The United States will hold its 59th presidential election on November 3, 2020. Incumbent President Donald Trump (R) is running for re-election. The winner of the 2020 presidential election will be sworn into office on January 20, 2021. The presidential primaries and caucuses were held between February and August 2020, staggered among the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories. On April 8, former vice president Joe Biden became the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. The general election is scheduled to be held on November 3. The U.S. Congress is then scheduled to certify the electoral result on January 5, 2021, and the new or incumbent president and vice president will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021.
The presidential candidates
Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States in 58th presidential elections in 2016. He was born and raised in Queens, a town in New York City. He attended Fordham University for two years and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He became president of his father’s real-estate business in 1971, renamed it The Trump Organization, and expanded its operations to building or renovating skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. Trump later started various side ventures, mostly by licensing his name. Trump and his businesses have been involved in more than 4,000 state and federal legal actions, including six bankruptcies. He owned the Miss Universe brand of beauty pageants from 1996 to 2015. He produced and hosted The Apprentice, a reality television series, from 2003 to 2015. Trump’s political positions have been described as populist, protectionist, and nationalist. He entered the 2016 presidential race as a Republican and was elected in a surprise victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, although he lost the popular vote. He became the oldest first-term U.S. president, and the first without prior military or government service. His election and policies have sparked numerous protests. Trump has been alleged to have made many false or misleading statements during his campaign and presidency. The statements have been documented by fact-checkers, and the media have widely described the phenomenon as unprecedented in American politics. Many of his comments and actions have been characterized as racially charged or racist.
During his presidency, Trump ordered a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, citing security concerns; after legal challenges, the Supreme Court upheld the policy’s third revision. He enacted a tax-cut package for individuals and businesses, rescinding the individual health insurance mandate penalty. He appointed Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In foreign policy, Trump has pursued an America First agenda, withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Iran nuclear deal. He imposed import tariffs which triggered a trade war with China, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and withdrew U.S. troops from northern Syria. Trump met three times with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, but talks on denuclearization broke down in 2019. Trump reacted slowly to the COVID-19 pandemic; he minimized the threat, ignored or contradicted many recommendations from health officials, and promoted false information about unproven treatments and the availability of testing. He is seeking a second term as the Republican nominee in the 2020 presidential election.
As of April 2020, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $2.1 billion.In 2019 Trump became only the third president in U.S. history (after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998) to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. He was also the first president to be impeached during his first term of office.
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. ( born November 20, 1942) is a democrat politician who served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. He served as a United States Senator for Delaware from 1973 to 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, Biden is the Democratic presidential nominee for the 2020 election, running against the incumbent, Donald Trump. Biden unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008.
Biden was raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and New Castle County, Delaware. He studied at the University of Delaware before receiving his law degree from Syracuse University. He became a lawyer in 1969 and was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970. He was elected to the U.S. Senate from Delaware in 1972, becoming the sixth-youngest senator in American history. Biden was a longtime member and eventually chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Biden was reelected six times to the U.S. Senate and was the fourth-most senior senator when he resigned after winning the vice presidency alongside Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. Obama and Biden were reelected in 2012.
Biden was a longtime member and eventually chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He opposed the Gulf War in 1991 but supported the expansion of the NATO alliance into Eastern Europe and its intervention in the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. He supported the resolution authorizing the Iraq War in 2002 but opposed the surge of U.S. troops in 2007. He also served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1987 to 1995, dealing with issues related to drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties. Biden led the efforts to pass the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Violence Against Women Act, and oversaw the contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.
As Vice President, Biden oversaw infrastructure spending in 2009 to counteract the Great Recession. His negotiations with congressional Republicans helped the Obama administration pass legislation including the 2010 Tax Relief Act, which resolved a taxation deadlock; the Budget Control Act of 2011, which resolved a debt ceiling crisis; and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which addressed the impending fiscal cliff. In foreign policy, Biden led the efforts to pass the United States–Russia New START treaty; supported military intervention in Libya, and helped formulate U.S. policy toward Iraq through the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011. Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Biden led the Gun Violence Task Force, created to address the causes of gun violence in the United States.
Vice Presidential Candidates
Michael Richard Pence (born June 7, 1959) is an American politician and attorney serving as the 48th and current vice president of the United States, since 2017. He previously was the 50th governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017 and a member of the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013.
Pence was born and raised in Columbus, Indiana, and is the younger brother of U.S. representative Greg Pence. He graduated from Hanover College and earned a law degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law before entering private practice. After losing two bids for a congressional seat in 1988 and 1990, he became a conservative radio and television talk show host from 1994 to 1999. Pence was elected to the United States Congress in 2000 and represented Indiana’s 2nd congressional district and Indiana’s 6th congressional district in the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013. He served as the chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2009 to 2011. Pence described himself as a “principled conservative” and supporter of the Tea Party movement, stating that he was “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”
Pence successfully sought the Republican nomination for the 2012 Indiana gubernatorial election when term-limited Mitch Daniels retired. He defeated former Indiana House speaker John R. Gregg in the closest gubernatorial election in 50 years. Upon becoming governor in January 2013, Pence initiated the largest tax cut in Indiana’s history and pushed for more funding for education initiatives. Pence signed bills intended to restrict abortions, including one that prohibited abortions if the reason for the procedure was the fetus’s race, gender, or disability. After Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), he encountered fierce resistance from moderate members of his party, the business community, and LGBT advocates. The backlash against the RFRA led Pence to amend the bill to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and other criteria.
Pence withdrew his gubernatorial reelection campaign in July 2016 to become the running mate of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who went on to win the 2016 presidential election. He was inaugurated as vice president of the United States on January 20, 2017. In February 2020, Pence was appointed chairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
Kamala Devi Harris ( born October 20, 1964) is an American politician and lawyer who has served as the junior United States senator from California since 2017. She is the Democratic vice presidential nominee for the 2020 election.
Born in Oakland, California, Harris graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, before being recruited to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later the City Attorney of San Francisco’s office. In 2003, she was elected district attorney of San Francisco. She was elected attorney general of California in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.
She defeated Loretta Sanchez in the 2016 Senate election to become the second African-American woman and the first South Asian American to serve in the United States Senate. As a senator, she has advocated for healthcare reform, federal descheduling of cannabis, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the DREAM Act, a ban on assault weapons, and progressive tax reform. She gained a national profile for her pointed questioning of Trump administration officials during Senate hearings.
Harris ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and attracted national attention before ending her campaign on December 3, 2019. She was announced as former vice president Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 election on August 11, 2020. She is the first African-American, the first Asian-American and the third female vice presidential running mate on a major party ticket after Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin.
Harris was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a biologist whose work on the progesterone receptor gene stimulated work in breast cancer research, had arrived in the U.S. from India in 1958 as a 19-year-old graduate student in nutrition and endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley; Gopalan received her PhD in 1964. Her father, Donald J. Harris, is a Stanford University professor emeritus of economics, who arrived in the U.S. from British Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study at UC Berkeley, receiving a PhD in economics in 1966.
After high school, Harris attended Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C. While at Howard, she interned as a mail room clerk for California senator Alan Cranston, chaired the economics society, led the debate team and joined Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Harris graduated from Howard in 1986 with a degree in political science and economics.
Harris then returned to California to attend law school at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. While at UC Hastings, she served as president of its chapter of the Black Law Students Association. She graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1989 and was admitted to the California Bar in June 1990.
Major issues in 2020 US Election
Donald Trump’s campaign website says, “President Trump is unleashing economic growth and jobs. Since his election, the Trump administration’s pro-growth policies have generated 6 million new jobs, the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point in 50 years, and wages have grown at more than 3% for 10 months in a row. Under President Trump’s leadership, Congress passed historic tax cuts and relief for hard-working Americans. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has soared under President Trump, topping 3% in 4 quarters under his administration.”
Joe Biden’s campaign website list the following four pillars of his Build Back Better economic recovery plan: Mobilize American manufacturing and innovation to ensure that the future is made in America, and in all of America. Mobilize American ingenuity to build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future. Mobilize American talent and heart to build a 21st century caregiving and education workforce which will help ease the burden of care for working parents, especially women. Mobilize across the board to advance racial equity in America.”
His website continues, “We’ve seen millions of American workers put their lives and health on the line to keep our country going. As Biden has said, let’s not just praise them, let’s pay them — a decent wage, at least $15 per hour, and ending the tipped minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities, and strong benefits so they can live a middle class life and provide opportunity for their kids.”
Trade and tariff
Donald Trump’s campaign website says, “President Trump has kept his promise to crack down on trade cheaters and to promote fairer and equal trade for all Americans. In his first year in office, President Trump took action to protect America’s critical steel and aluminum industries, which were harmed by unfair trade practices and global excess capacity. One of President Trump’s first actions was to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, advancing his agenda to protect American workers. The Trump Administration successfully litigated WTO disputes targeting unfair trade practices and protected our right to enact fair trade laws.”
Joe Biden’s campaign website says, “The goal of every decision about trade must be to build the American middle class, create jobs, raise wages, and strengthen communities. To stand up for American workers, Biden’s tax and trade strategy will take a number of steps, including: Take aggressive trade enforcement actions against China or any other country seeking to undercut American manufacturing through unfair practices. Rally our allies in a coordinated effort to pressure the Chinese government and other trade abusers to follow the rules and hold them to account when they do not. Confront foreign efforts to steal American intellectual property. Apply a carbon adjustment fee against countries that are failing to meet their climate and environmental obligations. Support strong and independent trade unions here in the United States and in every one of our trading partners.”
Donald Trump’s campaign website says, “President Trump has gone around the globe working to restore America’s prominence in global diplomacy. South Korea and Japan pledged to build closer defense collaboration with the United States, and the President underscored the commitment of the United States to providing advanced military equipment. In Saudi Arabia, President Trump pushed for a coalition of nations to confront Iran and attended the opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. President Trump followed through on his promise and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and directed the relocation of the U.S. Embassy. Under President Trump, the United States has worked tirelessly to combat extremism and stick up for religious minorities.”
Joe Biden’s campaign website lists the following foreign policy goals: “Defend our Vital Interests: As president, Biden will never hesitate to protect the American people, including when necessary, by using force. We have the strongest military in the world—and as president, Biden will ensure it stays that way. End Forever Wars: Biden will end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, which have cost us untold blood and treasure. Elevate Diplomacy: As president, Biden will elevate diplomacy as the premier tool of our global engagement. He will rebuild a modern, agile U.S. Department of State—investing in and re-empowering the finest diplomatic corps in the world and leveraging the full talent and richness of America’s diversity. Restore and Reimagine Partnerships: A Biden administration will do more than restore our historic partnerships; it will lead the effort to reimagine them for the future. Renew our Commitment to Arms Control for a New Era Rally the World to Address the Existential Climate Crisis: The Biden administration will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord on day one and lead a major diplomatic push to raise the ambitions of countries’ climate targets.
Donald Trump’s campaign website lists the following policies towards China: “President Trump agreed to a phase one trade deal with China that included a strong enforcement mechanism. Imposed tariffs on China in response to its abusive trade practices. President Trump met with representatives from the People’s Republic of China where he underscored his commitment to securing a fair trade deal protecting American goods and intellectual property.”
Joe Biden’s campaign website says, “To win the competition for the future against China or anyone else, we must sharpen our innovative edge and unite the economic might of democracies around the world to counter abusive economic practices. Lock in enforceable commitments that will reduce emissions in global shipping and aviation—and pursue strong measures to make sure other nations can’t undercut us economically as we meet our own commitments. This includes pressuring China—the world’s largest emitter of carbon—to stop subsidizing coal exports and outsourcing their pollution to other countries by financing billions of dollars of dirty fossil-fuel energy projects through their Belt and Road Initiative.”
Gun Rights and gun control
Donald Trump’s campaign website says, “The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states.”
Joe Biden’s campaign website says, “As president, Biden will pursue constitutional, common-sense gun safety policies. Biden will: Hold gun manufacturers accountable. Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Buy back the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already in our communities. Reduce stockpiling of weapons. Require background checks for all gun sales. Create an effective program to ensure individuals who become prohibited from possessing firearms relinquish their weapons. Give states incentives to set up gun licensing programs.”
Biden’s campaign website also says he will, “Establish a new Task Force on Online Harassment and Abuse to focus on the connection between mass shootings, online harassment, extremism, and violence against women. Put America on the path to ensuring that 100% of firearms sold in America are smart guns. Prioritize prosecution of straw purchasers. Dedicate the brightest scientific minds to solving the gun violence public health epidemic. Prohibit the use of federal funds to arm or train educators to discharge firearms. Address the epidemic of suicides by firearms.”
Donald Trump’s campaign website says, “President Trump’s proposed budgets have made school choice a priority. The Trump Administration successfully implemented the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to empower states with the flexibility they need to educate their students. The Trump Administration implemented the year-round distribution of Pell grants, instead of limiting these grants to the spring and fall semesters. The Trump Administration brought in financial experts to modernize the way FSA offers and services student loans.”
Joe Biden’s campaign website lists the following five education goals: “Support our educators by giving them the pay and dignity they deserve. Invest in resources for our schools so students grow into physically and emotionally healthy adults, and educators can focus on teaching. Ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability. Provide every middle and high school student a path to a successful career. Start investing in our children at birth.”
Biden’s website continues: “Invest in our schools to eliminate the funding gap between white and non-white districts, and rich and poor districts. Improve teacher diversity. Make sure children with disabilities have the support to succeed. Create more opportunities for high school students to take practical classes that lead to credentials.”
Donald Trump’s campaign website says, “President Trump has enforced immigration laws to protect American communities and American jobs. Upon entering office, President Trump called on Congress to fully fund a wall along the Southern border, to close legal loopholes that enable illegal immigration, to end chain migration, and to eliminate the visa lottery program. Under President Trump’s leadership, the Department of Homeland Security took action to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in an orderly fashion, following the assessment of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that DACA lacks legal authorization. The Department of Homeland Security launched the office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE). The President released his immigration reform proposal which calls for the transition to a merit-based immigration plan.” Joe Biden’s campaign website says he will adopt some of the following immigration enforcement policies in his first 100 days in office: “Immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border. End Trump’s detrimental asylum policies. End the mismanagement of the asylum system, which fuels violence and chaos at the border. Surge humanitarian resources to the border and foster public-private initiatives. End prolonged detention and reinvest in a case management program. Reverse Trump’s public charge rule. End the so-called National Emergency that siphons federal dollars from the Department of Defense to build a wall. Protect Dreamers and their families. Order an immediate review of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for vulnerable populations who cannot find safety in their countries ripped apart by violence or disaster.”
Donald Trump’s campaign website says, “President Trump has worked to improve access to affordable quality health care. 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. President Trump signed a six-year extension of CHIP to fund healthcare for 9 million. President Trump has mobilized his entire administration to address drug addiction and opioid abuse by declaring the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency.”
Joe Biden proposes protecting and building on the Affordable Care Act instead of switching to a Medicare for All system. Biden’s campaign website says about the Affordable Care Act: “Because of Obamacare, over 100 million people no longer have to worry that an insurance company will deny coverage or charge higher premiums just because they have a pre-existing condition – whether cancer or diabetes or heart disease or a mental health challenge. Insurance companies can no longer set annual or lifetime limits on coverage. Roughly 20 million additional Americans obtained the peace of mind that comes with health insurance. Young people who are in transition from school to a job have the option to stay covered by their parents’ plan until age 26. But, every day over the past nine years, the Affordable Care Act has been under relentless attack. As president, Biden will protect the Affordable Care Act from these continued attacks. He opposes every effort to get rid of this historic law – including efforts by Republicans, and efforts by Democrats. Instead of starting from scratch and getting rid of private insurance, he has a plan to build on the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs, and making our health care system less complex to navigate.” Biden also wrote in a Medium post that he would lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60.
Donald Trump’s views on climate change appear contradictory – and confusing. He has called climate change “mythical”, “nonexistent”, or “an expensive hoax” – but also subsequently described it as a “serious subject” that is “very important to me”. The president’s views are essentially unchanged from 2016. He has alternated between calling climate change a “hoax” and acknowledging its existence. He has insisted that he’s an environmental champion for whom climate change is “very important.” Yet he has attacked energy-efficient lightbulbs, claimed — with no evidence — that windmills cause cancer and aggressively promoted policies that would allow more planet-warming pollution.
Joe Bidden’s $1.7 trillion “Clean Energy Revolution” climate plan on his campaign’s website advocates to pursue five key goals including ensuring the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050; making a historic investment of $400 billion over 10 years in energy and climate research and innovation, as well as clean and resilient infrastructure and communities; recommitting the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change and lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets; standing up to the abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities; and fulfilling the obligation to workers and communities who powered our industrial revolution and subsequent decades of economic growth.
Biden’s plans to tackle climate change have become more ambitious over the course of the campaign as he has worked to win the support of climate activists, young people and voters who backed his former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Biden has promised to scrap all of Trump’s environmental rollbacks and set a firm deadline for moving the nation to net zero emissions. For the former vice president, global warming is an era-defining challenge, and combating it is an economic opportunity.
Donald Trump’s campaign website says, “The President has kept the promises he made in 2016 to the pro-life community and has delivered unprecedented victories for the pro-life movement: He took executive action to stop taxpayer money from flowing to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion business in the country. He reinstated and expanded the ban on Americans’ tax dollars paying for abortions in foreign countries. He is standing with the Catholic nuns known as the Little Sisters of the Poor, defending them from Obama-era regulations forcing them to violate their religious beliefs by providing health insurance that covers abortifacients.”
Joe Biden’s campaign website says, “As president, Biden will work to codify Roe v. Wade, and his Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate the constitutional right to an abortion, such as so-called TRAP laws, parental notification requirements, mandatory waiting periods, and ultrasound requirements. Biden will reissue guidance specifying that states cannot refuse Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and other providers that refer for abortions or provide related information and reverse the Trump Administration’s rule preventing Planned Parenthood and certain other family planning programs from obtaining Title X funds. Biden will rescind the Mexico City Policy (also referred to as the global gag rule) that President Trump reinstated and expanded.”