2020’s presidential election could be seen as one of the most important American elections in recent memory. With the country facing several crises, including a global pandemic, growing racial tensions and increased political division, the president American voters select in November may pave the way forward for America’s future. As some CCHS seniors reach the legal voting age this year, it’s important that they’re informed on the major candidates for office.
Joe Biden is the Democratic challenger for President. Biden started his political career as a Senator from Delaware. As a Congressman, he served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee from 1987 to 1995, passing several landmark pieces of legislation. This includes the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which Biden called the “achievement of which I am most proud,” and the 1994 Crime Bill, which included the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. He was re-elected to the Senate six times before resigning to serve as the 47th Vice President under President Barack Obama’s administration. While Vice President Joe Biden continued his work with foreign relations and stopping crime, he also worked with Congress to pass financial legislation that brought the country out of the Great Recession. In 2017, Joe Biden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction.
Biden has expressed his desire to create an America that is far more inclusive and a government which represents every American. He wants America to take a position of global leadership and set a worldwide example.
Biden’s running mate is Kamala Harris. Harris has also worked strongly in the American justice system. She has served as California’s Attorney General, overseeing the second-largest court system in the country. Since her election to the Senate in 2016, Harris has served on several key committees. including the Senate Select Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Donald Trump is the current President of the United States and the incumbent Republican candidate in the 2020 election. Trump rose to prominence by continuing and expanding his father’s success in business. Through his dominance in real estate and by writing over a dozen best-selling books in finance, Trump “defines the American success story.” Trump surprised the nation when he announced his run for office in 2015, but quickly gained a strong following due to his bold and forthright positions, promising to “Make America Great Again.”
While in office, Donald Trump has sought to put America first by restricting immigration and taking a stand against foreign dominance in the American economy. He has distanced America from its global presence, removing the U.S. from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Paris Climate Accord. However, Trump has remained involved in Middle Eastern affairs, mainly with his support for the state of Israel, which has earned him nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Current Vice President Mike Pence was the 50th Governor of Indiana and former member of the House of Representatives. Pence has received both backlash and praise for his staunchly conservative views on matters of the family, sexuality and abortion. Trump considered replacing Pence as his Vice President with Nikki Haley, former United Nations (UN) Ambassador for the United States. However, Trump has stuck by him due to their similar conservative values and positions on education, family and the economy.
Key current issues
Crime and law enforcement
Biden has received backlash for his backing of controversial crime legislation, including the 1994 Crime Bill, and Harris for her tough-on-crime approach as California District Attorney. However, after a wave of police violence and subsequent protests, Biden and Harris recently have pointed out the importance of criminal justice reform and re-allocating police funds and priorities to training and community support.
Trump has doubled down on his approach to the justice system. Trump is adamant about supporting law enforcement and pursuing stricter penalties on a wide variety of crimes. Trump has claimed in campaign ads that Biden’s response to recent civil unrest will be far too weak, which Biden shot back against.
Economy and healthcare
Trump and Biden have both stressed the importance of investing in and building up American manufacturing and industry.
Trump has given large tax cuts to the wealthy and large corporations to reward American success in business. Biden wants to invest in the middle class instead by protecting programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Unlike some of his former democratic opponents, Biden did not push for universal healthcare, but instead focused on a plan for expanding Obamacare.
Trump has accused Biden of mingling in far-left politics and planning to take trillions in taxes. He has also ignited the effort to repeal Obamacare.
For information on casting your vote this election, click here.
Photo courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago