In all likelihood, the president elected in 2020 may well be the last president elected from the baby boom (Trump) or earlier (Biden) generation. The question for younger voters is what does the 2020 election have to do with us? The answer is, more than you can imagine. This election will go a long way toward determining whether people 30 years from now might be living in a world whose geography, governments, and culture people living today might recognize or whether it might more closely recognize “The Walking Dead” – or “Hunger Games.”
Donald Trump’s administration is dedicated to looking backward. He promises to bring back the industries that were the backbone of the 1950s economy (coal, steel, and autos) while sabotaging the green industries of the future. He also wants the regulatory, environmental, and civil rights policies of that bygone era as well.
His actions have placed enormous strain on our democratic institutions threaten our free elections. His tax policies and regulatory policies have increased economic inequality and made it more difficult to pay for the education needed to prepare for the jobs of the future. His administration badly botched the response to the pandemic, which has create enormous economic harm, and his administration intervened to abolish the Affordable Care Act and deny parents the ability to keep their children on their insurance until age 26 and guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
The Democratic platform goes a long way to create a fairer, safer, and more sustainable world.
Economy. In the economic sphere, Biden supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 and wants to create green manufacturing jobs with a $2tn investment in green energy. His termination of the Trump tax cuts will go a long way to reducing income inequality. His plan calls for major investments in green technology, AI, and biotech.
Educational opportunity. In college affordability, he would provide two years at any community college tuition free, reduce loan payments and increase opportunities for loan forgiveness for existing loans, and expand Pell grants. He would also provide universal pre-school.
Racial justice. Biden has said he believes that racism exists in the US and must be dealt with through broad economic and social programs to support minorities. On criminal justice, Mr. Biden proposes policies to reduce incarceration, address race, gender and income-based disparities in the justice system, and rehabilitate released prisoners. He also argues that some police funding should be redirected to social services like mental health.
Climate. The fact that vice president Biden declined to support the Green New Deal has been a primary argument that he’s a status quo candidate. But Biden has called climate change an existential threat, and he will use his international skills to rally other nations to expand the scope of their climate change efforts. Though he does not embrace the Green New Deal, he is proposing a $1.7tn federal investment in green technologies research, to be spent over the next 10 years, and wants the US to reach net zero emissions by 2050 – a commitment that was made by more than 60 other countries last year.
Healthcare. Mr Biden says he will expand the public health insurance scheme passed when he was President Barack Obama’s deputy, and implement a plan to insure an estimated 97% of Americans. Though he stops short of the universal health insurance proposal on the wish lists of the more left-wing members of his party, Mr Biden promises to give all Americans the option to enroll in a public health insurance option similar to Medicare, which provides medical benefits to the elderly and to lower the age of eligibility for Medicare itself from 65 to 60 years old. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisan group, estimates that the total Biden plan would cost $2.25tn over 10 years.
Biden also promises immediately to undo some of the most notorious Trump policies, incuding the separation of families at the southern border, the travel restrictions on majority-Muslim countries, and the attempted termination of the DACA program.
Leon Reed, freelance reporter, is a former US Senate staff member, defense consultant, and history teacher. He is a seven year resident of Gettysburg, where he writes military history and explores the park and the Adams County countryside. He is the publisher at Little Falls Books, chaired the Adams County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee and is on the board of SCCAP and the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. He and his wife, Lois, have 3 children, 3 cats, and 5 grandchildren.