Political précis: points to know for upcoming presidential election


Photo accessed via Google Images under the Creative Commons License.

Although voting may take different forms this year to accommodate COVID-19 regulations, the democratic responsibility to vote remains the same!

The 2020 presidential election is just weeks away; with the misinformation and bias that often surround the topic of politics, it is important for students to accurately understand the platforms of each candidate and the ways that they can become politically educated and involved. 

For the 2020 election, President Trump is the Republican candidate, running with Vice President Pence for a second term. While the Republican platform stands for many policies, some key points that Trump plans to pursue are listed below.

  • Hopes to restart the economy and ensure that it thrives despite the continuing COVID-19 pandemic
  • Wants to ensure the safety and prosperity of all Americans, supporting immigration policies that restore the rule of law and secure our border 
  • Plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and block grant Medicaid, replacing them with a robust consumer market and a health care approach based on genuine competition, patient choice, excellent care, and timely access to treatment
  • Continues to reject the Paris Climate Agreement in order to focus on American industry

The Democratic nominee this year is Joe Biden, and he is running alongside the vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. This year, the Democratic platform starkly contrasts that of the Republicans, as seen in some policies below.

  • Hopes to combat the pandemic with a comprehensive plan that would provide free public testing and rapid deployment of supplies, while still maintaining economic measures such as emergency paid leave and local emergency funds
  • Proposes systemic investments to ensure racial equity, and respects immigrants and their pathways to citizenship
  • Believes everyone should have access to healthcare, and plans to incentivize states to expand Medicaid
  • Plans to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, putting the United States back in a position of global leadership

After analyzing these platforms, it is clear that the political divide between Democrats and Republicans is strong this year. 

Mr. Schwab, teacher of economics and government, commented on the division, saying, “The current political divide definitely has an impact on the election. Americans seem to have very different opinions on what is best for the country.”

Because of these differences in opinion and the presence of 24-hour news and social media inflating these opinions, Schwab encourages students to learn how the government works and get information from a variety of media. 

“If you believe you are of a liberal leaning, check out Fox news and see what they are saying and how they are reporting news. If you are a conservative-minded individual, I would say look at some of the more liberal-leaning news outlets…Stop reading one news site and take that as truth. You should look at all the views and think for yourself,” Schwab suggested, regarding how students can form educated political opinions. 

Once students feel that they have properly analyzed the issues that are present in the country, the solutions that are possible, and the leaders that can accomplish the change that is required, it is important to get involved in any possible way. 

For students who are currently 18, voting in the upcoming presidential election is a powerful way to directly exercise democratic rights. However, students do not have to be 18 to participate in our democracy. Volunteering for campaigns, writing letters to congress people and senators, and even going to school board meetings are all ways that students can have their voices heard. 

In a parting piece of wisdom, Schwab encouraged students, “If you want to have your voice heard, then get out there and speak.”