An Election Destined for the History Books

An Election Destined for the History Books
Presidential Candidates

Election day is approaching. The fervid battle between Republicans and Democrats wages on as Americans are left to decide the vote that will define the country for the next four years. The candidates, President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, are perfect examples of the distaste members of each party feel for one another. The first Presidential debate, which took place on September 29th, was described as a “dumpster fire”, “train wreck”, and “the worst [debate] in living memory”. The almost unbearable debate only fueled the fiery division between Trump and Biden supporters, with each side growing more and more exasperated.
While the news, social media, and school hallways are full of talk of the election, many people still don’t know what these candidate’s campaigns are based on. If people are expected to make this society-altering decision, it is important to understand the issues in dispute. The following topics that most voters consider to be deciding factors in the election are as follows:

1. Tax Policy- The difference in tax plans is one of the most widely-argued policies this election. In the early stages of his presidency, President Trump signed the 2017 tax bill, cutting taxes for individual households and Corporate tax. If Biden were elected, his administration has stated that they would repeal parts of Trump’s 2017 Tax Law, including the Corporate tax. He’s also stated that individuals making over $400,000 a year will see a dramatic increase in tax, along with households making $1 million a year. They would also increase minimum tax and foriegn tax. It is estimated that his new tax policies would generate an estimated $2-$3 trillion dollars over the next decade. This would be about a 6% increase in government revenue compared to past years.

Tax Policies

2. Immigration- The policies promised by the Trump administration in 2016 focused on the deportation of illegal immigrants in precaution of the violent crimes they could commit while in America. Now, as the job losses stemming from the coronavirus continue, Trump’s immigration policy focuses on maintaining jobs for Americans and not allowing them to be given to undocumented immigrants. Since taking office in 2016, Trump has had 371 miles of his infamous border wall built, banned travel from several countries amid the pandemic, and attempted to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA. DACA is a program that is meant to protect illegal immigrants who came to the country as children. If Joe Biden were elected he has said that he would stop the building of the border wall and reverse many of the policies Trump has put in place. The premier difference in President Trump’s and Biden’s immigration philosophies is that Biden is interested in increasing immigrants to benefit the economy, while Trump believes they harm the economy and American jobs. Interestingly enough, Michelle Hackman, an immigration policy analyst from the Wall Street Journal says, “Joe Biden may have actually pursued some similar policies as Donald Trump. Deportations were actually higher annually during the Obama administration and they certainly had some tough border enforcement policies.”

3. Foreign Policy- The ability to maintain healthy relationships and alliances with the world’s leaders rests heavily on the shoulders of the President of the United States. The differences in how the candidates would handle diplomatic alliances is hard to ignore. Some critics of President Trump’s foreign relations have stressed that he has ignored the importance of alliances. Biden has also heavily critiqued President Trump and says that he would form better alliances with foreign countries and use them to deal with the country’s issues with China, North Korea, and Russia. In response to the tech, national security, and trade issues, both political parties have agreed something needs to be done with China, but their approaches differ extensively. In the last year, the Trump administration has taken the tough approach and started a trade war with China. Biden called his strategy ineffective and says he would focus more on the aide he could receive from the alliances he would build with Europe and Asia.

The deployment of U.S. troops also falls under the foreign policy category. Biden disagrees with Trump’s removal of nearly 12,000 troops in Germany but backs his removal of about 8,700 troops from Afghanistan since February of this year. Neither candidate has released how they plan on dealing with the troops in Syria and Iraq.

Foreign Policy

4. Racial Injustice, Policing and Crime- Police brutality and racial discrimination have dominated headlines this year as the Black Lives Matter movement protests the injustices African Americans suffer at the hands of law enforcement officers. Both candidates have led completely different responses to the sometimes violent protests and have gone about their plans for law enforcement in different directions. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Justice Department Reporter Sadie Gurman, Biden says his “Justice Department would once again use its power to hold entire cities accountable for police misconduct by conducting far-ranging investigations into police departments known as pattern-and-practice probes”. The Trump administration and Attorney General William Barr have denied that systemic racism exists within law enforcement and agree that racist individuals within police departments are to blame. Their plan to eradicate the use of excessive force and violence against African Americans starts with use-of-force training and fundamental changes to everyday policing. They say this would avoid the large amounts of money local taxpayers would need to pay to cover the cost of the investigations of Biden’s pattern-and-practice probes. During the final debate between the candidates on October 22nd, the controversial 1994 Crime Bill was acknowledged. Biden played a part in the passing of this bill, which can be blamed for the mass incarceration of Black men in America. Biden confronted this and said he would create new policies that would re-evaluate many of the policies the bill put in place, particularly the mandatory minimum sentence for nonviolent crimes.


5. Environmental Policies- Climate change is one of the most partisan issues on the current political spectrum. If Biden were elected president, he plans on pursuing what some analysts are calling “the most aggressive climate agenda of any major presidential finalist ever”. This agenda includes, but is not limited to, the mass use of electric cars, electrified public transportation, and the decrease in greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants. His plan would cost a grand total of $1.7 Trillion dollars over the next decade. President Trump has denied the severity of climate change and global warming, and believes that Biden’s strategy will drive out American businesses. The Trump administration has not mentioned the issue of climate change during his second-term election agenda, but does list clean air and water as priorities.

6. Healthcare- A very important topic dominating political discussions this year is healthcare. Both candidates agree that healthcare costs should be reduced, but disagree on how involved the federal government should be in the healthcare process. President Trump wants to give the decision-making power to the states and allow them to decide how to use their funds to pay for Medicaid. He has also backed the lawsuit aimed at getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Trump also believes that the states should be able to “import certain drugs from other countries such as Canada to spur competition and reduce prices”, says Stephanie Amour, Health Policy Analyst for the Wall Street Journal. Alternatively, Biden plans on expanding the Affordable Care Act’s policies and reversing the changes the Trump administration has made to them thus far. Biden is also wanting the federal government to subsidize insurance for those who do not qualify for Medicaid. Along with this, he believes that Medicare should be allowed to negotiate drug prices.

The arrival of the Coronavirus in the United States rocked the nation and its healthcare system. Now that the initial shock of the virus has died down, the government and American people are expected to make the right decisions on how to deal with it. Once again, Biden and Trump disagree on the level of Federal involvement in the matter. Trump wants to leave contract tracing and the handling of specific medical supplies to the state, while Biden wishes the exact opposite. Biden says he would encourage all Americans to wear masks and help states establish mask mandates. Biden also plans to reinstate the country’s funding to the World Health Organization.

Healthcare Issues

At some point, every American will need to ask themselves “What’s best for me, my family, my future?”. This question can be difficult to answer, as there is no clear path to the future, and as much as people hate to admit it, neither political party is wrong. Americans were granted the ability to elect leaders by a courageous, revolutionary movement for independence and freedom. It only makes sense that as a people today, we state our opinions with the knowledge that it is NOT fact, but personal belief, no matter how strongly it is felt. The same goes with the understanding of the opposers to your beliefs. Avoid the reasoning that you have been granted the correct understanding of an issue and accept that others have the potential to be just as right. Walking away from a disagreement that will only end in bitterness and resentment says more about a person’s character than if they were to stay and pointlessly argue for the justification of their own beliefs.

By: Addelyn Hedges