Candidate Guide

As Election Day looms, nearly 60 million Americans have already cast ballots during early or through absentee voting. Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump by 8% of the vote in NBC News’ aggregation of ten national polls.

For those casting their ballot in the days leading up to the election, or who just want to brush up on the candidates, here is The Arkansas Traveler’s 2020 Presidential Candidate Guide.

Top issues for voters aged 18-29 include the economy, racism, COVID-19 and healthcare accessibility, according to a Tufts University poll.

Economy

Biden’s main initiative is to spur economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic and help working families, according to the Biden campaign. His recovery plan, Build Back Better, is founded on several pillars, which include creating jobs through manufacturing and innovation, as well as transitioning to clean energy, with a goal of zero carbon emissions. Build Back Better also focuses on making childcare more affordable, creating easier access to community-based care for elders and disabled people, and advancing racial equity.

President Trump’s economic plan, “Fighting for You,” is a perpetuation of goals set forth during his first term, according to the Trump campaign. Trump aims to create 10 million new jobs in 10 months, eradicate COVID-19, improve the healthcare system and end illegal immigration, with the goal of protecting American workers.

Trump has said he will prioritize clean water and air, but he also plans to boost U.S. production of oil and natural gas. In 2018, Trump supported a piece of legislation, known as the Save Our Seas Act, to clean oceans of garbage, allocate funding for national parks and public lands and to put $38 billion toward clean water infrastructure.

In the future, Trump plans to continue rolling back Democratic environmental regulations, such as the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Power Plan. A full list tracking Trump’s deregulation can be found here.

Racism

Biden’s plan to advance racial equity includes investing largely in infrastructure, innovation, education and small businesses. His comprehensive plan includes supporting minority-owned small businesses, increasing homeownership among minority families and improving accessibility to higher education for minority students.

The official Trump and Pence website does not mention his stance on racial equity. However, President Trump signed the Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities on June 16 as a response to the nationwide protests against police brutality. The executive order outlines several priorities of the White House on police reform and new guidelines for use of force.

COVID-19

Biden’s plan to combat COVID-19 includes increased funding for expanded testing and increased access to personal protective equipment. He plans to invoke the Defense Production Act, which would allow the federal government to mobilize the U.S. industrial system to produce more PPE. He also plans to up the number of drive-thru testing sites, and to push for the creation of at-home tests. Biden plans to allocate $25 million toward vaccine production.

President Trump has said the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine will begin by the end of the year, with 300 million doses administered by January 2021. However, White House coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci says a vaccine won’t be developed until well into 2021. Fauci says it may be likely that there will be tens of millions of vaccines by the beginning of next year, but life cannot return to normal without a vaccine. Trump plans to refill stockpiles of personal protective equipment and prepare for any future pandemics. Trump disbanded the Global Health Security and Biodefense unit – responsible for preparing for pandemics – in 2018.

Healthcare

Biden plans to reconstitute and expand the Affordable Care Act by creating a public option health care plan, which would create a government-funded alternative to private insurance, and lowering prescription drug prices through Medicare. Biden also plans to restore funding for Planned Parenthood. The Trump Administration enacted a rule in 2019 that disallowed facilities from providing abortion services if they were receiving federal Title X funding.

Trump plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and enact a new plan that has not yet been publicly announced. There have been five separate occasions wherein Trump has said he would announce a healthcare plan but has failed to deliver. The White House’s healthcare page has not been updated since 2018. He has said he wants to lower the prices of prescription drugs and insurance premiums, and to bar denial of coverage to people with preexisting conditions.

Immigration

Biden’s immigration plan is largely built around reversing Trump administration policies. Biden plans to terminate construction of the border wall, stop the practice of family separation, and repeal bans on travel to the U.S. from Muslim-majority countries. Biden also plans to raise the annual refugee cap for the U.S., and to work toward making Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals permanent.

President Trump’s immigration plan for his second term was announced Thursday by his senior adviser, Stephen Miller, via phone interview with NBC News. Miller said his plans include decreasing asylum grants, punishing and outlawing ‘sanctuary cities’, tougher screening for visa applicants and adding new limits on work visas. He said the objective is to raise and enhance the entry to the United States.

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