How Trump and Biden Compare on the Key Issues
In the 2020 presidential election, American voters will have to choose the re-election of billionaire President Donald Trump or Democratic Senator Joe Biden. But what is Trump’s agenda for health, the economy, or racial discrimination? And what does Biden’s agenda contain for migration, foreign policy, and the climate? Check out our comparison of the two presidential candidates.
The televised debate of September 29, 2020, may have led to the belief that between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, everything boils down to a clash of personalities. The two presidential candidates, however, defend ideas, even though the program of the current President of the United States is articulated in a less detailed and less sophisticated way than that of his Democratic opponent. Covid-19 has, however, come to dominate the agenda and have made health the number one concern of voters. Even more so than in the United States, citizens’ access to health insurance and care is intimately linked to employment – the rate of which has dropped dramatically as a result of measures taken to stem the epidemic.
Failing to have succeeded in repealing Obamacare, Donald Trump has endeavored to empty the substance of this reform through which Barack Obama’s government sought to democratize access to health care. “Obamacare will be replaced by a MUCH better, and BY FAR cheaper, alternative if it is overturned by the Supreme Court,” Mr. Trump promised. The Supreme Court is once again called upon to rule on this reform on November 10. In line with Republicans’ wishes, the US president is advocating for placing limits on Medicaid, a program designed to provide health insurance to low-income people.
However, he promised to reduce the prices of drugs, especially by importing them from foreign countries.
Unsurprisingly, Joe Biden intends not only to restore the integrity of Obamacare but to extend its benefits to, he promises, 97% of Americans. Among the avenues considered, the proposal for public insurance modeled on Medicare (the program that already covers seniors) and tax breaks to help the middle-class pay premiums. The will is not only to help the most disadvantaged, but also those who have income too high to be helped and too low to benefit from quality health care. Biden also wants to fight concentration in the pharmaceutical industry and the resulting exorbitant powers to set drug prices. To increase competition, he intends to allow his fellow citizens to buy drugs abroad.
Economy and employment
Heir to a strong economy, the Republican has been able to boast, under his tenure, of continued GDP growth, overflowing Wall Street optimism, and historically low unemployment. The coronavirus pandemic, synonymous with a severe economic crisis, has swept this house of cards. Not enough to destabilize Donald Trump, who presents himself as the only one capable of restoring “the best economy in history”.
One of its flagship promises is to create 10 million new jobs in ten months and a million new small businesses. How? ‘Or’ What? “We will continue to reduce taxes and regulations to levels never seen before,” he said, pledging to unveil a “Tax Reduction Package 2.0” this year. He also wants to expand Zones of Opportunity, a program that provides tax incentives to those who invest in disadvantaged communities – but whose impact on them is in doubt.
If his policies have mainly favored wealthy Americans, Donald Trump also seeks to give pledges to the working class, which constitutes part of his electorate. He recently said he was “open” to increasing the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour – after it has stagnated at $ 7.25 for a decade. The same Trump had declared that Americans’ incomes were already “too high” …
The economy and jobs are arguably the toughest terrains for Joe Biden. The epidemic has arguably changed the game, but, paradoxically continuing to perform well, the stock market may suggest that Trump-era prosperity is still here, at least for the well-to-do. By promising to repeal his tax reform, Biden has given his Republican rival something to grind, which convincingly assures that all Americans will pay more taxes if his opponent wins. So Joe Biden does not want to restore the economy from before Covid-19, but rather to create a new, modern and better economy. Emphasis is placed, for example, on the development of sustainable energies and investment in public or social services, whether they are nurseries, education, the elderly, or the disabled.
The one who calls himself “the least racist person in the world” is accused of blowing the embers of racial tensions in the United States. Mr. Trump has called for a military response to the protests following the assassination of African-American George Floyd by police. Distilling a feeling of fear among his electorate, mostly white, he promised to finally bring “law and order” to the country, which he has led for four years. Mr. Trump has called the Black Lives Matter movement a “symbol of hatred” and strongly opposes cutting funds for law enforcement. Refuting the idea that there is systemic racism within American society, the current White House occupant offers few projects targeted to the African American community. According to him, it will inevitably benefit from the establishment of “the best economy in the world”.
Associated with the Obama years, Joe Biden is on the velvet when it comes to racial discrimination, even though his running mate, Kamala Harris, was precisely the one who reproached him, during a televised debate of the Democratic primaries, for a sometimes equivocal commitment, when he was a senator from Delaware, in favor of desegregation in schools. The candidate intends to leave no room for doubt today by prioritizing the reduction of economic and social inequalities. In particular, it pledges $ 50 billion to finance the projects of “brown and black” entrepreneurs in public-private partnerships, and $ 100 billion in low-interest loans to support programs benefiting these communities. Several initiatives aim to facilitate the creation of SMEs by nationals from minorities.
The Republican has made the fight against immigration his hobbyhorse. He pledged to continue building a wall on the US-Mexico border – he secured funding to build 716 km of the promised 1,160 km barrier. He also wants to put an end to the visa lottery – a system of lottery which allows 50,000 foreigners to settle in the United States each year – as well as to “chain migration” (based on family reunification). ). This, to establish a system exclusively based on merit.
Donald Trump would also like to block illegal immigrants from accessing social assistance or even health care. It aims to do away with the sanctuary cities – whose police do not deliver irregular migrants to the federal authorities – to “restore our neighborhoods and protect our families”. Thus, the Republican continues to associate these people with danger, just as during his election campaign in 2016.
Above all else, Joe Biden intends to “reaffirm America’s values as a nation of immigrants.” Rather than a wall, the Democratic candidate wants to build bridges and pursue an immigration policy that is both “fair and humane”. While he readily concedes that borders must be effectively controlled, Biden intends to respect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. It will no longer be a question of separating children from their parents, but of reconnecting with various mechanisms protecting family reunification. Biden reaffirms the relevance of the programs launched under Obama’s presidency (particularly in favor of the “Dreamers”, young people who arrived illegally in the United States when they were minors) and recalls his support for the immigration reform which enjoyed broad support in both parties, but which the Republican majority in the House had nevertheless rejected in 2013.
Abortion is arguably the most divisive issue in American politics. To galvanize the evangelical and ultra-conservative American electorate, the Republican stands as the guarantor of the restriction of this right of women. This is why he is trying to appoint Amy Coney Barrett, a practicing Catholic, in extremis to replace the progressive judge and dean of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September. In January, Donald Trump became the first president to attend an anti-abortion protest. This ultra-conservative stance also applies to the rights of the LGBT community, which he has worked to limit during his four years as president.
Donald Trump is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment of the Constitution. His position remains unclear on the background check of anyone seeking a weapon. He said, however, that there was “no political appetite” for banning assault rifles. And also opposes the idea of forcing gun owners to register them.
The positions of a Democratic candidate in social debates are clear, but sometimes difficult to defend in the face of the caricature of his Republican opponents in the presidential race. Joe Biden defends the freedom to abort, the rights of sexual minorities, the union between spouses of the same sex – principles which must not appear in contradiction with strong religious convictions (which must always be claimed if one wants to be elected in America). The issue of firearms imposes a balancing act: we must proclaim our commitment to this constitutional right, but demand more effective controls so that the guns “do not fall into the wrong hands”. Biden wants to ban the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, as well as the online sale of weapons and ammunition.
Last September, Mr. Trump predicted that the climate would “start to cool down” and said “science doesn’t know” what climate change is. On the strength of these convictions, he intends to continue his policy of destroying the environmental protections of former Democratic President Obama and promoting fossil fuels. Extracting natural gas by hydraulic fracturing is, in his view, a way to create jobs and keep energy prices low. The president also intends to stimulate a renaissance of “beautiful clean coal”, the fuel that emits the most carbon dioxide when burned.
The Democratic candidate likes to recall that he is recognized as a pioneer in the fight against climate change for having initiated, in 1986, one of the first laws in this area. As vice president, he was directly involved in the negotiation of the 2015 Paris agreement and he should logically make the United States a party to this treaty that Donald Trump denounced. Biden has big ambitions: he is committed to building an economy based exclusively on renewable energy and zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. His plan to achieve this combines various measures, from the construction of small nuclear power plants to the improvement of the engines of cars or planes, of the transformation of agricultural techniques to the sanctuary of the marine and land spaces that Donald Trump wanted or wants. open up to energy exploitation. Environmental research and innovation are at the heart of the Democratic candidate’s economic project and presidential campaign.
America first. The Republican candidate remains faithful to this vision of foreign policy, which consists of going it alone, even if it means alienating his partners and giving up his place as leader of a multilateralism. To loosen the ties of the American economy with those of other countries and promise new jobs for the working class, he pledges to stimulate the domestic manufacturing industry and discourage companies from relocating their activities. Proud to be “the first president to stand up to China,” he intends to continue his war of nerves with Beijing.
On the geopolitical ground, Donald Trump maintains his support for Israel and intends to increase his efforts tenfold to have Jerusalem recognized as the Israeli capital. Meanwhile, he wants to continue the steamroller strategy against Iran, having denounced the nuclear deal with that country. On the military front, the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan remains a key objective for Donald Trump. Moreover, if re-elected, the Republicans will continue to put pressure on NATO allies to increase their defense spending.
Having chaired the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee for several years, Joe Biden has a solid knowledge of international issues and values multilateralism more than Donald Trump. Just as Barack Obama restored trust with America’s allies after the tumultuous Bush years, the Democratic representative should repair the damage caused during the Trump era, especially within NATO. If he will logically seek to rehabilitate the nuclear agreement with Iran (since it was concluded under Obama’s presidency), he should not, on the other hand, question the transfer to Jerusalem of the embassy of the States. -United in Israel. One can, however, expect a little more benevolence towards the Palestinians. The great unknown remains the attitude Biden will adopt towards China: He will probably be less aggressive, but in the post-Covid context, he will be unable to ignore the vertiginous imbalance in trade.
Do you want to read all the news from the two politicians and follow the development of the American presidential campaign from day today? Discover our special file “presidential elections 2020”. Here you will find all our articles on the subject and important information such as the polls of the American electorate, the evolution of the electoral campaign, and the presidential debates. If you want to learn more about the Republican Party candidate, visit our “Donald Trump” news page, and for the Democratic Party candidate, our “Joe Biden” news page.