By Kiana Papin
While I and over 14 million people1 have already voted in this election, let’s take a look at the two candidates and their stance on policies and issues in America, beyond an Instagram infographic. (Although the infographics are in the more resources section if you would like to read more in-depth about certain policies). The topics I will be writing about are Healthcare and Abortion Access, Education, Racial Injustice, and Climate Change.
Both candidates have their flaws, this is not a persuasive essay in which I am trying to convince the readers of anything. Rather, I encourage you to read and do your own research and decide which candidate is closely aligned with your values.
Healthcare and Abortion Access
According to his second-term agenda, President Trump wants to lower the price of prescription drugs, lower insurance premiums, and provide access to coverage for Americans with preexisting conditions 2. He is also adamant about repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with his own insurance program, however, there are still no plans in the works. In terms of abortion access, Trump has made it clear that he supports pro-life groups and he said Planned Parenthood should “absolutely be defunded” limiting access to abortions to many women in America4. He also appointed several judges with a history of limiting reproductive rights during his four-year term.
Former Vice President Biden wants to keep Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act 3. He has advocated to expand it more so that more Americans can have access to insurance. He wants to lower the prices of prescription drugs through Medicare and get rid of the tax breaks given to pharmaceutical corporations on advertising. Over the years, Biden has changed his stance on abortion rights. Once a supporter of the Hyde Amendment, he publicly expressed his disdain for it. He also wants to keep Planned Parenthood funded which would allow those without insurance who need birth control, breath exams, health counseling, and more to have those resources.
President Donald Trump has proposed to decrease federal funding for education programs by 13.5 percent5. He supports the idea of school choice and has discussed providing vouchers for families to afford private school. This past February, the Trump administration proposed a 2021 budget that would make cuts and add restrictions to federal student loan programs.
Joe Biden wants to increase federal funding and support for K-12 programs6. He also wants to make community colleges and training programs free for two years, as well as making public colleges, historically black universities, and minority-serving institutions free for students whose annual household income is less than $125,000. Biden also wants to take $10,000 off every student’s debt and revise the federal loan system in general. With his selection of Harris7, it is clear education will be a prominent task on their agenda because of her history of supporting the education system, including expanding access to early childhood education and expressing that every educator needs the respect and resources to do their jobs well.
Disclaimer** There is so much on this topic and both candidates’ opinions and plans for it. I encourage you to read the Instagram infographic “Biden vs. Trump on climate” as well as the other resources for climate change.
President Trump has denounced climate change numerous times and says science is wrong. He has taken America out of the Paris Climate Agreement and has stated that the fires in California can be fixed if Californians raked the forest floors. In January 2020, Trump rolled back clean water protections that were there to protect rivers, streams, and wetlands from pollution and runoff from agriculture and factories. He has repeatedly tried to defund the United States Environmental Protection Agency. President Trump has also sold off the Arctic for oil drilling and approved the infrastructure needed to unleash oil and gas production in the United States.
Joe Biden believes in climate change and wants climate change reform. According to his website, he wants the U.S. to have a clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050. His plan will create ten million clean energy jobs because of his plan to rebuild infrastructure especially in communities of color that are disproportionately affected by climate change because of the air quality and lack of infrastructure around them. In addition, his campaign has pledged to not accept any donations from oil, gas, coal corporations nor their executives. Biden’s plan also requires decisive action from every country in the world because climate change affects every living being on this planet, not just Americans.
With a global pandemic that is disproportionately killing Black and brown Americans, as well as a surge in Black Lives Matter protests and demands, racial injustice is a bigger priority this year than in past elections.
As a disclaimer* it is hard for me to write on this topic as some of the comments President Trump has said are very disheartening and hurtful. I tried to not let any biases influence this article at all, but this topic is a tough one.
President Trump has refused to denounce white supremacy. He does not acknowledge systemic racism and has added that it will fix itself when the economy bounces back9. He also likes to say that he is the best president for African-Americans with the exception of Abraham Lincoln. Trump has called himself the least racist person, yet continues to use microaggressions and stereotypes against people of color. He has said to the four Congresswomen of color to “go back” to the countries “from which they came.” Most recently10, he has “issued an executive order banning government agencies, contractors, and recipients of federal grants from offering racial sensitivity and diversity training to employees” which is detrimental in this society with a lot of racial tension. The Justice Department already suspended all diversity and inclusion training and indefinitely postponed implicit bias training.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has also had his fair share of controversy including this past summer when he said “you ain’t Black” referring to African Americans who did not vote for him11. He also supported the 1994 crime bill which led to mass incarcerations of Black men. Biden also apologized for supporting the Obama Administration Immigration Policy and regrets deporting people with no criminal records. However, Biden has acknowledged that systemic racism exists and needs to be fixed and he himself needs to reach out to more minority communities. He also made history by picking the first Black female vice president candidate and being the vice president to the first Black president. In addition, Biden released the “Biden Plan for strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice which focuses on preventing crime without gentrification, eliminating racial disparities, eradicating private prisons profiting, and providing second chances for those who were in prison.
There are many other policies to look at such as immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, foreign policy, gun control, and more. I encourage you to go to NPR’s website linked in the more resources section where they talk about many issues.
NPR’s Tracing The Issues In The 2020 Election
Both Candidates Plans
Biden vs. Trump on climate:
Trump vs. Biden A Cheat Sheet:
Stances on important issues Biden vs Trump (with direct opinions and quotations from both candidates):