise of ISIS can actually be traced back to instability created by our meddling in the affairs of others. We need to build a strong military. But we should not use our military strength to try to solve the world’s problems.”
8. The US needs to create jobs. How?
A — “A ‘New Deal’ which creates an emergency programme, establishing 20 million living-wage jobs to green the economy, our energy, food, and transportation, building critical infrastructure, restoring ecosystems, etc.”
B — “If I could wave a magic wand I would eliminate corporate tax… If there was a zero percent corporate tax rate, tens of millions of jobs would be created.”
C — “Put an end to China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labour and environmental standards. No more sweatshops or pollution havens stealing jobs from American workers.”
D — “We will put Americans to work, building and modernising our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our railways, our ports, our airports. We are way overdue for this, my friends.”
9. Who stands where with Israel and Palestine?
A — “If we’re going to negotiate a peace settlement, which every Israeli wants... I would like to have the other side think I’m somewhat neutral to them. It’s probably the toughest negotiation of all time, but maybe we can get a deal done.”
B — “We have encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements... and defiance of international law.”
C — “The United States and Israel must be closer than ever, stronger than ever... We must take our alliance to the next level.”
D — “You truly have a great prime minister in Benjamin Netanyahu. Vote for Benjamin – terrific guy, terrific leader, great for Israel.”
10. What about the crisis in Ukraine?
A — “We helped foment a coup where ultra-nationalists and ex-Nazis came to power. So we should be leading the way in establishing a neutral Ukraine that would allow Russia to not feel under attack.”
B — “We need a tougher response to Russia. I remain convinced that we need a concerted effort to really up the costs on Russia, and in particular on Putin. I think we have not done enough.”
C — “It’s a mess. But you know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that...”
D — “When you look at Ukraine right now, I think that would be analogous to Russia getting involved in Puerto Rico. We shouldn’t get involved in Ukraine.”
11. Fighting terrorism on US soil: How?
A — “You know, in Israel, they’ve done an unbelievable job… They see somebody that’s suspicious, they will profile. They will take that person in.”
B — “Create stricter screenings for visa applicants who have been to a country in Islamic State-controlled areas in the last five years.”
C — “Share intelligence and information. That now includes the internet... That means we have to work more closely with our great tech companies.”
D — “I have a plan. If I win, I don’t want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is...”
12. We’re all involved in Syria. Who are our foes and allies?
A — “You know, Putin, our arch-enemy Putin, was actually trying to create a peace process in Syria... We need to begin talking with Russia and with other countries.”
B — “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”
C — “The approach of fighting Assad and ISIS simultaneously was madness, and idiocy. They’re fighting each other, and yet we’re fighting both of them. I’m not saying Assad is a good man, but our far greater problem is ISIS... and Russia doesn’t like ISIS any better than we do.”
D — “Remove Assad and bring Syria’s communities together to fight ISIS”... “We have to support Arab and Kurdish fighters. They’re doing the fighting. We’re doing the support and enabling.”
13. Bonus round: Election campaigns are expensive. Who’s raised what and where from?
A — About $190 million, 33 percent self-financed by the candidate.
B — About $2.6 million with donations averaging $48 – and no donor allowed to contribute more than $2700 at a time.
C — About $530 million, including $7 million from Israeli mogul Haim Saban and $10 million from Saudi Arabia (via a philanthropic foundation).
D — About $9 million from individual donors.
*For space reasons, we took the liberty to condense quotes while remaining loyal to context and candidates’ overall programmes.