Trump vs. Biden On The Issues—Let's Take A Look
Last night, as I was scrolling social media, someone accused Biden of “not having a plan for anything.” Which was strange because his website has at least an entire day’s worth of reading with all his plans. I did have to check myself though—I have been guilty of accusing Trump of not having a plan, particularly with regard to healthcare. But admittedly I had not been to his website. Perhaps I was missing something.
So, with as open a mind as I could manage, I navigated to President Trump’s reelection site to learn about his plans for the country, issue by issue. I did a similar deep-dive into Biden’s site. Here I will share what I learned, as well as provide embedded links to sources for the various claims made on each site. This was a bit more difficult with Trump’s site as, unlike Biden’s site, there are no links embedded for folks who would like to research further.
I’ll admit straightaway that this research only led me to be even more confident in my Biden vote and more emphatic in my disdain for Trump. Read on to understand why.
Trump: His website boasts that he “will” repeal and replace the ACA. It also points out that Trump repealed the individual mandate for those who couldn’t afford health insurance, which sounds nice except it led loads of people to opt out of insurance, putting themselves at risk, and increased premiums for everyone else. Notice how your premiums and copays have gone up? Thank Trump for that. If Trump wanted to help those people, he should have found a way to make sure they had insurance. Instead, when uninsured folks get sick, they are forced to use urgent care centers and emergency rooms that they can’t pay for, raising prices and premiums for everyone.
Also, there really is no plan on his website for what he plans to replace the ACA with. I wasn’t wrong about that. In the most literal sense, Trump does not have a plan. He says he will protect Americans with pre-existing conditions but at the same time is currently asking the Supreme Court to strike down the ACA as unconstitutional, a move that would allow private insurers to go back to denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and capping coverage, end Medicaid expansion, cut tax credits, and disallow parents from keeping their adult children on their family plans until age 26.
And, critically: There is no plan on his site for what to replace the ACA with.
Biden: Plans to build on the ACA by, among many other proposals listed on his site, giving Americans a public health insurance option similar to Medicare, increasing tax credits, expanding coverage for low-income Americans, stopping “surprise billing,” rolling back the exception that allows drug companies to set their own prices without negotiating with Medicare, and allowing consumers to buy prescription drugs from other countries as long as they’re FDA approved—that last one sounds great. Big pharma has long been in need of some competition to drive down the insane prices on the drugs so many Americans need to survive.
Trump: Hundreds of thousands of deaths under his leadership, more than any other country in the world. What we needed, back in early March, was a president who would listen to scientists, talk to the American public as though he and they were intelligent, reasonable people, and ask us to do the very hard thing of committing to a full lockdown for six to eight weeks. Yes, it would have been hard. But we could have been moving on by now. As I write this, Trump is erupting on Twitter because he’s furious that Facebook took down and Twitter put a warning label on one of his posts that spread dangerous misinformation about coronavirus. His posts claimed the flu was more deadly than COVID-19.
Biden: Has a plan that would rely on experts’ advice. Biden commits to supplying “free public testing and rapid deployment of supplies, as well as economic measures such as emergency paid leave and the creation of a state and local emergency fund.” Any one of these would be better than what we currently have in place. That said, Biden is also concerned about schools reopening. He understands many Americans rely on school to keep their children safe and fed during the day. He just wants to do it safely, and not at the expense of human life.
Trump: Tweets about the soaring stock market because he rightly assumes his followers believe the stock market is the economy. Except, the recent stock market highs are representative of the trillions of dollars that the Federal Reserve and U.S. government poured into the economy, most of which was absorbed by large companies like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google, and all of which, make no mistake, is a debt average Americans will foot the bill for. And the small businesses across the U.S. that are having to shut down for good aren’t listed in the S&P and therefore aren’t counted as part of this supposedly “roaring” economy.
Trump’s website brags that he “Alleviated the tax burden on over 500 companies who used those savings to fund bonuses, wage increases for 4.8 million workers.” Understand that what this means is he cut taxes for massive corporations. Also understand that these tax breaks did not raise wages for the average American, and the bonuses mentioned went to the folks who are already getting paid the most anyway. Meanwhile, Wall Street has gotten rich, rich, rich, because where did those breaks did go? Profit. Profit is always the bottom line.
When will we learn that “trickle down economics” doesn’t benefit average folks? Every American should ask themselves how it is that the stock market is doing so well despite our country experiencing some of the highest unemployment rates we’ve ever seen.
Biden: Has several tabs on his website tackling the economic recovery with regards to tax policy, working families, racial equity, clean energy, and people with disabilities. He wants to tackle the wealth gap and build a healthy, inclusive economy that benefits every American, not only those with wealth and means, and certainly not the kind of economy that would deregulate to the point of allowing unscrupulous practices like those that caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis that led to the Great Recession and crash of 2008. There is good reason for regulation, folks.
Racial and Social Justice
Trump: Says he is “the least racist person there is anywhere in the world,” but took out the civil rights offices at the Departments of Education and Justice and supports monuments of Confederate generals. He penned an executive order (which had no legal teeth, but still) about making education “more patriotic,” i.e., erasing difficult truths about how our country came to be, namely the way we have treated indigenous, brown, and Black folks.
Trump has rolled back rights for transgender people and banned travel from predominantly Muslim countries, and still refers to COVID-19 as “the Kung flu.” Trump has entirely ignored the cries of Black folks to do something about systemic racism in policing so they can stop seeing their unarmed brothers and sisters being gunned down by those who have sworn to protect us.
Biden: Has a lengthy, detailed, multi-pronged plan in which he clearly acknowledges that systemic racism does in fact exist and needs to be rooted out. He has plans to “advance the economic mobility of African Americans and close the racial wealth and income gaps,” to address racial inequities in our education system and to expand access to education, to invest in ending racial health disparities, to expand Black homeownership (and address the inequities that put up barriers to homeownership for Black folks), and many, many more points.
Trump: Not listed as an issue on his website. In June of 2020, the Trump administration passed a rule that reversed ACA protections for transgender and queer folks by defining sex discrimination only in terms binary sex as defined by a person’s genitals, explicitly denying protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Biden: Will prioritize enactment of the Equality Act during his first 100 days as President. He will reverse actions of the Trump Administration. He plans to extend further protections against discrimination to queer folks at every level, from schools to healthcare to employment to the military and veterans to building families. Biden is clearly an ally to LGBTQ folks.
Trump: Gun violence prevention is not listed as an issue on his site. The NRA endorses Trump.
Biden: Acknowledges gun violence as a public health epidemic. In 1993 Biden supported and helped pass the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, establishing a background check system and 5-day waiting period for firearms purchases. In 1994, he supported the passage of 10-year bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Biden does not plan to take guns from law-abiding Americans, but he does want common sense regulation, including banning the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, regulating possession of existing assault weapons, buying back assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, reducing the stockpiling of weapons, requiring background checks for all gun sales, prohibiting the online sale of firearms and ammunitions, and creating programs to ensure that those who are prohibited from possessing firearms surrender their weapons.
Trump: Supports defunding public education and instead funneling money into a voucher system for “school choice.” Trump has said, “All children have to have access to quality education. A child’s zip code in America should never determine their future, and that’s what was happening.” And yet Trump’s plan neglects to consider two things: One, the reason people seek out charter schools is that their severely underfunded public schools are not meeting their needs. Two: Defunding public education means defunding the neighborhood schools where kids have no choice but to go. Many families, even if given “the choice,” would not have the means to transport their child an untold distance to a “better” school. The idea of school choice leaves every single one of these children behind.
Biden: Wants to triple funding for Title I, the program that supports schools in economically struggling areas where schools are way underfunded. The point is not to privatize schools and build “good” schools here and there where only the kids with the means to transport themselves there can attend. The point is to reduce the funding disparities between schools so that every neighborhood school provides the same level of opportunity.
Trump: In the “energy and environment” section of his site, there is information about the many new drilling sites and pipelines Trump has enabled. There is nothing about the environment. In fact, in 2017, Trump famously withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord, saying he thought the energy restrictions put in place by the agreement would “hamstring the United States.” In that same announcement, he claimed the U.S. is “the world’s leader in environmental protection.” This is not true. Denmark, Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada are.
Biden: Acknowledges that climate change is a serious concern, and bases his plan on “two basic truths”: “(1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.” His nuanced plan to develop a robust clean energy industry considers the link between environment and economy, always aiming for balance and looking toward the future.
Trump: Not listed as an issue on his site.
Biden: Played a huge role in the passing of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994. Prior to its passing, abusive partners could escape prosecution by crossing state lines and police officers were generally discouraged from involving themselves in domestic violence cases. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in the seven years following its passing, intimate partner violence decreased by 64%.
As for plans for moving forward, Biden acknowledges that we have not yet reached equality and that women of color experience a disproportionate amount of sexism. He has a plan to fight for equal pay, to invest in women-owned small businesses, to expand education and training, to increase pay and benefits in careers disproportionately filled by women, to expand access to healthcare and affordable childcare, and to provide paid leave for parents.
Trump: Build the wall. End DACA. According to his website, he “launched the office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE),”which has wasted and continues to waste millions of taxpayer dollars by playing into the false notion that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes than U.S. citizens. In reality, VOICE seems like no more than a hotline for people to tattle on their neighbors that they suspect may be undocumented.
Biden: Acknowledges that the United States is a “nation of immigrants” and that immigrants contribute to our economy, not take from it. Considers it important to ensure security at the border but also recognizes that Trump has created a humanitarian crisis that must be dealt with in as humane a manner as possible. Prefers to address the root causes for why people in neighboring countries feel so desperate that they flee their homes and communities. Biden sees the solution as working collaboratively with these countries to reduce violence and insecurity, increase economic opportunity, and get rid of corrupt governance.
While “behavior” isn’t technically an issue, I propose it should be. Biden regularly states that he will be everyone’s president, even the people who don’t vote for him. Trump constantly uses “us against them” rhetoric, pitting his followers (and since when do presidents have “followers”? This is so weird and gross) against “the radical left,” the “lame stream media,” and the “lying,” or “sleazy,” or “low IQ democrats.” Never in our history has a president used such deliberately divisive language, and it indisputably has had a damaging effect on the spirit of our country. Since Trump came into power, we have only become more and more divided.
Vote for Biden.
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