2020 Election: Know the Issues

In the second installment of our 2020 Election series, we give you an insight into the key election issues.

This year has been tumultuous, to say the least. In the spring of 2020, the world as we know it stopped. Schools and businesses shut down, and as the pandemic slowly crawled across the nation, a recession began to rear its ugly head.

Now, we’re less than a month away from Election Day, and it seems like the chaos is ramping up. We’re still in the midst of a pandemic, along with an early wildfire season in the West and a particularly active hurricane season in the Atlantic. We are working from home, schooling at home, and trying to figure out just how different all of our favorite holidays will look this fall.

Who has time to dissect the election? Luckily, we do! (With some help from various publications and government agencies.) Here is a quick rundown of some of the key issues among registered voters.

The Top 3

✓  The Economy

According to the U.S. Labor Department, 2.4 million people have been out of work for 27 weeks or more and nearly 5 million are on the verge of long-term joblessness. A survey conducted by the Census Bureau found that 18 million Americans, including 1 in 3 children are food insecure.

There was some assistance early on, in the form of a stimulus bill, unemployment benefits extension, and an eviction moratorium. Those aids have pretty much ended, and the current president has called off talks on a second stimulus bill.

The economy is not in a position to not fully recover anytime soon, so it is top of mind for registered voters. The presidential candidates agree on certain policies like the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, but disagree on many others, including:
Raising the federal minimum wage to $15
   Biden: Supports ✅
   Trump: Position is unclear ❔
Unemployment benefits extension
   Biden: Supports ✅
   Trump: Does not support ❌
Cuts to Social Security
   Biden: Does not support ❌
   Trump: Position is unclear
Increase capital gains and corporate taxes
   Biden: Supports ✅
   Trump: Does not support ❌

✓  Coronavirus response

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center (PRC) in early August showed that 62% of voters consider coronavirus response an important factor in who they will vote for. As new outbreaks emerge across the country, opinions on pandemic response seem to remain divided along party lines.

Both candidates support expanded testing, however, they differ in how to implement it. Trump prefers to leave it to the states to deal with a testing strategy, while Biden supports a federal response, including funding. Here’s where they stand on other hot button issues:
Nationwide mask mandate
   Biden: Supports ✅
   Trump: Does not support ❌
Federal funds for school reopening
   Biden: Supports ✅
   Trump: Does not support ❌
Withdraw from the World Health Organization
   Biden: Does not support ❌
   Trump: Supports ✅

✓  Healthcare

The pandemic’s far-reaching effects is top of mind among voters, and the PRC survey mentioned above shows 68% of voters cite healthcare as very important to their vote. This is especially important for people in the Hispanic and Latinx communities, who have considerable concerns about the health and economic effects of the pandemic. This is where the candidates stand on healthcare:
Support the Affordable Care Act
   Biden: Supports ✅
   Trump: Does not support ❌
Insurance must cover pre-existing conditions
   Biden: Supports ✅
   Trump: Position is unclear
Support Medicaid expansion
   Biden: Supports ✅
   Trump: Does not support ❌
Support lowering the Medicare eligibility age
   Biden: Supports ✅
   Trump: Does not support ❌

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Other Important Issues

The pandemic has shined a glaring light on the first three issues we discussed, and they are the ones most discussed by political pundits. However, the PRC studies show that Americans are also very concerned about other issues, such as education, climate change, immigration, and gun policy. See below for more on where each candidate stands on these issues.

✓  Education

Trump is adamantly against free tuition to public universities, while Biden supports free tuition for people in certain income brackets. Trump supports federal funds for private schools, and Biden is against private school vouchers. Trump opposes banning charter schools, and Biden supports banning for-profit charter schools.

✓  Climate change

This issue has deeply divided voters along party lines, as many Republican voters do not believe climate change is a real threat. In fact, Trump and the Republican party have repeatedly shunned scientific evidence, saying "“Well, I don’t think science knows, actually.” Trump does not support a federal role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while Biden introduced a $2 trillion plan to fight climate change.

✓  Immigration

From family separations to sanctuary cities, there is a clear line between where each candidate stands. Trump supports a "zero tolerance" policy and separating family members at the border, opposes a moratorium on deportations, and wants to ban all sanctuary cities. He also still wants to build a wall. Biden supports sanctuary cities, a 100-day moratorium on deportation, and recently released a lengthy plan to address other immigration issues.

✓  Abortion rights

Americans have been divided over abortion rights for decades, and nothing is different this election year. Trump wants to continue to nominate anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court and supports additional abortion restrictions. Biden opposes both and supports public funding for abortions.

This concludes our look at the key election issues concerning voters as we get closer to Election Day. Keep an eye out for the next installment in our 2020 Election series in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out Part 1, which gives some helpful tips on how to prepare to vote.

Stay safe, stay strong, get ready to vote!