A brief guide to the 2020 Presidential candidates

Donald J. Trump

Current President Donald J. Trump is the Republican nominee in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and his running mate is Vice President Mike Pence.

Four years ago, Trump gave a speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., which highlighted his campaign’s “America First” approach. 

“America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration,” he said. 

In 2020, that appears to remain his approach. Trump has taken a hard stance on trade with China, and he has previously stepped away from multilateral agreements like the Paris climate accord.

According to Kiplinger, Trump has voiced support for a second round of stimulus checks, reducing taxes on capital gains, a middle-class tax cut and tax credit for travel expenses. He has already reversed some federal regulations on businesses, enacted cuts on corporate and income taxes and signed executive orders in support of products made in the U.S., according to the BBC.

Trump’s second-term campaign agenda states that he hopes to “eradicate COVID-19.” His goals include developing a vaccine by the end of 2020 and returning to normal in 2021.  

Trump has disapproved of the Affordable Care Act, which was introduced by former President Barack Obama, and his administration has worked to undo parts of that law. He has promised to decrease drug prices and has declared the opioid crisis a national health emergency.

Trump decreased limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and vehicles and approved oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Trump’s second-term campaign agenda says he wants to “defend our police” with initiatives that include fully funding and hiring more police and law enforcement officers and increasing criminal penalties for assaults on officers.

Trump has been an advocate for school choice policy and expanding accessibility to charter schools. According to his campaign’s second-term agenda, he also wants to “teach American exceptionalism” in schools.

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden is running as the Democratic nominee in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Kamala Harris, a Democratic senator from California and a former candidate in the U.S. primary race, will be running alongside Biden for vice president.

According to his campaign website, Biden believes free COVID-19 testing should be provided to all Americans, the number of drive-through testing sites should be doubled and a U.S. Public Health Job Corps should be established to provide support to at least 100,000 Americans. 

He supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, and he has proposed a $1.7 trillion plan, which is based on elements of the Green New Deal, to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Biden’s economic agenda includes increasing the top corporate income tax rate from 21% to 28% and the top income tax rate from 39.6% to 37%. 

Biden plans to use the U.S. Justice Department to address unconstitutional or unlawful policing, and he supports job and housing programs that aim to reduce racial disparities in income and wealth. 

For criminal justice, Biden emphasizes a shift from incarceration to prevention and aims to eliminate racial-, gender- and income-based disparities in the system.

 Biden also strongly supports providing no debt to individuals with two years of community college or similar training programs, making public colleges tuition-free for families with incomes below $125,000, doubling the maximum value of Pell grants, increasing the current income-based repayment program to more than halve payments on undergraduate federal student loans and creating a new program for public service loan forgiveness.

Jo Jorgensen

Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, a senior lecturer of psychology at Clemson University, entered the presidential race last November. She is running alongside podcaster and entrepreneur Jeremy “Spike” Cohen. Like many others in the Libertarian Party, Jorgensen believes in less government control and more individual freedom.

To improve the economy, Jorgensen plans to roll back “policies that cripple economic growth.” She supports a shift from coal- and oil-burning power plants to nuclear power plants. She wants to reduce healthcare costs by creating a truly market-based healthcare system that allows for health insurance being modeled after car insurance and not tying healthcare to employment.

Howie Hawkins

Howie Hawkins was chosen as the Green Party’s nominee in July. His running mate is Angela Walker, an activist, professional driver and labor organizer. 

Hawkins was the first U.S. candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010, and it remains one of his main objectives. He also favors community control of the police, “Medicare for All,” ending the war on drugs, legalizing marijuana and reducing the military budget. He also plans to introduce an “Economic Bill of Rights” that would guarantee the rights to a living-wage job, an income above the poverty line, a decent home, comprehensive health care, a good public education from childcare and pre-K indergarten through college, and a secure retirement.

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