Four+Presidential+Candidates%2C+One+Race

Four Presidential Candidates, One Race

On Nov. 3rd, after months of preparation and billions of dollars spent, Americans will head to the polls or mail in their ballots. A predicted 65 to 66% of eligible voters, or approximately 155 million people, will decide the presidency, the entirety of the House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, and a countless number of state and local positions and resolutions this election cycle. The largest of these elections is the presidency, a billion-dollar venture full of intense media coverage and unending commercials. Currently, there are four candidates registered in (nearly) every state: Joe Biden for the Democratic Party, Donald Trump for the Republican Party, Jo Jorgensen for the Libertarian Party, and Howie Hawkins for the Green Party. Let’s see who they are and where they stand.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons / Graphic by Erin Lee.

Joe Biden was born in 1942 and moved to Delaware from Pennsylvania when he was ten. He attended the University of Delaware to study history and political science, then Syracuse for the law. After graduation, he worked for a law firm and as a public defender in Delaware. There, he ran for the county council and eventually for the U.S. Senate. He then served in the Senate from 1973 to 2009, when he was elected as Barack Obama’s vice president. Biden’s campaign has been weighted down by pretty consistent goofs on the part of Biden and criticism of the cost of Biden’s many plans. In 2020, Joe Biden is running for president on a liberal-moderate platform, combining harsh criticisms of President Trump with promises of a better response to the coronavirus pandemic and a high spending economic plan that ties together higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, a higher minimum wage, advanced infrastructure, assistance to small businesses and social justice reform. 

Photo by Wikimedia Commons / Graphic by Erin Lee.

Donald Trump was born in Queens, New York in 1946. He attended Fordham University before receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. From there, he took over his father’s real estate business. The Trump Organization owns eleven listed luxury properties and is involved in a variety of other ventures including golf courses, TV shows, and name licensing. Trump’s net worth is estimated to be $2.1 billion. The Trump presidency has been marred by controversy, including allegations of foreign interference in the 2016 election, impeachment, and the longest government shutdown. In 2020, Trump is running on a platform centered on the pre-pandemic stock market and job growth, the UAE-Bahrain-Israel peace deal, and support for law enforcement. 

Photo by Wikimedia Commons / Graphic by Erin Lee.

Jo Jorgensen was born in 1957 to two Danish immigrants in Illinois. In 1979, she received a bachelor’s from Baylor University in psychology and an MBA from Southern Methodist University in 1980. She relocated to South Carolina, where she started her own software sales company. In 1992, she ran for the seat in South Carolina’s 4th congressional district as a Libertarian. Despite receiving praise for a debate performance, she only received 2.2% of the vote. In 2002, Jorgensen received a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Clemson University, and she has served as a senior lecturer there since 2006. In 2020, Jo Jorgensen is running on a fairly consistent libertarian platform, which advocates for decreased government spending in tandem with decreased taxes to solve a majority of issues and decreased government regulation and intervention in situations where less spending wouldn’t work. The Libertarian Party, which Jorgensen is running with, was founded in the 1970s to counter further government spending and intervention in global affairs as well as in people’s lives. This results in a hands-off position on many governmental issues like abortion, environmental concern, and discrimination.

Photo by Bloomberg News / Graphic by Erin Lee.

Howie Hawkins was born in 1952 in the San Francisco Bay area. He went to Dartmouth College, but he never finished his education there because he enlisted in the Marine Corps after his draft number was called. Before and after his enlistment, Hawkins was an anti-war protester and supported the Peace and Freedom Party, the People’s Party, and the Citizens Party. In 1984 Hawkins was present at the first meeting of the Green Party and ran for several offices as the Green candidate, such as the governor of New York. For 17 years he also worked as a teamster, a national trucking union member. In 2020, Hawkins’s platform consists of nuclear and conventional disarmament, the Green New Deal, and an Economic Bill of Rights. The national Green party was founded in 1984 as other Green Parties appeared in Europe and Oceania, with Hawkins as a founding member. The Green Party runs on “green” programs, such as government and corporate decentralization,  Medicare for all, higher environmental standards, and clean energy

Not to be overlooked, however, is the people themselves. An institution in its own right, public opinion does a great deal in swaying the way that candidates portray themselves and craft their platforms. According to a Pew Research Center poll in late July, American voters care most about the economy, healthcare, and appointing new Supreme Court justices. No more recent polling has been released on the topic, but the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the resulting empty slot on the bench will likely shift the importance of that particular issue with voters for both the presidency and the alignment of the Senate.

As Election Day looms, it’s important that voters take an unbiased look at the platforms that candidates are running on. A candidate’s message can also be instrumental in how they would run the office of the president, so it’s important to know how the candidate is saying the things that they are saying. Staying informed is one of the most important things voters or future voters can do. Remember, informed voters are the best kind of voters, and hopefully, you’ve just been pointed in the right direction.

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Four Presidential Candidates, One Race