Alternatively, Biden and the Democrats have plans for everything from keeping pre-existing conditions covered to creating millions of jobs that fight climate change.
With just over two months until the November election, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign finally released a list of “core priorities” the president says he would tackle if elected to a second term.
The Trump campaign’s list of priorities includes 50 bullet points with vague statements, like lowering drug prescription prices or establishing a manned presence on Mars. The list does not include details on how those goals might be achieved.
Trump’s “agenda” was released shortly after the Republican party announced that it will not adopt a policy platform this year, as they have before most national conventions. Instead, they voted to “enthusiastically support” Trump’s “America-first” agenda and also “reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden administration.”
Here’s a look at the priorities of both candidates on six important topics.
Trump claim: Cover All Pre-Existing Conditions
Trump may say he wants to “cover” pre-existing conditions, but that is the opposite of what he has actually done. Trump and the GOP have repeatedly tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during his time in office. The ACA is the law that prevents health insurance companies from rejecting coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
In 2018, more than 30 million people of all ages were already uninsured. Getting rid of the ACA would mean millions more people would lack health insurance in the middle of a global pandemic. Also, 2.8 million Arizonans would be at risk of losing their coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
Trump’s administration and a coalition of state attorneys general, including Arizona’s Mark Brnovich, are currently suing to repeal the entire ACA. Trump said he’d introduce a health plan to replace the ACA in recent weeks, but no plan ever emerged.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden plans to expand the ACA if elected, meaning people with pre-existing conditions would be able to keep their insurance. He also wants to provide a Medicare-like option for people who need more affordable health insurance.
Trump claim: Continue to Lead the World in Access to the Cleanest Drinking Water and Cleanest Air
The Trump campaign has no specific focus on fighting climate change, even as extreme weather events continue to pummel the United States. Arizona is one of the hardest-hit states with its summer of record-breaking heat waves. And a new Arizona State University study predicts that the heat will only continue to worsen for Phoenix and Tucson.
The state has also seen especially bad wildfires this year, which contribute to poor air quality. Trump’s campaign claims that they want to “lead” on clean air, but the administration has repealed dozens of regulations from the Obama administration that aimed to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality. The Trump administration has rolled back 68 environmental rules and has another 32 still in progress, according to the New York Times.
Biden’s campaign has an extensive plan to achieve clean energy goals, including a 100% clean energy economy by 2050. His plan also focuses on building resilient buildings and roads, and shoring up access to clean water, which could make it easier for individuals to live more sustainably and mitigate the effects of strong storms. Finally, Biden has promised to support environmental justice efforts that disproportionately affect communities of color and engage those communities in discussions about possible solutions.
Trump claim: Cut Taxes to Boost Take-Home Pay and Keep Jobs in America
Trump’s first term included one of the largest corporate tax cuts in American history. The president claimed that his tax cuts would help middle class Americans in addition to billionaires, but a study from the Congressional Research Service found that it funneled money to the rich. In fact, only 5% of the cost of the tax cuts were covered in resulting economic growth, just “a mere 95 percent shy” of predictions.
And recently, Trump has tried to unilaterally delay collecting payroll taxes as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. But that move doesn’t help anyone who is currently unemployed, which, in Arizona, is nearly 11% of the population. It also takes money away from Social Security and Medicare, which are both popular programs funded by payroll taxes that benefit millions of Arizonans.
Biden’s plan has a detailed proposal to create 10 million new clean energy jobs, which falls in line with his goal to invest in clean energy. He also wants to create more infrastructure jobs that will help to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and dams among other things. Additionally, Biden has come out as a strong supporter of unions, which help workers organize and demand better pay, benefits and safety conditions.
Trump claim: Return to Normal 2021
After ignoring the coronavirus pandemic until it was too late to prevent it from spreading throughout the country, the Trump campaign now says it wants to “return to normal” next year. This is a marked shift from the president’s earlier commentary, when he dismissed the threat of the virus that has killed over 177,000 Americans and urged states to “liberate” themselves from business closures that prompted outbreaks in states like Arizona. So far, the state has recorded nearly 200,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths.
The Trump administration also reportedly threw out national testing plans after they thought the virus would only hurt Democratic-leaning states.
In contrast, Biden has a detailed pandemic plan, pledging to listen to doctors and scientists instead of pushing them for positive information that is politically beneficial. Biden also wants to increase testing, implement a daily White House report, and increase personal protective equipment for frontline workers.
Veterans And The Military
Trump claim: Maintain and Expand America’s Unrivaled Military Strength
In addition to eroding America’s global standing, Trump’s administration has left the U.S. military and veterans–more than 500,000 in Arizona alone–in a worse position than before he took office. Trump reportedly ignored intelligence that the Russian government was offering bounties for every American service member killed in Afghanistan.
Trump also claimed to reduce the number of veteran suicides, but the Associated Press reports that there has been no decline in the number of veterans taking their lives each day, which Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates is around 22 veterans per day.
Biden’s plan pledges to pay service members a competitive wage, and provide additional resources to military spouses, caregivers, and survivors. That commitment was clear during the Obama-Biden administration, which requested a more than 85% overall funding increase for the VA, and a 76% increase for veterans’ mental health.
Trump claim: Nothing
A majority of Americans and even Arizonans want stricter gun safety laws, but the Trump campaign makes no mention of ways to prevent gun violence. After 17 students and faculty were murdered in 2018 at a school in Parkland, Florida, the president vowed to “get it done” and sign laws that made schools safer. But more than two years later the president has not delivered on that promise, and completely ignored it in his policy priorities for his second term.
Meanwhile, Biden says he will hold gun manufacturers accountable, regulate the possession of existing assault weapons, and reduce the stockpiling of weapons. Gun violence kills almost 40,000 people in the United States each year, and Arizona’s gun death rate is 40% higher than the U.S. average. Schools are plagued with shooting drills, and all too often children have easy access to firearms in their homes. Biden has called gun violence a public health epidemic and plans to take action to reduce gun violence deaths.