The showdown between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, has been heating up for months and despite the coronavirus pandemic, it’s likely to continue all the way into the November general election. But the two have very different visions on policy without even a glimmer of a bipartisan meeting in the middle particularly on issues like healthcare and the COVID-19 response, criminal justice and education.
Before these two go round-for-round on the debate stage later this year, here are just a few comparisons between the two politicians and what they have said they’ve had to say about one another.
Criminal Justice Reform
Biden: Says he wants to reduce the number of people incarcerated in America and reduce crime at the same time, eliminate racial, gender and income-based disparities in the criminal justice system. His plan also includes getting rid of profiteering and focus on redemption and rehabilitation by committing $20 billion in grant money to give states incentive to focus on prevention rather than incarceration.
Trump: He signed the First Step Act into law in 2018, which shortened mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses, aimed at improved conditions in federal prisons and requires them to offer programs that would reduce recidivism. It also retroactively applies the Fair Sentencing Act to more than 3,000 people convicted of crack cocaine offenses.
Biden: Has a list of items he says he will implement on day one of his administration. That includes making free testing widely available, creating surge capacity so that hospitals can handle an increase in coronavirus cases, ensuring personal protective equipment for front line workers, plus proper staffing and making public health decisions the responsibility of public health professionals.
Trump: Rather than health measures, as president Trump has emphasized reopening states that have issued stay-at-home orders, which have created massive unemployment. In March, he signed a $484 billion relief package which includes aid for small businesses. A subsequent $3 trillion package passed the House, but he may well veto it if it gets past the Senate. He has also gotten behind unproven drugs like hydroxychloroquine which has not been clinically determined to be a reliable treatment for coronavirus
Biden: Has come out against for-profit charter schools. “Any charter school system that does not allow for total enrollment... siphons off money for our public schools, which are already in enough trouble,” he said last year. But he also says he wants to provide pre-kindergarten education for all children and eliminate funding gaps between white and nonwhite communities as well as increase teacher diversity.
Trump: Like other Republicans, he iis a strong advocate for school choice. In the 2020 State of the Union address, he urged a plan that would provide tax credits for scholarships to private schools, which was essentially a voucher program. His proposed budgets have also emphasized school choice. That includes $1 billion toward Success Grants for public school choice and $250 million for private school choice through the Education Innovation and Research Program, his campaign website says. He has allowed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican former Trump donor, to dismantle several civil rights protections since she’s been in her role including the federal guideline that allows transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.
The Black Community
Biden: Has an outline of his vision for Black communities that are marginalized, which includes investing more than $70 billion in HBCUs, community redevelopment funds to low-income communities, expanding on Obamacare, and putting $50 billion toward workforce training. Biden has also proposed a plan to forgive student loans for borrowers who went to HBCUs or minority-serving institutions. Finally, he outlined a plan for $1.7 trillion for environmental justice and clean energy along with another $1 trillion to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.
Trump: His campaign doesn’t specify a particular plan for the Black community, but has continued to tout low unemployment figures among African Americans for nearly a year. He has also spoken at length about Opportunity Zones, which were designed to bring investment to poor areas. He has a staffer, Ja’Ron Smith, who helps guide his urban policy and Scott Turner who serves as director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. Trump has also signed an executive order providing $255 million in annual funding for HBCUs which had lapsed when Congress did not renew it.
Photo Credits: Ron Adar / Echoes Wire / Barcroft Media via Getty Images; Drew Angerer/Getty Images