The Red and White’s 2020 Election Guide

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Pauline Alterio, Reporter

The 2020 presidential election is set to be held in just a few days, and the stage is set for a bitter battle between Democratic candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, and Republican candidates President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Each duo and subsequent party has taken different stances on nearly every current issue, so which candidates represent your beliefs? And which one is right for you?

Covid-19: 

Trump and Pence:

  • Believe what they are doing is enough
  • Promise a vaccine before Election Day, experts say this is unlikely 
  • Not in favor of national mask mandate 

             Biden and Harris:

  • “7-point plan”
  • Want free vaccine available to all
  • In favor of national mask mandate

As of October 23, 223,000 Americans have died, and over 8,400,000 Americans have been or are infected with the novel coronavirus, according to the New York Times. However, the Democrat and Republican candidates have nearly completely different stances on the pandemic. President Trump and Vice President Pence both boast what they call a “historic” response to the pandemic and tout what they call the “world’s leading testing system,” as seen in an official White House statement. Additionally, they have also promised that a vaccine would be available before Election Day. According to Statista, there are nearly 650 vaccines being developed worldwide, which to many scientists is a promising sign. However, Moncef Slaoui, the top scientist on Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. federal project attempting to make a vaccine available, said that the chances are “very, very low” for a vaccine to be ready by late October or early November. Moreover, the pair has also not made any motion for a national mask mandate. 

On the other side of the aisle, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris have created what they call a seven-point plan to beat Covid-19, which can be found on Joe Biden’s official campaign site. Some of its key points included the providence of funds for small businesses to gain access to PPE and other items needed for safe operation, investment in “next generation“ testing, the creation of task forces that help racial minorities and those at-risk most affected by the virus, and the investment of 25 billion dollars to manufacture and distribute a vaccine to every American for free. Additionally, the running mates also say they would put in place a national mask mandate. 

Healthcare

Trump and Pence:

  • Have lowered drug prices for those with low-income 
  • Slashed funding for Obamacare/ACA
  • Want to eliminate Affordable Healthcare Act

Biden and Harris:

  • Want to expand upon ACA
  • Want to almost entirely eliminate prices for low-income individuals and/or families
  • Eliminate surprise billing
  • Combat pharmaceutical companies’ drug prices

In the past seven months, the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has sparked new conversation over the importance and distribution of healthcare. As usual, Democrats and Republicans have made it clear they have very different views and ideas for this issue. In the last four years, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are responsible for driving down drug prices for low-income people. However, the administration and fellow GOP members have also attempted to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides care to over 100 million Americans. The case reviewing the legitimacy of the ACA is set to be heard by the Supreme Court a week after Election Day. Additionally, the President and Vice President have slashed funding that previously provided assistance to help people with the often confusing sign up process for Medicare and Medicaid. Conversely, Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have stated that, if elected, they would build upon the ACA/Obamacare. They promise that they would give “all Americans a new, more affordable option.” They want to drive down prices almost entirely for low-income individuals or families, and want to completely eliminate surprise billing, which is when a person receives a bill for a medical specialist they were unaware was not covered by their insurance. Additionally, the pair want to combat pharmaceutical giant’s “abusively priced” medications. This would include, among others, imposing a tax penalty on companies that increase drug prices at a rate higher than the inflation rate.

Taxes

Trump and Pence:

  • Have cut taxes for middle and upper class (more so for upper)
  • Incentivize funding low-income areas
  • Boost take-home pay

Biden and Harris:

  • Eliminate part of Trump tax plan that gave cuts to uber-wealthy
  • Introduce taxes on those who make above 400k a year
  • Enact tax cuts for middle class

During the RNC in August, Pence and Trump called to light an issue that has since gained national attention: taxes. The incumbents claimed that under their future tax plan, they will boost take-home pay through tax cuts and expand the program Opportunity Zones that incentivizes investment in low-income areas. However, Biden and Harris have brought attention to their dislike of Trump’s tax plan. Reminding people that the president’s tax actions gave billionaires what they call “huge” tax cuts (83% of Trump’s 2017 tax cut did in fact go to billionaires, according to the Tax Policy Center ). As a result, the pair has announced that they would rebuke this area of the president’s tax cut, but not allow anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year to pay anymore in taxes. In fact, the campaign claimed that they will “enact more than one-dozen middle class tax cuts.”

Black Lives Matter and racism

Trump and Pence:

  • Do not support BLM
  • Supports Confederate statues that some have called “racist” 
  • Believes systemic racism in America “does not exist”

Biden and Harris

  • Supports BLM
  • Does not want to defund police; instead fund police based upon decency criteria
  • Promotes law and order but only in a fair way

Several months ago, systemic racism made headlines when police killed George Floyd. The murder prompted international protests for racial equality, and put politicians in the spotlight on their beliefs of racial inequality and their actions to combat it. As usual, Republicans and Democrats were seen taking nearly opposite stances, and their presidential candidates were seen following suit. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have generally attacked the movement Black Lives Matter, which is spearheading the fight against systemic racism. Several times, Trump has simply said “law and order” in referral to some of the violent clashes between protesters and police (though 93% of BLM protests are peaceful, according to the ACLED). He has also made remarks saying that BLM is a part of a “mob rule” and that it is actually “destroying many Black lives.” Additionally (in response to Black Lives Matter), the President has publicly stood against the removal of a confederate statue honoring one of its leaders, the direction for the Department of Education to eliminate “Anti-American” teachings, and a national education plan that would teach American exceptionalism. On the other side, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have taken the Democratic stance to BLM. While Joe Biden is considered a moderate, the candidate and his running mate have openly supported Black Lives Matter and their mission to achieve racial equality. During the first presidential debate, Biden claimed he wanted law and order, but wanted “law and order with justice where people get treated fairly.” Additionally, in regards to the “Defund the Police” movement, Joe Biden says he does not want to defund the police, but instead said he would provide funding for police departments based upon whether they meet “minimum basic standards of decency.”