The 2020 election year shows Americans largely divided on issues such as the economy, immigration, national security, healthcare, and crime. The atmosphere has not been welcoming to debate, and as a result, the voice of the many has been subdued by the shouts of a few. As the election approaches, it is important for each citizen to educate themselves about issues impacting the nation and prioritize issues that warrant increased political and governmental attention at this time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on the economy. The shutdown in March caused historic unemployment rates while stimulus packages attempted to help small businesses and individual households stay afloat. As the pandemic continues, many are unsure of how to sustain the economy. President Trump began his administration by ending and amending trade agreements where there were large deficits. Now, the economic concern from both candidates seems to be focused on corporate taxes and American manufacturing. Trump has lowered corporate taxes while Biden wants to return them to their previous rates. Both candidates support investment in technology and energy. It is clear that the economy will struggle with no end to COVID-19 in sight, and it is an important topic for many Americans.
Building a border wall between Mexico and the U.S. was a hallmark of President Trump’s previous campaign, but it isn’t finished yet. His democratic Congress did not approve of his campaign promise, so he had to declare a national emergency to reallocate billions of dollars for the wall. The Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether his emergency declaration was legal, but many hope the wall will be finished before this decision is made. In the meantime, Trump is trying to remove unauthorized immigrants from census numbers that determine congress seats. He has also suspended routine visa services for legal immigrants in an effort to contain the novel coronavirus.
National security typically implies investment in the military, but it also involves protection from other adverse forces such as drug cartels and foreign spies. Recent issues in national security include the closing of a Chinese consulate in Houston accused of espionage and cyberattacks. It also includes the funding of the military and the U.S. nuclear arsenal. President Trump has remained focused on the elimination of the multinational terrorist gang MS-13. The Black Lives Matter movement is a prominent national security concern because of protests, riots, and looting. With tensions between China, North Korea, Iran, and potentially Russia, the U.S. is constantly balancing many threats in order to maintain national security.
Whether healthcare should be privatized or socialized is a hotly debated argument, but it isn’t really a feasible argument for either political party. Right now, the presidential candidates are focusing mainly on the options available for each individual or family. This includes options such as lowering the age that people are eligible for Medicare, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and providing options in providers and services. Former VP Joe Biden wants to resurrect the Affordable Care Act, but Trump is focused on increasing access to affordable, quality care like he has already accomplished with veterans.
As the election approaches, both candidates will likely tout crime statistics in order to garner support of the electorate. The problem with this is that current statistics are difficult to collate at a national level. For the first part of 2019, the Trump administration saw violent crime and property crime reductions. It seems safe to assume that those numbers have risen among BLM riots and COVID-19 unrest. The biggest issue right now is whether or not entire police forces should be supported or defunded in response to protests against police brutality that have morphed into violence and property destruction in the form of riots.
Preventing discrimination by educational systems, employers, housing facilitators, or any other institution charged with providing opportunity is the foundation of civil rights. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was created to ensure that everyone received equal opportunities regardless of the color of their skin, sex, national origin, or religion. You can now add age and disability to those protected classes and sexual orientation in some states. Despite anti-discrimination laws, there are still significant disparities that exist among protected classes of people.
Which is the Most Important Issue for You?
Understanding which of these issues is most important for you is prioritized because it is an election year, but it is also important to understand these issues regardless of where we are in the election cycle. Education is the basis of successful democracy, and protecting that democracy means participating in it with our eyes open. Blindly following the masses perpetuates false ideologies and brings our nation closer to its demise. Understanding modern issues in modern times helps to create informed opinions that are welcoming of debate and will result in positive outcomes for all.