Editorial: 2020 presidential endorsement part 1


President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden were originally supposed to take to the stage again for the second presidential debate Oct. 15.

Editorial Board

The 59th quadrennial presidential election is well underway with millions of United States citizens already voting across the country.

In fact, more than 26 million people have voted as of Saturday, according to the U.S. Elections Project, a turnout-tracking database run by University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald. That’s more than six times the number of votes cast by the same point in 2016.

But for those who have yet to vote early, are waiting to vote in person or are undecided and waiting to make up their minds, it is still important to look at President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, their flaws and their strengths.

Five Topics

First, let’s take a look at five major topics of interest to the American people: health care, COVID-19 response, the environment, foreign policy and the economy.

Health care

Health care affects everyone from every background, age, race and gender. How the president of the United States views health care can affect everyone.

Let’s start with the incumbent president and see what he has done in office what he says he will do if he is elected again.

Trump has said he would protect people with preexisting conditions with a new health care plan that will replace the Affordable Care Act, with one possibility called the America First Healthcare Plan. Though Trump has promised this new plan, the details are unclear. He says it is meant to protect people with preexisting conditions, but there’s no clear plan to do so. 

For veteran’s health care, Trump expanded the Veteran’s Choice Program under the VA MISSION ACT of 2018. This allows eligible veterans to receive health care from a community provider rather than waiting for a Veteran Affairs appointment or traveling to a Veteran Affairs facility.

In a backwards step from the previous two statements, the Trump administration has proposed deep health care spending cuts over the next decade in the 2021 budget proposal, especially to Medicaid ($900 billion) and Medicare ($450 billion). It requests $94.5 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, a 10 percent decrease from the 2020 enacted level.

The expansion of veteran’s health care and the proposal of a plan that would protect people with preexisting conditions are both nice and good steps for Trump’s campaign. On the other end, cutting health care spending during a pandemic that is still killing Americans is a step in the wrong direction.

Next, we need to look at Biden’s proposals for health care.

In 2010, Biden and President Barack Obama worked to sign the Affordable Care Act into law, and Biden still supports the Affordable Care Act to this day. On his campaign website, he discusses building on the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs and making our health care system less complex to navigate. These all sound like worthy ideals for Americans right now, especially during a pandemic.

Biden’s plan also includes having no one pay more than 8.5 percent of their income toward health insurance premiums, which could help out a lot of families knowing that in 2018 the average American household spent almost $5,000 per person on health care.

Biden has also endorsed creating a government-sponsored health plan, known as the “public option,” that would be available to people who buy their own health insurance. That eligible group would include anyone who doesn’t get insurance through their job or who doesn’t qualify for other government programs, like Medicare or Medicaid. This idea alone would allow millions of Americans to have health insurance and, through that, have better health care and quality of life.

Overall, Biden’s plan relies solely on the Affordable Care Act and expanding upon it rather than building new health care infrastructure from the ground up or even implementing the “Medicare for All” plan many Democrats endorse. However, his current plan seems to be focused on helping low-income Americans receive the health care they need, and that is a good step in the right direction.

COVID-19 response

The United States is still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it does not seem to be stopping anytime soon with new daily cases still in tens of thousands. How have both candidates responded to the pandemic?

First, let’s look at Trump’s views on the pandemic and what he has done as the current president.

Trump has repeatedly downplayed the role of the virus and has repeatedly blamed China for “causing” the virus. 

A study done by Cornell University to find sources of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 showed Trump was the cause for 38 percent of COVID-19 misinformation.

This has likely had disastrous consequences for America’s handling of the pandemic and has most likely contributed to thousands of excess deaths, either due to blatant disregard for the seriousness of the pandemic or due to taking advice from the president, like when he suggested at a White House briefing that an “injection inside” the human body with a disinfectant such as bleach could combat the virus. 

In a positive step since the pandemic began, Trump did sign an executive order banning travel from China with exceptions of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and their families that went into effect Feb. 2. This executive order potentially helped reduce the spread of COVID-19 into the United States.

Trump has had many missteps in his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the over 200,000 deaths from it. He has cost us our image as a nation and has spread much misinformation about the virus, but his action in suspending travel to other countries was necessary to try and contain the virus.

Next, let’s look at what Biden plans on doing if he becomes the next president of the United States.

Biden’s campaign has released a comprehensive plan for combatting COVID-19, which includes items like ensuring every person who needs a test can get one, ensuing free testing for those who need it, providing a daily public White House report on how many tests have been done and giving all frontline workers “high-quality and appropriate” personal protective equipment.

Biden also announced he will restore the White House National Security Council (NSC) Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense. This was created by the Obama administration in 2016 and disbanded by Trump in 2018, though the NSC is still in operation.

Both of these items are good steps for Biden’s campaign; it proves he is taking the campaign seriously and that he honors all the lives the United States has lost and those that may still die before any change or vaccine is made. 


With this current decade showing many signs of climate change such as increased fires in California, water levels rising and a land hurricane in Iowa, Americans are looking to their next president to take action for the environment.

First, let’s see what Trump has done for the environment as well as look to see what he plans to do next.

The Trump administration has removed Obama-era clean water protections, which protected many bodies of water from pollution and run-off from industrial and agriculture facilities. Under the new Environmental Protection Agency rules, the federal government will no longer protect streams that only flow during some parts of the year or after heavy rain or wetlands that are not connected to larger bodies of water. This could have a drastic impact on ecosystems as countless unknown chemicals are dumped into them.

The Trump administration has also sought to revise or reverse two major Obama-era rules aimed at limiting leaks and intentional venting of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. In July, a federal judge blocked the rollback of one of these rules concerning methane on public lands, but the administration is still pushing to repeal it. 

The Trump administration has also revoked California’s authority to set emission standards and to mandate electric vehicles. These vehicle rollbacks by the Trump administration could have the largest effect on future emissions. New cars and trucks are expected to emit 1 billion more tons of carbon dioxide through 2035 than they would have if the cleaner vehicle rules had stayed in place.

In a positive outlook, Trump signed legislation that will devote nearly $3 billion a year to conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands. Supporters say the Great American Outdoors Act is the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century. Opponents countered the money isn’t enough to cover the estimated $20 billion maintenance backlog on federally owned lands.

The Trump administration has clearly taken the side of big oil and corporations instead of choosing the environment in all aspects, meaning that unless significant changes are made, many of the United States’ natural resources and beauty will disappear. However, Trump did sign the Great American Outdoors Act in an attempt to help curate and protect national parks, which is a good item for him to support.

Now, let’s look at what Biden has proposed as plans for if he wins the election.

Biden’s campaign for the environment focuses on making “decisions that are driven by data and science” and securing “environmental justice and equitable economic opportunity,” with plans that would benefit the environment. 

Limiting emissions is a priority of Biden’s. He wants to achieve an emissions-free power sector by 2035 and upgrade 4 million buildings to meet the highest standards for energy efficiency.

He will recommend each state prioritizes reductions in emissions in disadvantaged communities. He also wants the federal government to recommend all states properly monitor pollution in the environment, which includes emissions, criteria pollutants and toxins.

Water pollution is another topic Biden’s plan addresses. He wants to designate PFAS, chemicals that cause health issues, as a hazardous substance. This will set limits for PFAS in the Safe Drinking Water Act. Safe drinking water is essential for survival.

Climate disasters need a proper response from the president. A goal of Biden’s is to create a National Crisis Strategy that prioritizes equitable disaster risk reduction and response.

He is focused on building back better after climate disasters, which is exactly what we need. He will also provide additional Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grants to every state and territory for their efforts to develop climate disaster mitigation plans with local health departments.

Foreign policy

Foreign policy is all about how the United States is viewed by other countries across the globe and how we interact with them. What will each candidate do?

First up, let’s look at what Trump has done in the public sphere as representative for the United States.

During the Trump presidency, the worldwide standing of the United States has fallen, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has fallen even further. A new 13-nation Pew Research Center survey reveals America’s reputation has declined heavily over the past year among many key allies and partners. In several countries, the share of the public with a favorable view of the U.S. is as low as it has been at any point since the Center began polling on this topic nearly two decades ago.

The Trump administration has had an aggressive response when it comes to military tactics abroad. In retaliation for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of the chemical weapon sarin in an attack against civilians, Trump authorized a limited cruise missile strike on the regime-controlled Shayrat Air Base, which drew international support and was justified as enforcing the Chemical Weapons Convention. In 2017, Trump announced in a speech a counterterrorism-focused approach to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, including the deployment of more U.S. troops there and loosening their rules of engagement.

Trump has cultivated cordial relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has argued for closer cooperation with Russia; however, Trump’s 2020 campaign website lists a number of actions taken to counter Russian interference, including a collection of sanctions on Russian election hackers, criminal charges against Russian intelligence officers and the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

Trump has sought to confront China over what he says is a suite of economic abuses: intellectual property theft, currency manipulation, export subsidies and economic espionage. Trump has entered into an escalating trade war with China, applying tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods in several stages, drawing Chinese retaliation.

These points are just a highlight of the various views Trump has had on other foreign powers, but they make important points. Trump’s trade war has had many consequences for employers in the United States, and Trump’s relationship with Russia is often confusing at best. A positive note from Trump’s foreign policy is the retaliation for the sarin attacks, proving strength and a no-nonsense approach.

Next, it’s time we look at what Biden plans on doing if he becomes the president.

Biden’s views on Russia seem to be mostly negative and most seem to stem from issues with Ukraine. Biden said he would increase U.S. military assistance to Ukraine, conditioned on anti-corruption reforms, to ensure “Russia pays a heavier price” for its interference. As vice president, he advocated for sending weapons to Ukraine to support it against the Russian-backed insurgency in its eastern territories, and he supported Trump’s moves to do so as well.

Biden has also faced criticism from Trump for his family’s ties to Ukraine, specifically the affiliation of his son, Hunter, with a Ukrainian energy company while Biden was serving as vice president. While Trump has brought this up often, Biden has stated Hunter’s position had no connection to the U.S.-Ukraine policy.

Biden’s views on China are mostly negative. Biden has called out China’s detention of more than one million Muslims in the Xinjiang region as “unconscionable.” He says the United States “must speak out” and that he would support sanctions against the individuals and companies involved, as well as a U.N. Security Council condemnation.

Biden has stated he opposes Trump’s trade war with China, calling the tariffs “self-defeating” because Americans are bearing the cost. While Biden has criticized the Trump trade war as self-destructive, the campaign has refused to pledge to removing the levies, saying they would only be reevaluated. Democrats in Congress say they would pressure him to keep some tariffs in place to protect American workers.

Biden makes it clear to point out wrongs done by other countries, such as Russia’s approach to Ukraine and China’s imprisonment of the Uyghur people; however, he has had some slip-ups mainly around his approach to dependence on China and his son’s involvement in Ukraine. 


The economy is the powerhouse of this country; it is how we survive and how we grow. Both candidates have very different views and goals for the economy in coming years, and it’s time to look at them.

First up, let’s see what Trump has done during his presidency and what plans he has.

Overall, the Trump campaign has provided few details for his plans for the economy during his second term outside of the 2021 budget proposal released in February, before the pandemic’s impact was fully known. The key priorities listed in the budget include better trade deals, overcoming the opioid crisis and American energy independence.

Though Trump has increased funding in areas like the military, he has increasingly advocated for cutting the budget elsewhere. The Trump administration’s 2021 budget proposal requests $66.6 billion for the Department of Education, a $5.6 billion or 7.8 percent decrease from 2020, meaning there will be less money to pay teachers, expand school buildings and buy new school supplies. 

The U.S. economy created 6.6 million jobs during the first three years after Trump took office. This is great for the people who received the jobs, but not particularly impressive when we look at Labor Department data and consider the state of the economy when he took office.

Trump’s take on the economy has both good and bad things. Yes, he created jobs, and his budget (though small in detail) has some good ideas, but he is also cutting funding for things like health care and education, which are important for the survival of the United States.

Next, let’s look at the Biden campaign’s plans for the economy in coming years.

Biden wants to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 and believes labor leaders should be involved in new trade deal negotiations. Due to the health crisis, he has also proposed getting all 50 states to adopt short-time compensation programs that are fully and permanently funded by the federal government.

Biden has also proposed raising taxes on individuals making 400,000 or more. Biden’s proposals include a top individual tax rate of 39.6 percent, up from 37 percent. He would also expand the 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax. Currently, wages above $137,700 are exempt; Biden would keep that cap but then start the tax again at wages above $400,000. He would also repeal a 20 percent deduction for income from pass-through businesses as it applies to high-income households and impose new limits on itemized deductions.

Biden said when Trump reduced the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent and made it easier for companies to deduct capital investment costs and bring home their foreign profits, it cut taxes too steeply. Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, imposing a new minimum tax on U.S. companies and raising taxes on the foreign income of many U.S.-based multinationals.

Biden’s take on the economy focuses on creating new jobs and increasing the minimum wage as well as taking a look at increasing taxes for those who make a lot of money, including corporations.