Emmitt Wilson ’22
Trade & Jobs: Biden’s policy regarding jobs is informed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It seeks promote recovery from the economic downturn with high investment in green infrastructure and manufacturing. Biden has been a vocal supporter of international trade deals such as NAFTA and the TPP.
Climate & Energy: Biden has made climate change a key issue in his campaign. He plans to set a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, with large investments in green energy. His plan also includes bringing the United States back into the Paris Agreement, the international agreement meant to lower carbon emissions.
Foreign Policy: Biden claims that America has lost influence and its good reputation on the world stage under President Trump, and he plans to remedy that by reinvigorating connections to America’s allies and supporting democracy around the world.
Taxes: Biden claims that nobody earning less than 400,000 USD (525,280 CAD) will see their taxes increase under his administration but that he will increase the corporate and highest bracket income tax rate.
Immigration: Biden plans to reverse Trump’s immigration policies such as the border wall and detention camps, and to increase the ability for asylum seekers to enter the country. He cites America’s status as “an immigrant nation” and how immigration was vital in America’s growth as the reason to allow more immigration.
Welfare: Biden plans to build on the Affordable Care Act by giving all Americans a public insurance option and increasing health care tax credits. Biden also plans to give more emergency relief money to families and small businesses affected by the pandemic.
Trade & jobs: Trump believes in an America First policy towards international trade, with the stated goal of bringing jobs back to blue-collar American workers, especially in the industrial Midwest. He cites his renegotiation of NAFTA into the USMCA and the trade war with China as proof of his commitment to protecting trade and jobs.
Regulation: Trump believes that “excessive government red tape” is a barrier to economic growth and, therefore, he has worked to deregulate various sectors of the economy and promises to continue to do so.
Climate and Energy: Trump has broadly deregulated the energy industry and has removed restrictions meant to protect the climate, claiming they stifle economic growth. Trump disagrees with the scientific consensus on climate change.
Foreign Policy: Trump continues to run on the idea of removing US troops from the Middle East. While he has found some success in this, he has also raised military spending. Trump claims he will continue being tough with world leaders and negotiate better deals for America, especially working to raise the military spending of America’s allies.
Taxes: Trump and the Republican congress passed large tax cuts early in his presidency, and he has committed to not raising tax rates at any level.
Immigration: Trump has raised funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and allocated funds to build a border wall. He claims that illegal immigration is a large threat to American workers and only he can and will protect them.
Welfare: Trump made repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) an important promise in his first term, and he continues to claim he will fulfill that promise and make healthcare more affordable. He also plans to increase Veterans Affairs funding.
Paths to Victory
The two presidential candidates each have a vastly different path to victory in this election. Donald Trump has an incredibly consistent core voter base which composes about 35% of the total electorate and has continued to support him throughout his first term. His best path to victory is to lower overall voter turnout as much as possible, knowing that it will not affect his most loyal supporters.
To this effect, Trump has employed numerous tactics to lower the number of voters This includes attempting to exploit the split between Biden and the left wing of the Democratic Party who feel he does not represent them. Long-term Republican tactics such as purging voter rolls and closing polling stations to lengthen wait times will also likely play an important role in any election ending in a Trump victory.
For Joe Biden, the path to victory is the opposite. As of October 23, Biden is ahead in national and statewide polls, meaning it is in his interest for as many people to vote as possible. Biden’s campaign has pushed for early voting and mail-in voting. As of October 21, more than 40 million votes have already been cast.
Biden appears to have learned from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss the lesson that Democratic candidates cannot just rely on pointing out the perceived flaws in their Republican opponents, but must also offer a real alternative to their policy.
A Vacancy on the Supreme Court
When conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February of 2016, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to keep the seat open for the rest of the year, and potentially another four years, so a Republican president could fill his seat.
President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, was left without a vote for almost an entire year. Now in 2020, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton, died on September 18th (46 days before the election), Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party have reversed their course, deciding that appointing Amy Coney Barrett before the election is perfectly fine.
This is indicative of the way that the Republican Party approaches political challenges, with an attitude of “the ends justify the means.” Contrast this with the attitude of the Democratic Party, who pursue a moral high ground, refusing to filibuster Republican legislation or slow the process of confirming Barrett through legal processes.
Because of this mentality, McConnell and Trump have filled the roster of federal judges at every level over the last four years. If Joe Biden wins the presidency, he could find the entire judicial branch against him, a senate unwilling to appoint any new judges, and a Supreme Court that will stay conservative for decades to come.
As The Crusader News went to print, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed by the Senate by a margin of 52-48.
Photo Credits: Scott Eisen/Getty Images (Biden), Alex Brandon/AP (Trump).