At first glance, Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton On the Issues looks like a hastily typed college paper: quote after quote from the two major party candidates for president, more like the output of an Internet search than an intellectual contribution to the election.
Don’t you believe it. This collection offers one of the only places we are aware of where large, unfiltered chunks of the words of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are compared side-by-side with—refreshingly so—little commentary or explanation, save the occasional “Note,” which serves only to put the speech, online comment, or media appearance into context.
Editor Jesse Gordon is one of the founders of ontheissues.org, a website that provides unbiased information about where politicians stand on various issues. He offers a plethora of material here, broken down by subject: Trump and Clinton on domestic, economic, entitlement, social, national security, and international issues. Die-hard politicos will find little new here, save for the fact that it’s all in one place. But for others, the book offers extremely useful information. It is surprisingly crisp and welcomingly well edited; indeed, for a work that is being billed as a reference book, it’s hard to put down. And for all, it offers the opportunity to experience the closest thing to a true “debate” on the issues that we are likely to see this year.
A quibble might be the section titled “Book Reviews” at book’s end, which cites some of the books that have provided source material for this collection. It’s an eclectically chosen list, hardly exhaustive, and the author is, perhaps, too chatty and subjective in judging the books.
But this is a small complaint against an otherwise strong book. Should readers wish to turn off the tube, slam their laptops shut, and actually learn what the candidates stand for before they enter the voting booth, they can do no better than to consult this useful, well-edited collection.