Biden vs. Trump: Where do they stand on the issues?

Biden vs. Trump: Where do they stand on the issues?

With the election quickly approaching, people are looking at which candidate they think will best to lead America. For the Democratic party, Joe Biden is the presidential candidate with Kamala Harris as his running-mate. For the Republican party, Donald Trump is running for a second term as president of the United States with Mike Pence remaining the vice presidential candidate. After examining both of their campaign sites, here is a break down of Biden’s and Trump’s positions on the big political issues for the upcoming election.

Joe Biden’s positions
Donald Trump’s positions


Plan for COVID-19 Pandemic

Plan for COVID-19 Pandemic

According to Biden’s campaign website, he and his vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, claim that “their administration will listen to science, ensure public health decisions are informed by public health professionals, and restore trust, transparency, common purpose, and accountability to our government.” Biden’s and Harris’s seven-point plan includes ensuring all Americans have access to COVID-19 testing, fixing problems regarding personal protective equipment like face mask production, providing national guidance and resources based off of evidence for communities and resources for schools and small businesses, planning for treatment and vaccine distribution, protecting high-risk Americans such as the elderly, rebuilding and expanding defenses to predict, prevent and mitigate pandemic threats and implementing mask mandates across the nation. Biden supports reopening schools during the pandemic as well and does not want to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Trump does not support a mask mandate across the nation. Trump does support expanding federal action for COVID-19 testing, safely fast-tracking the development of an effective vaccine for COVID-19, reopening schools during the pandemic and withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO). For more information about what the Trump Administration has done in response to COVID-19, click here. 

Plan for Criminal Justice

Plan for Criminal Justice

Biden’s plan for criminal justice reform includes reducing the amount of people incarcerated, rooting out the racial, gender and income disparities in the criminal justice system, focusing more on rehabilitation and stopping those who profit off of the criminal justice system. Biden does not support defunding the police. He opposes the death penalty and privatizing prisons. Biden does want to put an end to cash bails. Biden would reform qualified immunity for police officers, which currently protects them from lawsuits. Biden said that he would eliminate mandatory minimum prison sentences. However, according to the Washington Post, Biden has a history of supporting legislation for mandatory minimum prison sentences during the 36 years that he worked in the Senate. Biden does not support the legalization of marijuana but would decriminalize it.
According to Trump’s campaign website, he and his administration have worked with local law enforcement to protect American communities, protected all American’s rights, worked with the Department of Justice to confront organized crime, reshaped the American courts and addressed school violence. Trump does not support defunding the police, ending qualified immunity for police officers, legalizing recreational marijuana on a federal level and ending cash bails. Trump supports lowering the mandatory minimum prison sentences, the death penalty and privatizing prisons. 

Plan for the Economy

Plan for the Economy

According to Biden’s campaign site, Biden plans to provide state and local governments with aid to prevent educators, firefighters and other essential workers from losing their jobs, extend COVID-19 crisis unemployment insurance to those who lost their job during the pandemic and provide packages for small businesses that were affected by the pandemic. Biden supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, the United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal, “Made in America” policies, the Federal Reserve to operate separately from any political pressure, eviction moratoriums during COVID-19 and provide funding for paid family leave for up to 12 weeks. Biden plans to negotiate parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and re-evaluate tariffs on Chinese goods. 
According to his campaign site, under the Trump administration’s leadership “Congress passed historic tax cuts and relief for hard-working Americans.” Trump’s campaign site reads that the United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth increased, though it does not say anything about the economy since the pandemic has started. Trump signed an executive order that expanded federally funded apprenticeships and on-the-job training. Trump supports the United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal, “Made in America” policies, eviction moratoriums amid COVID-19 and tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump does not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which he withdrew from during his time as president, or allowing the Federal Reserve to work separately from political pressure. It is unclear whether or not Trump supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. According to the Washington Post, Trump supports funding up to 12 weeks of paid leave for Americans, but there would be limited action.  

Plan for Immigration

Plan for Immigration

Biden plans on modernizing the United State’s current immigration system and welcoming immigrants, asylum-seekers and refugees into communities. According to his campaign site, Biden also plans to deal with “the root causes of irregular migration” and “implement effective border screening.” Biden does not support families being separated at the border due to the “zero tolerance” policy, building a wall on the United States-Mexico border, banning sanctuary cities and less than 50,000 refugees being accepted in the United States per year. According to the Washington Post, Biden supports a moratorium on deportations. Biden wants to increase the number of high-skilled immigrants, but after the system has beenreformed.  

Trump’s campaign website says that Trump has enforced immigration laws in order to protect the American people and their jobs, especially enforcing U.S. border security. Trump supports “zero tolerance” policies, banning sanctuary cities and having less than 50,000 refugees being accepted into the United States per year. Trump does not support moratoriums on deportations. Trump does support having more high-skilled immigrants coming to the United States but not during the pandemic.


Plan for Education

Plan for Education

Biden plans to support educators “by giving them the pay and dignity they deserve.” He also plans to invest more resources into schools and “ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability.” Biden wants to start investing in children’s futures from the time they are born and provide all students in middle and high schools a chance to further their education according to his campaign site. Biden supports universal preschool. He does not support sending students to private schools through federal funding and cross-examining accusers of sexual assault at colleges and universities. Biden wants to make some public colleges free, specifically for families who make less than $125,000 and for-profit charter schools.  

Some things that Trump has done so far for the United States education system are proposing budgets to make school choices a priority, implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), implementing year-round distribution of Pell grants and reformed The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA). Trump does not support public colleges becoming tuition-free, universal preschools and banning charter schools. Trump supports sending students to private schools through federal funding and cross-examining accusers of sexual assault at colleges and universities.


Plan for Health Care

Plan for Health Care

According to his campaign site, Biden wants to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act. His plan is to provide all Americans access to health insurance that is affordable, provide “affordable, quality health care and a less complex health care system,” stop prescription drug companies from “abuse of power” and make healthcare a “right” and not a “privilege.” Biden supports having all health insurance to cover preexisting conditions, providing an option for government-financed health care for public health insurance, lowering the eligibility age for Medicare, expanding Medicaid, importing prescription drugs from Canada to be sold at a lower cost and permitting undocumented immigrants to receive health care insurance through either Medicaid or other public programs. According to the Washington Post, it is unclear where Biden stands on the right-to-try legislation, “which allows patients with life-threatening diseases or conditions to have access to experimental drugs or procedures.” 
According to his campaign website, “as part of the landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, President Trump repealed the individual mandate, which forced people to buy expensive insurance and taxed those who couldn’t afford it.” Trump also signed a six-year extension of CHIP, addressed drug addictions and opioid abuse, and the FDA approved the largest number of generic drugs during Trump’s presidency. Trump does not support the Affordable Care Act, a government-financed health care option for public health, nor lowering the eligibility age for Medicare and nor allowing undocumented immigrants to receive health insurance through Medicaid or other public health programs. Trump supports right-to-try legislation for accessing experimental treatments for patients with life-threatening diseases and importing certain prescriptions from Canada. It is unclear whether or not Trump supports having health insurance cover pre-existing conditions. According to the Washington Post, Trump does not want the protections for people with pre-existing conditions from the Affordable Care Act and has placed his support behind House and Senate bills, which “would have weakened preexisting condition protections by allowing states to seek waivers.” 

Plan for Climate and Energy

Plan for Climate and Energy

Biden believes in climate change and is currently working on plans for the United States to use more renewable and clean energy. According to Biden’s campaign website, Biden plans to have the United States rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change and “believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.” Biden supports the federal government playing an active role to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When it comes to the extraction of fossil fuels in public water and land, he wants to end new oil, gas and coal from being drilled, especially in the Arctic. It is unclear where Biden stands on banning fossil fuel exports. He has not explicitly stated that he supports the use of nuclear power, but he is open to the idea of it.
During his time as president, Trump has signed an executive order to drilling for gas and oil offshores, increased exports of energy resources, approved the infrastructure to release U.S. production of gas and oil, proposed replacing Obama’s Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement and relaunched the Smart Sectors Programs. Trump does not support the federal government playing an active role to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the United States rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, banning fracking or fossil fuel exports. Trump supports extracting fossil fuels in public water and land, the Keystone XL pipeline and nuclear power. It is unclear whether or not Trump believes in climate change caused by human activity. According to the Washington Post, Trump said in his first presidential debate that he believes in climate change to a certain extent; however, since 2018, he has said that he does not necessarily believe in climate change.

Plan for Taxes and Entitlements

Plan for Taxes and Entitlements

Biden does not support cutting Social Security nor the 2017 GOP tax cut. Biden does support increasing capital gains taxes and increasing the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. It is unclear whether or not Biden supports extending the federal unemployment insurance supplement to $600 per month. Biden said that he would study giving reparations to descendants of enslaved people but has not given full support to reparations. Biden plans to reform opportunity zones, which the Washington Post explains that they “create tax incentives to encourage investment in struggling communities.” 
Trump does not support extending the federal unemployment insurance supplement to $600 per month, increasing capital gains taxes or the corporate tax rate or providing reparations to descendants of enslaved people. Trump supports the 2017 GOP tax cut and opportunity zones. It is unclear whether or not Trump supports cutting Social Security. According to the Washington Post, back in September, Trump said that he would protect Social Security, but has suggested holding off payroll taxes, which contribute a lot of funding for Social Security.

Plan for The Government 

Plan for The Government 

Biden does not support quickly filling Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s vacant seat on the Supreme Court, requiring voters to show identification at voting polls, congressional term limits and disbanding the electoral college. Biden supports mail-in voting, restoring voting rights to those who have been convicted of felonies after having completed their sentences and Washington, D.C. becoming a state. Biden is studying about reforming the Supreme Court to add more seats to it. He would allow Puerto Ricans to decide to become a state or not. Biden would eliminate the Senate filibuster as a last resort, even though he has been against eliminating it for a long time.
Trump supports quickly filling Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant seat on the Supreme Court, requiring voters to show identification at voting polls and congressional term limits. Trump does not support adding more seats to the Supreme Court, restoring voting rights to those who have been convicted of felonies after having completed their sentences, Washington, D.C. or Puerto Rico becoming states and eliminating the electoral college. Under some circumstances, Trump does support mail-in voting. It is unclear whether or not Trump supports eliminating the Senate filibuster. 

Plan for Foreign Policy 

Plan for Foreign Policy

Biden supports committing to NATO, pulling troops out of Afghanistan and focusing on peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, supporting the Israel-Arab Emirates peace deal, ending assistance in Yemen for the Saudi-led war and acknowledging the Russian interference in the 2016 United State presidential election. Biden does not support directly talking to Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, without prior concessions. He also does not support the current restrictions between the United States and Cuba nor any increase in the budget for the Defense Department. Concerning the movement of the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Biden does not think that it should have moved, but he would not reverse the decision. Biden would support the Iran Nuclear deal “if Iran returns to compliance.” It is unclear whether or not Biden supports the Space Force.
Trump supports withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and focusing on peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the Israel-Arab Emirates peace deal and the United States Embassy in Israel moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He supports talking directly to Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, without any concessions beforehand. Trump also supports the current restrictions between the United States and Cuba, the creation of the Space Force and increasing the budget for the Defense Department. Trump does not support the Iran Nuclear deal, does not acknowledge Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election and ending assistance in Yemen for the Saudi-led war. According to the Washington Post, Trump supports committing to NATO “but remains lukewarm.”

Plan for Abortion

Plan for Abortion

Biden does not support appointing antiabortion justices to the Supreme Court nor adding restrictions to current abortion laws. Biden supports public funding for abortion. According to Washington Post, Biden reversed his stance on abortion being publicly funded, which he originally opposed, during the Democratic primaries. He also supports restrictions on late-term abortions.
Trump supports appointing antiabortion justices to the Supreme Court, adding restrictions to current abortion laws and restrictions on late-term abortions. Trump does not support public funding for abortion. 

Plan for Gun Control

Plan for Gun Control

Biden supports a federal ban on assault weapons, background checks becoming a requirement with every gun purchase and rapid-fire rifles known as bump stocks to be banned. Biden does not support a mandatory program to confiscate guns. Biden would only require assault weapons to be registered by firearm owners. 
Trump does not support banning assault weapons on a federal level, creating mandatory programs to confiscate guns and requiring gun owners to register their guns. Trump supports rapid-fire rifles attachments known as bump stocks to be banned. It is unclear whether or not Trump supports requirements for background checks to be performed for every gun purchase. 

Plan for LGBTQ Rights

Plan for LGBTQ Rights

Biden supports extending anti-discrimination protection for those who identify with the LGBTQ+ community on a federal level and same-sex marriages. Biden does not support banning transgender people from serving in the military.
Trump does not support extending federal anti-discrimination protection for those who identify with the LGBTQ+ community. Trump supports a ban on transgender people from serving in the military. According to the Washington Post, Trump has given mixed messages about whether or not he supports same-sex marriage. 

Venn diagram of Biden’s and Trump’s political stances.
Graphic by Gabrielle Cellucci