Biden vs. Trump: Their Visions For America Compared

From COVID-19 to racial injustice to the economy, Biden and Trump have proposed vastly different visions for how America should move forward.
Joe Biden (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons) and Donald Trump (AP)

Joe Biden (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons) and Donald Trump (AP)

If you’ve been listening to the rhetoric coming from Donald Trump’s campaign, you’d be forgiven for assuming American cities were dystopian wastelands of rioting and violence. In recent weeks, Trump has taken to framing civil unrest as emblematic of Joe Biden’s America despite the fact that these protests are taking place under Trump’s national leadership. Many critics also argue that widespread unemployment, racial divisions, and poorly mismanaged pandemic response fueling protests can be directly attributed to Trump’s penchant for stoking racial divisions, encouraging authoritarian crackdowns, and his incompetent management of crises.

As Trump continues to incite fear of Democratic leadership and encourage conspiracy theories in his bid for re-election, he’s failed to articulate a clear vision for his second term. The glaring absence of a comprehensive Republican policy platform at the RNC was further confirmed by vague comments from Trump in recent interviews that if re-elected, he’ll pursue “more of the same.” Given that recent polling indicated only 13% of Americans are satisfied with the current direction of the country, this doesn’t seem like messaging that will win over already anxious voters.

What exactly does more of the same mean and how does that contrast with the vision for America Democrats unveiled in their DNC platform? After all, as the saying goes, show me your budget and I’ll tell you your priorities. How do the plans Biden has articulated and committed to enact during his presidency contrast with the actions Trump has already taken in his first term on the issues Americans care about?

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A Snapshot Of The Top 5 Issues Concerning Americans: Biden vs. Trump

At Rantt, we’ve already done in-depth coverage of the huge differences between Biden and Trump on issues ranging from climate change to immigration. But to further contrast the platforms of Biden and Trump, we took a look at the top five issues Americans said they cared about the most in an August 2020 Reuters poll. Many of these issues represent shifting priorities as the economy has worsened and the pandemic has taken hold across much of the country. In cases where we were not able to identify an articulated policy stance by the Trump administration or the Biden campaign, we derived conclusions from current policies or public comments.

Issue Biden Trump
Pandemic Management
  • Scale-up and fund free COVID-19 testing across the country
  • Funding for medical supplies, overtime pay for essential workers
  • Establish more testing sites nationwide including a minimum of 10 mobile sites per state
  • Create national health corp to employ 100,000 contract tracers
  • National mask mandate
  • Initially downplayed the threat of COVID-19 and failed to scale up testing
  • Advocated reopening schools and lifting restrictions against advice from health experts
  • Threatened to cut off funding to the World Health Organization
  • Reportedly asked officials to “slow down” testing
  • Supported the use of hydroxychloroquine deemed by the FDA as an ineffective and potentially dangerous treatment for COVID-19
  • Funded Operation Warp Speed for potential deployment of a vaccine as early as October after rapid test trials
Government Accountability & Reform
  • Constitutional amendment to eliminate private dollars from federal elections
  • Legislation to provide voluntary matching public funds for federal candidates receiving small-dollar donations
  • Strengthening prohibitions to keep foreign money out of elections
  • Restricting SuperPACs, ban corporate contributions
  • End dark money groups, close federal contractor loophole
  • Require real time disclosure, increase transparency
  • Impeached for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power
  • Uses the DOJ to pursue his enemies and protect his friends
  • Eight of Trump’s associates have been indicted on criminal charges
  • Profits from the presidency
  • Weakened restrictions on lobbying
  • Promises to drain swamp have instead lead to revolving door environment
  • Widespread vacancies, appointment of acting directors that circumvents legal appointment process, and congressional authority
  • Unprecedented number of appointees and former lobbyists with vested interest in deregulation
Economic Recovery & Reform
  • Focus on middle-class families
  • Increase taxes on those making over $400k a year and reduce it for those making less
  • Reinvigorate American manufacturing through innovation and small business
  • Invest in modernizing infrastructure like roads, bridges, schools, and internet with an emphasis on clean, renewable energy
  • Provide working parents with affordable childcare and education
  • Extend coronavirus unemployment benefits
  • Tax reform failed to deliver on promises to middle-class families with 60% of tax savings going to top 20% on income ladder
  • Lowered corporate tax rates by 40% and slashed corporate tax revenues by 31%
  • 2 trillion dollars in coronavirus relief through the CARES act intended to help small businesses (PPP loan program contained up to 1 billion in fraudulent loans)
  • Ended some unemployment benefits in August, reinstated eviction moratorium, deferred payroll taxes which will impact funding of
  • Medicare, Social Security benefits
Racism & Racial Inequality
  • Close the racial wealth gap
  • Expand affordable housing with $15,000 refundable tax credit for first-time homebuyers
  • Invest in constructing 1.5 million homes and public housing units
    Invest in entrepreneurs of color with $30 billion to a new small business opportunity fund focus on racial equity
  • Reform “opportunity zones”
  • Relief from student debt and free public college for households making under $125,000/year
  • Supports efforts aimed at police and criminal justice reform, specifically programs to reduce incarceration rate, restoring voting rights, eliminating the death penalty, and ending for-profit prisons
  • Signed First Step Act, major criminal justice reform legislation but denies systemic racism exists
  • Travel bans critics say amount to systemic racism
  • Oppressive immigration policies that remove or severely restrict asylum in the US
  • Threats to veto renaming of military bases named after confederate leaders and slave owners
  • Widespread references to
  • Called BLM protesters “thugs” and “terrorists” and said “very fine people” were among neo-Nazi protestors at Charlottesville
  • Widespread use of racist terms referring to coronavirus
  • Deployed federal law enforcement to target BLM protesters
  • Ended enforcement of fair housing rules
  • Mandated halt of federal funding for all racial equity training
  • Has invested $98 million in hiring more police officers, restored the ability of law enforcement to buy military equipment
  • Repealed the individual mandate resulting in higher premiums in 2019 & 7 million more uninsured
  • Ended Obamacare cost-sharing reductions
  • Currently suing to invalidate Obamacare in its entirety
  • Allowed states to impose work requirements for Medicaid
  • Passed legislation allowing terminally ill patients to try unapproved drugs by bypassing the FDA

The Rantt Rundown

If, like the majority of Americans, you’re disheartened by the current state of politics and the progress of the country, Trump’s “more of the same” campaign messaging isn’t likely to generate much enthusiasm. However, Biden has painted a clear vision of how America can stage an economic recovery through resilience and expressed faith in our ability to rise to the challenge of this crisis. Biden, often touted as a centrist Democrat, has also embraced more progressive policies in his platform across a wide variety of issues from criminal justice reform to healthcare and education.

While everyone may not agree on Biden’s policies, there’s certainly a lot to sink your teeth into. Substantial twenty-five-page documents filled with specific, detailed policy proposals clearly map a way forward through legislation and bipartisan initiatives. The RNC on the other hand simply rereleased their 2016 platform prefaced with a one-page resolution that reads like a list of petty grievances instead of the vision of a party in power. The choice seems to be clear: substance and substantive change or more of the same chaos and corruption. You decide.

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Rantt 101 // Coronavirus / Donald Trump / Economy / Healthcare / Joe Biden / Racism