Six weeks out: How the 2020 Presidential Election is Shaping Up

Photo Credit/ Pixabay and Flickr, Edited by Natalie Irula

Natalie Irula

Editor-in-Chief

At a month and a half away, the Presidential Election has boiled down to Republican nominee President Donald Trump versus Democratic nominee Joe Biden. 

Trump’s re-election campaign focuses on “American first,” as he told Time in an interview, while stressing the accomplishments of his current term. 

Biden’s campaign is very much a response to Trump’s, focusing on the changes he will make as well as the policies he plans to implement.

“Our opponents believe that America is a depraved nation. We want our sons and daughters to know the truth: America is the greatest and most exceptional nation in the history of the world,” Trump stated during his second convention acceptance speech.

“Our country wasn’t built by cancel culture, speech codes and soul-crushing conformity. We are not a nation of timid spirits. We are a nation of fierce, proud and independent American Patriots,” he continued, according to the New York Times.

His “hot topics” include the economy, jobs, immigration and foreign policy. As we near the end of the campaigning season, we see other relevant topics coming up such as environmental issues, education, criminal justice, gun regulation and health care, on which both nominees differ greatly.

“If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” Biden can be quoted in his convention acceptance speech.

“It’s time for us, for we, the people, to come together. And make no mistake, united we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America. We’ll choose hope over fear. Facts over fiction. Fairness over privilege. I’m a proud Democrat. And I’ll be proud to carry the banner of our party into the general election,” he continued, according to NPR.

The former US Senator and Vice President represents himself as progressive, as he campaigns to “build back better,” an initiative to build America not with what has worked in the past, but with the future in mind.

Acknowledging Trump’s current term, citizens have more of a holistic view of what presidency under him will look like. This can be either a drawback or a benefit, since citizens are able to look back on his term and pull concrete evidence.

The following information can be found on both candidates’ respective campaign websites.

On the economy, Trump boasts economic growth and jobs, citing 6 million new jobs, a record-breakingly low unemployment rate, a wage growth of 3% for 10 months in a row, the passing of The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. and U.S. Gross Domestic Product growth.

Biden’s position focuses on reform. He identifies “four pillars” that stress “mobilizing” manufacturing and innovation, ingenuity in modern infrastructure and clean energy, talent within education and parenting and racial equity. He also makes a point to raise the minimum wage, benefits and pay for healthcare workers.

Regarding immigration, the former Vice President intends to reverse policies that Trump has put in place during his term. These policies, which, according to the Trump Administration, serve to protect American citizens’ communities and jobs by further securing the south border, scaling down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, implementing the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office and proposing immigration reform based on merit.

On the other hand, Trump intends to strengthen said policies, while keeping his foreign policy very open. During his term, he has travelled the world, “working to restore America’s prominence in global diplomacy.” He has held negotiations and made deals with countries such as South Korean, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Israel. 

Similarly, Biden has pledged to strengthen the US’s role in foreign policy, while also re-establishing a commitment to arms control and addressing the “Climate Crisis” by rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. 

His campaign emphasizes climate control and environmental issues. Biden’s aggressive approach calls for technological innovation, a clean energy initiative and focus on agricultural preservation. 

Trump has an entirely different stance, based on affordability and expanding the job market. He has implemented the Affordable Clean Energy Rule by reversing President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan and approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Regarding education, the Trump Administration has created the Every Student Succeeds Act as well as modified the distribution of Pell grants to benefit students year-round, instead of only during the fall and spring semesters.

Alternatively, Biden’s plans are more financially-driven, focused on raising wages and investing in education across America.

In this time of political unrest, many citizens are paying closer attention to criminal justice reform and gun control. 

With this in mind, both candidates have put forth the directions they intend to take in the 2020-24 presidential term.

Trump draws our attention to the $98 million in grant funding he has allocated to the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, allowing for 802 additional full-time law enforcement officers, and the expansion of Project Safe Neighborhoods. He praises the U.S. Justice Department for their work and continued efforts on this afront. 

On gun-control, he turns to the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, and believes the Conceal and Carry Permit should be available country-wide.  

Biden, however, proposes a $20 million grant that would incentivise state-level policing to “shift from incarceration to prevention.” He also plans to invest in education, expand funding for mental health and substance abuse research and treatment and to use the power of the U.S. Justice Department to “address systemic misconduct in police departments and prosecutors’ offices.” 

Additionally, he has identified his plan to start the Task Force on Prosecutorial Discretion. He is much more strict regarding gun control and intends on tightening the reins by establishing the Task Force on Online Harassment and Abuse to “focus on the connection between mass shootings, online harassment, extremism, and violence against women.”

Concerning healthcare, the Trump Administration has repealed the individual mandate from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and approved a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency.

Biden emphasizes his intention to continue to develop and protect the Affordable Care Act from those who would see it gone and reinstate some Obama Care mandates that have been reversed. 

Regarding the race, these two candidates could not be more different and America is torn. Poll-data is not necessarily reliable and it is difficult to predict the outcome of this election, as it was in the 2016 Presidential Election.

As young voters and students, be sure to gather information on each candidate’s Vice President picks. Trump has decided to continue with the current Vice President, Mike Pence, and Biden has chosen Kamala Harris as his running mate.

Regardless of your political stance, there are many points to consider as the election draws near. Do your research, head to the polls with confidence solidified through education and bring your friends with you.

Natalie Irula

nirula@live.esu.edu

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