Biden vs. Trump — A partial voting guide, part 2

This is the second op-ed of a 2-part series, focusing on presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The first op-ed examined five major issues confronting the candidates and voters: immigration, abortion, NATO, Ukraine and Israel-Hamas-Gaza.

This meta compare and contrast analysis of 13 additional issues may assist voters come Nov. 5.

Education: USA Today political experts see Trump wanting to give parents more control over local schools, “including the right to elect and fire school principals.” Trump has praised court rulings that target higher education affirmative action programs. Biden’s signature priorities have addressed student loan debt, denounced school book banning and scolded legislative bodies that attack LGBTQIA individual’s rights (April 13).

Climate change: Alan Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve (1994-1996), wrote in his March 28 Wall Street Journal op-ed that Congress and Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act “contains the largest carbon-reduction measures in U.S. history. Donald Trump, by contrast, has called global warming a Chinese hoax.”

Jan. 6, 2020 insurrectionists: Donald Trump has stated that, if elected, he will pardon all of the 1,353 arrested and charged Jan. 6 US Capitol insurrectionists. To which, Karl Rove, GOP strategist, George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff and weekly writer for The Wall Street Journal, called Trump’s pledge a “critical mistake . . . they’re thugs” (The Hill, April 4).

Unemployment and Jobs: During Donald Trump’s era as president, the unemployment rate was 6.4 percent, while it is under four percent during Biden’s term of office (Yahoo Finance, March 17). Manufacturing job growth: 6.5 percent with Biden and 3.4 percent under Trump (Poynter, March 5).

Stock market: Since Biden took office, the S&P stock index has risen 40 percent. At the same point in Trump’s presidential term, the S&P was up just 13 percent (Yahoo Finance, April 1).

National Debt: Biden’s presidency has increased national debt by $4.7 trillion (up 16.67%). During Trump’s reign, the national debt increased by $8.18 trillion (up 40.43%) (Self Financial, Inc.).

Federal deficit: The deficit, the difference between the government’s income and expenses, added $7.8 trillion to the country’s debt during Trump’s presidency and $6.7 trillion under Biden’s leadership (PolitiFact, March 12).

Gross Domestic Product: GDP, a measure of all of the goods and services produced in the country, grew 14 percent during Trump’s presidency compared to 22 percent since Biden took office (Washington Post, Dec. 23, 2023).

Trade policy: Trump wants a 100 percent tariff on imported cars from China and Mexico, 10 percent across the board tariff and 60 percent tariff on Chinese goods. Biden believes in global trade with America’s 1,600 partners and Trump believes in isolationism. (Blinder, Wall Street Journal, March 28).

Tax policy: The Trump tax cuts of 2017 expire in 2025; Trump wants to extend the cuts by 10 years, estimated by the Congressional Research Service to cost about $3.5 trillion. Biden and the Democrats “want to pay for domestic priorities and reduce the budget deficit with higher taxes on the rich and corporations” (Blinder, March 28).

Infrastructure: In 2017 Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure package never got off the ground (New York Times, May 22, 2019). On Nov. 6, 2021, Congress passed Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan-approved Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will add about 1.5 million jobs for each of the next 10 years and address issues like clean water, reliable high-speed internet, roads, bridges, airports, ports, rail, pipelines, power grid and cyber-attacks.

2020 and 2024 elections: Even after 100 percent of America’s 8,000-plus election managers, 61 court cases and Bill Barr — Trump’s attorney general — all concluded the 2020 election results were valid, Trump “insists falsely that the 2020 election was stolen from him” (Blinder, The Wall Street Journal, March 28). Trump has already claimed the 2024 election will be rigged and people should not mail in their ballot, both of which greatly muddles the GOP’s get-out-the-vote effort (Mariah Timms, Wall Street Journal, March 20).

Democracy vs. Authoritarianism: Matthew C. MacWilliams, in his exhaustive research at University of Massachusetts Amherst, has found “41 percent of Americans tend to favor authority, obedience and uniformity over freedom, independence and diversity” (Politico, Sept. 23, 2020). Eighty-two percent of voters are worried about America’s historic democracy (Morning Consult, Sept. 7, 2023). Hence, Biden-Trump’s democracy-authoritarianism posturing is for real.

In this two-part op-ed series comparing and contrasting Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s respective presidential candidacy, 18 issues have been analyzed to give voters a better perspective as to who to vote for in the Nov. 5 election.

Don’t be among the 1/3rd of voters who usually sit out the election–how unpatriotic is that? Vote!


Steve Corbin is a professor emeritus of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa.


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