So You Want to Talk About Policy...

During the pre-Election season, the news circuit has been filled with both Trump and Biden’s ideas and claims of what they will pass, or veto should they find themselves in the Oval Office come January. With a perceived record-level number of voters for the 2020 election, it is important to start looking into what these ideas are: even the briefest of overviews.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris have been prevalent in the political sphere for a combined total of sixty-three years, with Biden having forty-seven and Harris having sixteen. The platform that they have been building since the Democratic Primaries is worth inspecting, as both have a history of centrist-conservative ideologies.

Biden’s terms as Vice President showed that he favored some liberal policies, such as LGBTQ+ rights for marriage and equality, and it seems as if, from his campaign promises, that he is willing to work with liberal members of the government to negotiate between the conservative and liberal lines. A similar story with Harris, who had faced controversy during the Primaries for backing prisons and police in her past, during the height of the Black Lives Matters movements. Since then, Harris has begun identifying with liberal causes that she has made promises that she and Biden will likely tackle in office.

A few of these causes are eliminating private prisons, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, taxing carbon emissions, and increasing taxes on wealthy Americans. Both are advocates for immigration, with repeated mentions of keeping DACA and ending funding for the border wall. The Biden-Harris platform, however, also disagrees with itself. Biden has expressed interest in putting controls and limits on abortion and opting for background checks instead of banning guns, whereas Harris is interested in implementing the opposite: no limits and the banning of guns.

On the other side of the aisle, President Donald Trump has shown what he is interested and willing to do should he get another four years, often joking to his supporters and the media that he would be interested in having up to sixteen years in office.

The question, then, is what policies Trump is standing behind, so that the country will know what to expect coming down the line should he be re-elected. Several of his ideas fit under the Republican party umbrella, with many carrying over from his 2016 campaign.

Much of the news coverage of Trump’s policies revolve around immigration, with his ideas of the border wall and re-negotiations of DACA. He has also been integral in foreign aid and trade policies, specifically noting that there are problems within the China and Trans-Pacific trade deals that he has wanted to fix and will likely attempt to do during his next term. The main problem that comes from these policies is that they are, seemingly, not supported by most of his constituents. Should he be re-elected, it could cause contention if he decides to continue with these policy changes.

Other policies that President Trump has advocated for tend to fall into either health care or gun control. He has repeatedly mentioned his interest in eliminating the Affordable Care Act and lowering drug costs. A recent action on this was his lowering of insulin costs, although it has yet to be proven whether this change has benefitted those who require insulin. He has also made changes in the level of health care that transgender individuals and minorities can access. The President has been a staunch promoter of the Second Amendment, although, during 2018 and 2019, he had said he was planning on making “tighter background checks” and “red flag laws.” However, he has yet to further these plans into actual policies.

Whichever way the election goes, Americans need to be educated on and prepared for the policy changes that will occur over the next four years. The core of democratic institutions is the ability for the people to make decisions in which they are directly affected, and it is important as many people understand this value and use it to their advantages.

By Sam Sage


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