Associated Press, File

2020 Election: The presidency — candidates and key issues

By Katie Workman, | Posted - Oct. 30, 2020 at 1:32 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The vast majority of Americans have already made up their minds about who to vote for in the 2020 presidential election. In fact, according to Reuters, over 60 million ballots have already been cast and we're on pace for the highest turnout in 100 years.

However, in such a tumultuous election where anything can happen, familiarizing one's self with the other candidates and remembering the road so far is a constructive practice.

Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump is fighting a challenge from former vice president and Democrat Joe Biden. Trump's bid for reelection focuses on a hard-line stance on immigration; a "law-and-order" response to protests, as reported by the Associated Press in July; and repealing Obamacare. Reuters reports he is also championing current GDP numbers as a sign of economic recovery.

Biden's campaign says the former vice president is focused on increasing healthcare and renewable energy, a more hands-on national response to COVID-19, and moderate police reform.

As the FiveThirtyEight politics podcast explains, Trump's 2016 victory coalition was built from strong white turnout — including traditional non-voters — and support from men, evangelicals, seniors, and a majority of independents who swung for him over Clinton. The podcast says Biden is banking on the votes of women, non-whites, and youth. This year, Biden and Trump are virtually tied in support among seniors, Biden is leading among independents, and Trump has gained support with Hispanics.

The field

On the ballot:

Withdrew from the race

Michael Bennet (D), Kamala Harris (D), Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente (R)

Note: Kamala Harris is now on the ticket as the Democratic candidate for vice president.

Eliminated from the race

Democratic primary: Julián Castro, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Nathan Bloxham, Michael R. Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Roque De La Fuente

Republican primary: Robert Ardini, Matthew John Matern, Bob Ely, Joe Walsh, Bill Weld

The latest

What's next

  • Nov. 2: Last day in Utah to postmark mail-in ballots in order for them to be counted on Election Day. Voters may still turn in their ballots in person on Nov. 3.
  • Nov. 3: Election Day

Additional campaign subjects can be found at for Donald Trump and for Joe Biden. The candidates have various exclusive issues, such as Trump's focus on law and justice, and Biden's plan to beat COVID-19.

Key issues


Trump: "President Trump has worked to improve access to affordable quality health care. ... As part of the landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act President Trump repealed the individual mandate, which forced people to buy expensive insurance and taxed those who couldn't afford it. ... President Trump signed a six-year extension of CHIP to fund healthcare for 9 million. President Trump has mobilized his entire administration to address drug addiction and opioid abuse by declaring the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency. ... Under President Trump, the FDA has approved the largest number of generic drugs in history."

Biden: "As president, Biden will protect the Affordable Care Act from ... continued attacks. He opposes every effort to get rid of this historic law – including efforts by Republicans, and efforts by Democrats. Instead of starting from scratch and getting rid of private insurance, he has a plan to build on the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs, and making our health care system less complex to navigate. ... (Biden is running on) giving Americans a new choice, a public health insurance option like Medicare. ... Increasing the value of tax credits to lower premiums. ... Extending coverage to low-income Americans."

Economic recovery

Trump: "Under President Trump's leadership, Congress passed historic tax cuts and relief for hard-working Americans. ... U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has soared under President Trump, topping 3% in 4 quarters under his administration. ... President Trump is unleashing economic growth and jobs. Since his election, the Trump administration's pro-growth policies have generated 6 million new jobs, the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point in 50 years, and wages have grown at more than 3% for 10 months in a row. ... President Trump signed an executive order that expanded federally funded apprenticeship programs and on-the-job training, to provide an alternative for those looking to gain in demand skills that lack the resources to attend four year universities. ... The Trump administration prioritized the economic empowerment of women at home and across the globe."

Biden: "Joe Biden has a plan to create millions of good-paying jobs and to give America's working families the tools, choices, and freedom they need to build back better. That starts with a real strategy to deal with the pandemic. ... Biden will also provide further immediate relief to working families, small businesses, and communities. The Biden plan will mobilize the American people in service of four bold, national efforts to address four great national challenges: ... (1) Mobilize American manufacturing and innovation to ensure that the future is made in America, and in all of America. ... (2) Mobilize American ingenuity to build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future. ... (3) Mobilize American talent and heart to build a 21st century caregiving and education workforce which will help ease the burden of care for working parents, especially women. ... (4) Mobilize across the board to advance racial equity in America."


Trump: "President Trump’s proposed budgets have made school choice a priority. ... The Trump Administration successfully implemented the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to empower states with the flexibility they need to educate their students. ... The Trump Administration implemented the year-round distribution of Pell grants, instead of limiting these grants to the spring and fall semesters. ... The Trump Administration reformed the student loan servicing process to improve customer experience and lower costs. ...The Trump Administration has reformed The Free Application for Federal Student Aid to make the program more accessible to students. ...The Trump Administration brought in financial experts to modernize the way FSA offers and services student loans. ...The Department of Education provided $359.8 million in federal assistance to 20 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist with the cost of educating students displaced by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Maria, or the 2017 California wildfires."

Biden: "President Biden will support our educators by giving them the pay and dignity they deserve. ... Educators deserve a partner in the White House. With President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, they’ll get two. Dr. Biden has worked as an educator for more than 30 years. She and Joe understand that, for educators, their profession isn’t just what they do; it is who they are. ... President Biden will invest in resources for our schools so students grow into physically and emotionally healthy adults, and educators can focus on teaching. ... President Biden will ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability. ... President Biden will provide every middle and high school student a path to a successful career. President Biden will start investing in our children at birth."


Trump: "The Department of the Interior has proposed its largest oil and gas lease of over 78 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico. President Trump signed an Executive Order to expand offshore oil and gas drilling and open more leases to develop offshore drilling. ... President Trump and his administration acted aggressively to increase exports of energy resources to the global market. ... President Trump has approved the infrastructure and provided the resources needed to unleash oil and gas production in the U.S. ... President Trump rescinded President Obama’s costly Clean Power Plan and instead has proposed the Affordable Clean Energy Rule. ... In addition to the Clean Power Plan, the Trump administration has rescinded many costly Obama-Era regulations. ... President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the unfair Paris Climate Agreement. In May 2017, the Trump administration created a Superfund task force designed to streamline the Superfund cleanup program."

Biden: "(Biden) will launch a national effort aimed at creating the jobs we need to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure now and deliver an equitable clean energy future. ... Biden will make a $2 trillion accelerated investment, with a plan to deploy those resources over his first term, setting us on an irreversible course to meet the ambitious climate progress that science demands. ... Biden will ensure these investments create good, union jobs that expand the middle class. ... Biden will ensure these jobs are filled by diverse, local, well-trained workers – including women and people of color. ... Biden also reaffirms his commitment to fulfill our obligation to the workers and communities who powered our industrial revolution and decades of economic growth, as outlined in his original climate plan. ... Biden will create 1 million new jobs in auto manufacturing, auto supply chains, and auto infrastructure."

Key dates/developments

Watch the debates

2020 Election: Increased mail-in voting, COVID-19, and a variety of state-by-state election formats contribute to a unique 2020 election. As a result, it is likely that many close House and Senate races, as well as the presidency, will not be called on Nov. 3. States may also shift in outcome in the days or weeks following the election — an expected change experts have warned about as results are returned. While human error happens, both mail-in and in-person voting have extremely low rates of fraud. The state of Utah has used vote-by-mail since 2012. It has safeguards in place to make sure every ballot it receives is legitimate.

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