On the candidates: general election 2020

On the candidates: general election 2020


With the presidential election on the horizon and the political landscape as complex as ever, Spokesman presents the need-to-know information on the candidates so WHS students can cast their ballots with confidence. Keep reading for a brief summary of the candidates. Skip to page 4 for their positions on the issues.

Candidate profiles


President Donald J. Trump (Republican)


Donald Trump is the current President of the United States, running for his second term. Trump won the 2016 election on promises of rebuilding the economy, building a wall on the U.S- Mexico border and cracking down on illegal immigration, and fighting corruption in the federal government. In the first 3 years of his presidency, the U.S experienced its strongest economy in decades, with record-high stock market numbers and record-low unemployment. Whether this is because of Trump’s executive orders cutting regulations on businesses or the tax cuts he signed in or just the natural trend of the economy is unknown. This economy crashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; Trump responded by providing bailouts to major corporations and stimulus checks of $1200+  to American citizens. For his 2020 campaign, Trump’s promises remain similar to 2016, with one notable exception: he has given up on his push for the wall. Instead, he has shifted his focus to reducing burdens allegedly caused by uncodumented immigrants by limiting undocumented immigrants’ access taxpayer-funded resources (like healthcare, free college tuition, welfare, etc.), dismantling human trafficking networks and more.


Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden (Democrat)


Joe Biden was Vice President of the United States under the Barack Obama administration from 2009-2017. Prior to this, he was a Senator for Delaware from 1973-2009. As a senator, Biden built up a record for his tough-on-crime policies in the 1980s and 1990s, his strict gun control stance, and his heavy-handed approach to counter-terrorism measures. Biden was famous for writing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the ‘94 Crime Bill. This bill included greatly expanded use of the death penalty, increased funding for police and prisons and a ban on assault weapons (the ban expired in 2004 and has not been renewed). Recently, Biden has claimed that much of the USA Patriot Act— a post-9/11 bill that allowed massively increased government surveillance in the name of counter-terrorism— was ripped from the counter-terrorism bill he drafted six years prior. For his 2020 campaign, Biden’s top priority is defeating Donald Trump and acting as a transition president for younger, more progressive Democrats. Whether he plans to run for reelection in 2024 if he wins in 2020 is unclear, as he has been on record saying he will and will not. In office, he plans to massively increase funding for public schools and police, reinforce the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), and increase border security without building a wall, fence or other barrier.


Dr. Joanne M. Jorgensen (Libertarian)


Jo Jorgensen is one of two third-party candidates to consistently poll above 1%, earning her a spot here alongside the Democratic and Republican nominees. Jorgensen has worked as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Clemson University since 2006 and is an activist in her free time; she has never held political office. As a Libertarian, she takes stances that are more right-wing on economics than Republicans and more liberal on social issues than Democrats, making them an appealing choice for voters who want free markets and free people. For example, Jorgensen has been critical of President Trump’s tariffs, arguing that they create a financial burden on average consumers. She also opposes economic sanctions, embargoes and foreign aid that both parties have shown support for. Her stance on police reform is more progressive than either major candidate, as she supports ending qualified immunity and demilitarizing the police. Her top priorities are ending construction on Trump’s border wall, bringing home all troops deployed in foreign countries, decriminalizing all drugs, and replacing Social Security with individual retirement accounts. She has also emphasized her importance as a female candidate in a race where both major candidates are men who’ve faced sexual assault allegations.


Howard G. Hawkins (Green)


The second, lower polling third-party candidate to poll above 1% is Howie Hawkins: the nominee for the Green Party and the party’s founder. Hawkins has unsuccessfully ran for office 24 times while holding down a job as a construction worker. He has also done work as a trade unionist. Hawkins’ policies may seem very familiar, as Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexadria Ocasio-Cortez have popularized them. While the policies these politicians stand for are often seen as too radical for the moderate Democratic Party, they’re the norm within the Green Party. Hawkins is the earliest known supporter of the environmental action policy known as the Green New Deal. His version of the Green New Deal would cost $42 trillion over 10 years in an effort to transition to 100% clean energy by 2030. Hawkins also supports cutting down the military as much as possible; this includes withdrawing from foreign wars, cutting the military budget by 75% and working on treaties to prohibit use of nuclear weapons. Hawkins’ other top priorities include a $20 minimum wage, Medicare For All, completely opening the borders, and transitioning from capitalism to socialism.

On the issues:




Taxes on the rich Federal minimum wage Corporate taxes and bailouts Welfare COVID-19 Economic Recovery Social Security
Trump Lower Maintain or raise slightly Lower taxes; increase bailouts Cut spending; increase restrictions; ban for undocumented immigrants Loans to small businesses; stimulus checks; put money into stock market Cut funding by eliminating payroll tax
Biden Raise them and tax capital gains Increase to $15 Raise taxes; decrease bailouts Increase spending; increase restrictions Slowly reopen economy; create 100k+ public health jobs; paid leave for sick workers Increase disability & survivor benefits; raise cap on payroll tax to increase funding
Jorgensen Lower Abolish minimum wage Lower taxes; decrease bailouts Cut spending; grow economy instead Cut corporate relief; allow citizens to keep more money by cutting taxes Push Congress to end Social Security; provide individual retirement accounts instead
Hawkins Raise; raise death tax; tax capital gains; create wealth tax Increase to $20 Raise taxes; decrease bailouts Livable universal income; reparations for African- Americans Loans to small businesses; stimulus checks; rent freeze Double benefits; remove payroll tax cap


Domestic Policy


Gun policy Abortion policy Drug rehabilitation Gay rights Transgender rights Veterans’ Affairs
Trump Increase background checks & red-flag laws; arm school teachers Make it harder to get one; decrease federal protections Fund addiction treatment, research, and rehab Supports same-sex marriage, but rolled back sexual oreintation as part of the Civil Rights Act Banned transgender people from military service; legalized anti-trans descrimination Expand health care choice for veterans
Biden Background checks; ban semi-auto rifles and assault weapons; increase restrictions; ban online gun sales Pro-choice; fight state-level abortion restrictions; increase Planned Parenthood funding Fund substance abuse treatment through Obamacare Non-straight people deserve the same rights as straight people Protect trans rights and restore trans anti-discrimination laws Expand health care to select veterans; provide job opportunities
Jorgensen No additional restrictions; don’t allow victims of gun violence to sue manufacturers No regulations, no subsidies Allow greater access to treatment by decriminalizing drugs Non-straight people deserve the same rights as straight people Protect trans rights and restore trans anti-discrimination laws Dismantle VA; rebuild to provide direct payments to use on health care
Hawkins Background checks; ban assault weapons; increase restrictions, require licensing; close gun show loophole Pro-choice; increase access to birth control and sex education Treat drug use as a health problem, not a crime; on-demand drug treatment Non-straight people deserve the same rights as straight people Protect trans rights and restore trans anti-discrimination laws Include veteran health care under Medicare for All

Criminal Justice


Police reform Death penalty Marijuana possession Prison reform Prostitution & Sex Work
Trump Incentivise local PD to better deescalation training & send mental health professions to crises Supports Continue prohibition on federal level; allow states to decide for themselves Promote prisoner rehab; expand post-prison opportunities No official stance
Biden Increase funding for hiring and training Opposes Decriminalize; send possessors to rehab; end minimum sentencing for drugs End for-profit prisons; expand post-prison opportunities No official stance
Jorgensen Demilitarize police; ban no-knock raids; end qualified immunity Opposes Decriminalize all drugs; release all nonviolent drug offenders End punishment for victimless crimes and release all offenders; end minimum sentencing Legalize sex work and provide workers equal protections and rights
Hawkins Federal investigation of police misconduct; community control of police Opposes Decriminalize marijuana and “hard drugs” Ban for-profit prisons; prohibit construction of new prisons; end minimum sentencing Legalize sex work and provide workers equal protections and rights


Foreign Policy


Withdrawal of troops Nuclear disarmament Military budget Tariffs, sanctions, & foreign aid Counter-terrorism
Trump Withdraw from Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan Build up nuclear arsenal Increase Supports all Border security, travel bans, and intel sharing with NATO
Biden Keep small forces throughout Middle East Disarm only as part of an international treaty Unlikely to decrease; may increase Supports all Maintain presence in the Middle East; continue mass surveillance 
Jorgensen Withdraw from all foreign wars No official stance Cut unnecessary spending End all foreign involvement; stay totally neutral Repeal Patriot Act, TSA, and NSA spying privileges
Hawkins Withdraw from all foreign wars Ban nuclear weapons Reduce by 75% Supports sanctions and foreign aid Monitor white racist terrorists and end warrantless mass surveillance




Border security Sanctuary cities DACA Immigration quotas + requirements Deportation ICE & detention centers
Trump Massively expand border security Cut federal funding Reject new applicants while considering repeal Limit asylum seekers; require background checks; incentivize skilled workers Deport undocumented gang members and violent criminals Expand power of ICE and use of detention centers
Biden Massively expand border security and aid countries with many emigrants  Maintain funding Supports Expand acceptance of asylum seekers Previously supported mass deportation; current stance unclear Keep stays in detention centers brief
Jorgensen Open borders No official stance N/A (no immigration is illegal) Allow all immigrants Deportation for serious crimes Abolish ICE; end detention centers
Hawkins Open borders Expand rules of sanctuary cities nationwide N/A (no immigration is illegal) Allow all immigrants No deportation Abolish ICE; end detention centers




College tuition + debt forgiveness Affirmative Action Public school funding + teacher salaries School choice Universal preschool
Trump Debt payment program with forgiveness after 15 or 30 yrs End affirmative action Cut funding to public schools Use taxpayer-funded vouchers to help families pay for private school Opposes
Biden Make college free for families making <$125k; invest in community college; debt payment program with forgiveness after 20 yrs Expand affirmative action Increase funding to public schools & negotiate higher salaries for public school teachers Opposes taxpayer-funded private school vouchers Supports
Jorgensen Allow renegotiations of student loan debt in bankruptcy; keep government out of loans No official stance No official stance, but wants to expand private schools in place of public schools Supports use of private school vouchers to replace public school Opposes
Hawkins Government- funded college for all; forgive all student loan debt Greatly expand affirmative action Increase school funding Ban taxpayer-funded private school vouchers Supports government- funded preschool through college




Climate action  Paris Climate Agreement Green New Deal Disposable plastics Fracking Alternative energy
Trump None. Claims climate change is a myth Remain out of agreement Opposes No restrictions Massively expand Stifle wind power; expand nuclear energy
Biden Invest in clean energy and tax carbon emissions Rejoin Mostly supports Phase out plastic bags Decrease use but do not ban Invest in wind and solar power to eventually replace fossil fuels
Jorgensen End government energy subsidies to spark innovation; shift to nuclear power Remain out of agreement Opposes No restrictions Decrease use but do not ban Pursue nuclear energy to eventually replace fossil fuels
Hawkins Tax carbon emissions; ban fossil fuels; reimagine transportation Rejoin Supports; co-authored Ban all disposable plastics Fully ban Ban fossil fuels and use wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro power



Mail-in ballots Felon voting rights Undocumented immigrant voting rights Electoral College Minimum voting age Ranked- choice voting
Trump Claims they permit voter fraud; limit access Opposes Opposes Supports Maintain No official stance
Biden Fully supports Supports No official stance Supports No official statement No official stance
Jorgensen No official stance Supports Supports, if they pay taxes Supports Voting rights for anyone that pays taxes Supports
Hawkins Universal mail-in ballots Supports Supports Opposes No official statement Supports


Public Health


Healthcare plan Mask requirement COVID-19 response Insurance for pre-existing conditions
Trump Repeal Obamacare No requirement Try to finish vaccine by 2021 Coverage required
Biden Reinforce Obamacare Mask requirement whenever in public Make testing and protective equipment accessible & free Coverage required
Jorgensen Fully privatize; competition will lower prices  Allow  private businesses to make their own decision Make testing and protective equipment accessible & free; allow return to work if test is negative No requirement
Hawkins Medicare For All Mask requirement whenever in public Make testing and protective equipment accessible & free; contact tracing and strict quarantine Coverage required