Justin’s Hot Take on the 2020 Presidential Election: A Year of Pandemonium

VOTE! If you are going to be 18 by November 3rd, then vote! From the presidential race to the local judge races, the decision of these elections will affect you and everyone around you for years to come. You can find information about how to vote in Ohio here and here.

Spread this around! 2020 is one of the weirdest and most unusual years that there has been in a while. We will not know who wins the November 3rd presidential election until days, or weeks later. Again, WE WILL NOT KNOW WHO WINS THE NOVEMBER 3RD ELECTION ON NOVEMBER 3RD. A shocking number of people still expect to know who the next president is by November 3rd, so please double check that any announcements of either side winning are credible and released by the government.

Do not get me wrong. I completely understand the want to not care about it, to let the election go as it will without your input. I am disillusioned that things will change for the better and I am sure you are too, but it is that exact attitude that stops things from ever getting done. For example, state polls of registered and likely voters (compiled by Nate Silver at Fivethirtyeight.com) show a difference between Biden and Trump of three percent! Plus or minus three percent is the acceptable margin of error in professional surveys. It could only take a few thousand, or possibly even a few hundred people staying home and not voting to swing the Ohio electoral college votes. And while you may personally feel like your decision to not vote will not matter, enough people thinking like you do, could cause your less liked candidate to become the President of the nation.

Now onto the reason that you are here, the Presidential election during the catastrophic year of 2020. The two candidates are the incumbent Republican, Donald J. Trump, and the challenging democrat, Joe Biden. Since the debate was so recently, that will be the focus along with a few other aspects of their campaigns.

Vice Presidents:
While not the most important aspect since most Vice Presidents assume the policies of their President after taking charge, it is still important to discuss who these Presidents would want running the nation in their stead.

Trump’s Running Mate: Mike Pence
Mike Pence is a self-described “Christian, Conservative, and a Republican in that order.” He aligns with President Trump in many positions. He has failed to save lives in multiple health crises during his time as governor from an HIV outbreak and a dangerous lead smelting plant. He does not believe in climate change. He is radically anti-LGBTQ, including word choices that allude support of conversion therapy and implying that the LGBTQ community would bring about societal collapse. He is pro-life with hopes to overturn Roe v. Wade. He supports breaching the separation of church and state to teach creationism in schools. And to end on an ironic note, he supported the impeachment of Bill Clinton because of the moral requirements of the Presidency. Mike Pence has a long history of political involvement, so his knowledge about political matters is extensive.

Biden’s Running Mate: Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris is a woman with a history as both a California District and General Attorney as well as a California Senator. On the campaign trail, Kamala notably criticized Biden on being too soft in his own history about fighting segregation and racism in the Senate by opposing reintegration efforts such as bussing. However, Kamala has also received criticism for her time as an attorney enforcing mandatory minimum sentencing, the death penalty, and other laws that she runs opposing. Kamala is pro-choice, yet she has helped cases that exempted a religious hospital from handling abortions as long as adequate resources were provided to the community. Harris seems to ardently fight for civil rights through advocating bussing, affirmative action, and criminal justice reform, even if her history on some positions such as the death penalty shows inconsistencies. She is a late-comer to the legalization of marijuana, but she is there nonetheless. She does support and write bills for gun control in response to the frequent tragedies she has seen committed by people who should not have had guns. She fought for immigrants (DACA and sanctuary cities), net neutrality, the LGBTQ community, the USPS, and affordable housing through Section 4. She supports both Medicare for all and paid parental leave, something lacking in much of the U.S. She certainly has a long track record whether you agree or disagree with some or all of her policies.

Coverage of this debate reached one ultimate conclusion: The people lost this debate. Both candidates showed little to none of their plans for this country, and we, the people, learned little except for further evidence of Trump’s character. And it was a night of Trump’s childish character. While both candidates did interrupt, lie, and hurl insults, it would be frankly dishonest to chide both of them equally. Trump came out of the gate swinging with interruptions with more distraction and more repeatedly than Biden. Trump even interrupted the moderator multiple times before questions were finished. While Biden lied occasionally and avoided some important questions, nearly every statement out Trump’s mouth was not only a lie, but it was also avoiding questions. While Biden called Trump names like “clown” “fool” and other insults, Trump hurled insults at Biden about Biden’s intelligence, Biden’s son being dishonorably discharged (which is not true). While Biden allowed and indulged Trump’s antics, in my opinion, it was ultimately Trump’s childishness that ruined this debate for the American people.

Supreme Court:
Trump: Trump’s argument about the Supreme Court is that the election in 2016 shows and gives Trump the support needed to fill the seat. (He also attacks Democrats for theoretically doing the same thing given the position.) Thus, Amy Cohen Barrett has been sworn in.

Biden: Biden follows a similar argument as Trump; however, he argues that the 2020 election should be a referendum on who the people want on the Supreme Court now instead of who they would have wanted four years ago. Importantly, Biden does dodge a question about his stance on eliminating the senate filibuster and packing the supreme court with more Justices.

Health Care:
Biden: Following in the steps of Chris Wallace’s questions, Biden simply points out that Trump has worked to not protect pre-existing conditions, to not replace Obamacare despite having party control of the government, and to do nothing but sign ineffective executive orders to not lower drug prices.

Trump: Trump touts his removal of the individual mandate, but he fails to answer the question about what he plans to do to replace Obamacare completely. He falsely claims to have cut drug prices through a favored nations clause of an executive order, and then he reverts to attacking Biden for not doing “anything” during his time as VP and Senator.

Trump: Trump attacks Biden for theoretically doing as well (despite the fact that Trump disassembled a pandemic response team installed by the Obama administration). He attacks China for letting it get out, but he never takes responsibility for his handling of it once it got here as he continues attacking Democrats. His response to the question about his large rallies is to say they are outside (not all of them) and to attack Biden for not drawing a crowd. Ironically, he mocks Biden for wearing masks and says that he wears a mask when “needed.” With Trump’s recent diagnosis, this mocking and downplaying of the virus that he has done since it started is just deeply ironic.

Biden: Biden spent his time criticizing Trump’s response to the virus. Trump has had no national plan, said “it is what it is” about COVID deaths, repeatedly and purposefully downplayed the virus, and contradicted his own scientists. Biden claims that because of all of this, the people need to trust scientists and the vaccine, not anything that comes from Trump, the man who as Biden claims, only cares about his own safety.

Biden: Biden claims that Trump inherited a booming economy from Obama which was run into the mud. Biden points out that due to Trump’s economy, the rich have been benefited by tax cuts while the average man suffers from trade wars and do-nothing trade deals. Biden stated plans to tax the wealthy and fortune 500 companies that have been paying basically nothing due to tax loopholes. Biden recognizes that the country has to reopen, but he criticizes Trump for reopening with no federal plan and no resources to help schools open up which has caused more than half of the states to have an uptick in cases.

Trump: Trump was very active in this part of the debate. Trump interrupted several times, claiming that COVID crashed the “greatest economy in history” and that Biden wants to lock back down (which Biden refuted softly). He made an odd claim of fixing the “broken” military. And he reverted to blaming Democrats for politically hurting their cities and states in order to hurt Trump. Trump took a shot at Biden son’s drug addiction and then falsely claimed that another son was dishonorably discharged.

Race in America:
Trump: Trump once again opens not with ideas, but with an attack on his opponent’s record, the crime bill. He then claims that Republicans can handle the fires of unrest better than Democrats, and he states there are no peaceful protestors. Once again for effect, there are no peaceful protestors. While he is saying that for effect, that dangerously blurs the line between the innocent and guilty on streets where people are getting police force used against them. He then makes a litany of incorrect claims and false equivalencies: critical race theory and racial sensitivity are racist (A lens to view history for history majors and empathy are racist is the claim there), Obama had division too, and Obama had worse violence which is just flat out wrong. Obama did have riots for similar reasons, but it had never reached the national level it has under Trump (and that’s mostly not even Trump’s direct fault). And for the most important part of the night, Trump, when asked to condemn white supremacists AGAIN, dodged and danced around the question. He eventually said “Stand back, and stand by,” but if you have noticed that is kind of an endorsement, groups like the Proud Boys did too. It becomes an even further endorsement when Trump says not only that Antifa and the left are the bigger problems, but he also says “someone has to do something.” He says that with no mention of how the government will do anything which implies that vigilantes will have to do it.

Biden: Biden opens with three words: “equality, decency, constitution.” They are platitudes without much meaning behind them, but it is still rhetoric of peace and equality. Biden launches from there with criticisms of President Trump: the clearing of Lafayette Square, the use of racist dog whistles, and a symbolic equivalence of Trump and America’s racism. He then talks about supporting law and order with justice by holding the bad apples of police departments accountable.

And this is a good time to address Trump’s interjections of Biden making statements that lose the radical left. One, the presidential election is either or for the candidates. How would Biden being too soft on the “radical left’s” positions send the “radical left” to the man who demonizes them and their movements? And two, despite Biden’s soft position on some of the left-leaning voter’s consensus, Biden is still endorsing solutions to the problems instead of Trump’s solution of ignoring and silencing the people pointing out a problem.

Law and Order:
Biden: He counters Trump’s suburb scaremongering with a simple statement that this is not the 1950’s. The dog whistles about the suburbs disappearing when African Americans move in is just racist. Biden talks about how the rioting and chaos support Trump’s campaign as the big man who will save America and implies that Trump is not doing as much as he can for his own political gain. Biden again refutes Trump by stating that Biden wants law and order with justice, and that he wants to give the correct tools for the police to do their jobs, like psychiatrists and social workers for calls about mental health and addiction instead of what they are given now.
Trump: Trump claims all the cities in trouble are all Democrat-run, ignoring republican examples. He says that the coast guard could end all of the riots, but he does not talk about the examples where people have been aggravated by federal presence. He scaremongers about the suburbs disappearing and Antifa. He then lies about Biden’s positions while Biden refutes him with lies like Biden supporting Defunding the Police and Biden being unable to say he supports law and order.

Why Vote for me Over the Other Guy:
Trump: While unity was supposedly coming to fruition right before COVID, Trump claims to still have done more than any other President while still fending off Democrat hoaxes at every turn. (He also talks about filling judgeships that Obama left open, but one, those judgeships were blocked from being filled by the Republican senate, and two, I did not think you needed to hear more lies.

Biden: Biden claims that Trump has made America weaker, sicker, and more divided. Something he implies he will fix or at least not make worse.

Climate Change:
Biden: Biden believes climate change is real and a threat. Biden briefly talks about his green plan which he states will create jobs and boost the economy, not tank it. He touts his accomplishment of lowering the price of renewable energy as VP. Biden also criticizes Trump for doing nothing about this which has hurt the economy by constantly having to pour billions of dollars after natural disasters like hurricanes.

Trump: Trump does not believe in climate change. He instead focuses on promoting clean air and water and criticizing California for not cleaning the forest floors. He does say that his relaxed regulations can lower the price of electric and diesel cars to help the economy; however, it does not promote one over the other. He then spends an inordinate amount of time talking about the Green New Deal, a nonbinding piece of legislation that is dead and gone.

Election Security:
Trump: Trump opens with some weird claims. He claims that there was no transition in 2016 due to spying which is just not how the word transition works. He claims that his administration caught the spying and caught Biden’s role in it which is really weird that nothing has been done about it if it is how Trump portrays it. He then moves on to claim that the election will be a fraud because of unsolicited ballots (which just automatically go to REGISTERED voters). Trump says that Democrats cheat in the election without offering any suggestions on how to fix it when asked.

Biden: Biden opens up his time on Election security by giving resources for people to vote. He then rejects that mail-in voting will cause fraud by pointing out that this is not the first time voting by mail or even universal mail-in voting has been done. He points out that Trump votes by mail, and Biden claims that Trump is just afraid of the ballot which is why Trump is rushing to put another justice on the Supreme Court. Biden does tell his supporters to stay peaceful and wait for election results.

While only the Presidential election is covered here, do not forget about down-ballot races! The Presidential race may seem like the exciting action-packed one, but the representative races for both Congress and State Legislature are uncomprehendingly impactful as these are the actual people writing the laws. And there are judgeships up for election in Tuscarawas County as well. While your voice alone may not shift the nation, the absence of your voice along with others who think like you may shift the nation away from what you want.