by Dylan Sondike ‘24
President Donald Trump and his opponent in the 2020 election, former vice president Joe Biden, have completely different views on all aspects of the Coronavirus Pandemic, including the arrival of the virus in the United States, the seriousness of it, how it should be handled, and a national strategy for testing and treatment. As almost 220,000 Americans have died and are still counting, the American people seek answers.
On January 22 President Trump stated that there was one coronavirus case in the United States, but there was nothing to worry about. Throughout February and March, the President continued to downplay the virus. Meanwhile, 216,000 people have died by October 16. He also continued to express that masks should be optional. Although Trump originally promoted social distancing by the end of April, the administration did not extend social distancing guidelines. Regarding a vaccine and distribution plan, he claimed in September that it would be ready very soon and possibly before the November 3 election. He also hopes to have 300 million vaccine doses distributed by the end of the year. At recent campaign rallies, he has argued that if he had listened to the scientists more often, there would have been an economic great depression.
Former vice president Joe Biden often states that the president should take Covid 19 more seriously. On January 27 with five cases of Covid-19 in the United States, the former Vice President claimed there would be a lot more and that this threat shouldn’t be taken lightly. When asked about what he would do differently, Biden has said that he would listen to public health officials before making any major decisions and that social distancing and hand-washing are extremely crucial to containing the virus. He also said if he were President he would create a mask mandate in public spaces throughout the country. The former Vice President has constantly stated that there haven’t been enough tests distributed throughout the United States and if he was in the White House he would make sure to fix this problem immediately by deploying rapid testing capacity. Biden also said he would not take the President’s word for a safe and reliable coronavirus vaccine and will instead trust the scientists and public health experts as he believes this shouldn’t be politicized.
by Lauren Hill ‘22
For at least 30 years, the changing climate has been a trending topic of discussion. With unprecedented numbers of animal extinctions, forest fires, droughts, severe storms and rising sea levels, many people believe that climate change is the most pressing issue facing humans in 2020. President Donald Trump has denied and downplayed the science behind climate change, even going as far as calling it a “hoax” in 2014. Trump has since made statements acknowledging that human activity has affected the climate. However, since taking office President Trump has reversed 66 regulations relating to environmental and climate protections, according to The New York Times. The Trump administration has effectively defunded clean energy programs and weakened rules for limiting methane emissions from cars and power plants. Trump also formally began the process of withdrawing the U.S from the Paris climate agreement, which was an agreement between many countries to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, President Donald Trump has not proposed a clear plan for action to stop climate change if re-elected. However, he adamantly opposes the Green New Deal, as well as any other plan that would be expensive for the United States. The administration has said that policies must balance environmental protection with economic growth.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has long been a supporter of policies to minimize the effects of climate change. In 1986 Biden introduced the first climate change bill in the Senate, and also called fighting climate change, “the single most important thing” he could do as Vice President. Unlike President Trump, Biden has publicly supported the Paris climate agreement and has proposed a detailed plan to combat the changing climate. His $1.7 trillion plan set a goal to decrease carbon emissions, create new sources of clean energy, and build infrastructure that is less reliant on fossil fuels. Most of this plan would require the agreement of Congress, which may be a roadblock to enacting the plan. Trump and his supporters have characterized Biden’s plans as a far-left, overly ambitious plan.
Racism and Racial Justice
by Hailey Sepulvado ‘22
This summer rocked the country for many reasons, primarily the reckoning on race and racial justice. On May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, George Floyd was unjustly killed by a law enforcement officer who kneeled on Mr. Floyd’s neck, impeding his ability to breathe and causing his death. This event resulted in a re-emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement and others like it. Peaceful protests historically emerged in every one of the fifty states of America; however, riots also resulted in fires, boarded-up buildings, and more death and injury. While racial injustice and systematic racism have always been a topic of conversation, something was different. This time it was not in the headlines for a week and disappeared to make room for the next big story. The topic took hold and continues to be an ongoing conversation occurring in every corner of the country, with varying demographics. With the 2020 election right around the corner President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have a lot to say about the movement; to say their opinions differ would be the understatement of this unprecedented year.
President Trump does not have a compellingly positive record when it comes to gaining support from the African American community, which means that his response to this movement is imperative to earning a second term as president. A few days after George Floyd was killed, Trump tweeted his usual form of communicating with the public, a message to the protesters characterizing them as “thugs,” failing to distinguish peaceful protests from rioters, and threatening them with bullets if the protests did not cease. Twitter then took unprecedented action in concealing his tweet from the public for glorifying violence. This was just one instance in a sea of many where Trump did not approve of the protests taking place around the country. He called for multiple state’s National Guard to intervene in peaceful protests and tear-gassed a group of protesters to clear the way for a photoshoot of himself outside of St. John’s Church in D.C, which the Reverend of the same church later condemned. Continuing with Trump’s approach to combating the racial reckoning taking place, he unapologetically misinterpreted the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement by calling it a “symbol of hate.” This appeared to convey to Black people all across the country that their lives do not matter and suggests that they spew hatred onto others. While visiting Kenosha, Wisconsin, the city where Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by a police officer, Trump denied that systematic racism still exists in the United States. This may be his most concrete answer to any question or scenario regarding the issue of race in this country and confirms President Trump’s stance on this critical issue. Trump has not said what he will specifically do to better the African American Community in America.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s statements regarding race and racial justice appear to be the opposite tone and belief of President Trump’s. Biden believes that racism is still a prevalent issue in America today. Starting at a young age Biden was doing everything he could to bridge the racial divide in America. He started his work in politics as a young boy getting involved with civil rights and doing what he could to help his African American peers. He did his part by working as a lifeguard at a predominantly black pool and forming friendships with the other teenagers. He has said that the experiences while working at the pool helped him better understand the struggles of African American communities. Biden believes that racism is not just from person-to-person, but is systematically impacting education systems, workplaces, and law enforcement. If elected, Biden plans on closing the racial wealth and income gap, tackling racial inequality in the education system, making it easier for black people to get health insurance, and strengthening the commitment to bringing justice to those who deserve it. Biden has communicated a detailed plan on how he will achieve these goals in order to better the lives of people in the African American community. Joe Biden’s and Donald Trump’s differing opinions on the issue of race in America will heavily impact the 2020 presidential election. Those who want to see change and justice in this country will most likely cast their vote for Joe Biden and those who are happy with where the country currently stands will be inclined to vote for Donald Trump.
by Kate Diuguid ‘22
Gun Control, the set of laws or policies that regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification, or use of firearms by civilians, has been a hot topic for politicians, with the notable rise being after a mass shooting taking place at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999. The public was stunned at the thought of two young men walking into a school and claiming the lives of 15 students and staff. Since the fateful incident, the United States has seen 230 school shootings, not including massacres taking place at colleges or universities. The visual of angry individuals being able to get a hold of such firearms to commit such heinous acts has led to a stark rise in requests for stricter gun control. Opposers of gun control use the slogan, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” to argue that enacting stricter laws of gun control won’t solve the problem.
President Donald Trump has gone back and forth on his stance on gun control over the years. He made it very clear after the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 that he wanted to arm teachers and staff in order to defend against active shooters. Many questioned this, bringing up that teachers didn’t sign on to be security. More recently, Trump has taken to Twitter to attack Governors of states that are working to enact stricter gun restrictions. He has equated any form of gun control to be a direct infringement of the Second Amendment, encouraging the public to protest for their right to own firearms. Often, these protesters have been heavily armed with military-style guns.
Former Vice President Joe Biden chose to lay out his plans for gun control very clearly on his website, JoeBiden.com. He has taken on the National Rifle Association (NRA) twice now, when he was a United States Senator in the 90s, and won, establishing a five-day waiting period on firearm purchases, mandated federal background checks, and 10-year bans on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, however, this ban did expire in 2004. He wants to further stricter background checks and hold gun-manufacturing companies accountable for the damage their products do, but he has never claimed he wants to take guns away from Americans who already own them legally. This comment of, “Joe Biden wants to take away our guns” has clearly frustrated him as he gets very flustered when accused of that charge.
by Sudha Sudhaker ‘21
As the United States is in the midst of a very consequential election, it is imperative that Americans are educated and aware of what the outcome of the election could mean for their healthcare. Moreover, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed an inequitable health care system, so it is more important than ever that presidential candidates are clear about their intentions for reforming the system. Both presidential candidates aim to make healthcare more affordable and accessible; however, their approaches for doing so differ.
President Donald Trump has promised more on healthcare than he has delivered. If he wins a second term, Trump plans to lower the prices of prescription drugs, lower insurance premiums, and provide quality coverage for those with preexisting health conditions. The president revealed his “America First Healthcare,” which provides little detail regarding key health care issues. Despite Trump’s disapproval of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare,” he failed to abolish or replace the act but has supported efforts to have the Act overturned by the courts. The president signed an executive order stating that people with preexisting health conditions will be protected. Further statements addressing if a new legislation will replace the ACA to ensure this protection was left out. Especially in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, many Americans argue that eliminating the ACA would terminate millions of Americans’ health insurance, which they would desperately need during these unprecedented times. In addition, Trump promised that senior Americans would receive $200 to cover costs of prescription costs of drugs, yet again the administration failed to reveal how this would be funded or if this was a long-term plan.
Joe Biden continues to be a strong supporter of the ACA and intends on reinforcing and expanding the Act. Through the implementation of a public option that is similar to Medicare, there will be improved access to healthcare, whether an individual is buying insurance on their own, being covered by their employer, or going without coverage. The healthcare proposal would also work to lower the prices of prescription drugs within Medicare. In order to address concerns regarding child and elder care, Biden wants to allocate $775 billion towards cutting Medicaid waitlists for those in need of a home and community care and to provide tax breaks for those caring for elderly family members. The former vice president’s goal is to expand coverage to low-income Americans, increase the value of tax credits to lower premiums, and extend coverage to more working Americans.
College Cost and Debt
by Nicholas Schade ‘23
Despite being over a decade old, the student debt crisis continues to persist as a major problem across the United States, a crisis in which many Sherwood students hoping to attend college next year may soon be part of. As of 2019, the average college student in the United States owed $34,000 in unpaid and overdue student loans, with national debt across the nation totaling at $1.5 trillion in all. With the coronavirus pandemic, it has also become increasingly difficult for college students to find paying jobs or open businesses, making paying off their student loans or debt an even more insurmountable task.
During the past four years, President Donald Trump has taken initiative on attempting to improve the manageability of student debt for college students nationwide. On August 21 2019 at the American Veteran’s national convention in Louisville, Trump signed a memorandum completely wiping out student debt for any permanently disabled military veterans attending college. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has also suspended payment or interest on student loans as well. “To help our students and their families, I’ve waived interest in all student loans held by the federal government agencies and that will be until further notice. That’s a big thing for a lot of students that are left in the middle right now.” Trump told national viewers during a White House speech on March 13 2020.
Whereas Trump has been focused on decreasing the amount of student debt currently held in the United States, former Vice President Joe Biden’s proposals are especially aimed at addressing the causes of student debt; one of which being college cost. Throughout his run for the presidency, Biden has consistently argued to make community college free for families making less than $125,000, which would remove any need for students from such families to apply for tuition loans for such community colleges. Like Trump, however, Biden has also called to reduce the amount of debt held by national students as well. “If you’re attending a public university, college university, as well as a private HBCU historic black college or minority-serving institutions, I’ve already called for immediate canceling of a minimum of $10,000 of their student loan debt now under this crisis and allow them to borrow so they can cope with this crisis” Biden informed the press at a Livestream Meeting on April 4, 2020.