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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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2024 Presidential Campaign: Trump and Biden Lead the Two-Party System

Abby Benner

With the 2024 Presidential Race underway, getting to know and understand each candidate and their policies is crucial. That said, two candidates continue to drive the polls in opposite directions while attempting to win over America.

Meet the Candidates

Former United States President Donald Trump is rerunning for office after his loss to Joe Biden in 2020. He currently stands as the frontrunner for the Republican Party and is recognized for his win in the 2016 presidential race against Democratic opponent and former First Lady, Hilary Clinton.

“Donald Trump’s strengths rest primarily on the fact that he has a committed following of voters in the Republican base,” Loyola Political Science Professor and Americanist, Dr. Douglas Harris said.

“To this ‘base’ group, Trump is an outsider who tells it like it is. They admire him for his rhetoric, his stridency, and his style,” Harris said.

Trump has been viewed both in the media and the court of law as the catalyst of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building in 2021. Thousands of protestors turned rioters stormed the Capitol Building, leaving over 1,000 people convicted of federal crimes and over 100 people injured according to an article in AP News.

“Trump is in the unenviable position of having to win back a number of (even conservative) Republicans before he can even start to try to attract the moderate and independent voters he needs to be competitive in the general election,” Harris said.

President Joe Biden was elected to serve as a United States Senator at 29, the youngest on record. He was reelected as Senator from 1973 to 2009 and later served as the Vice President under the former President of the United States, Barack Obama. He is currently running for reelection as the frontrunner for the Democratic Party

“What Biden had going for him in 2020 was not committed appeal but broad acceptability,” Harris said.

“His experience and economic track record might be made into a strength as the general election campaign takes shape.”

Biden’s presidential term has been met with an unprecedented timeline of historical moments including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, and Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Although difficult, it’s the President’s response to these events that will help shape voters’ decisions in the coming election.

“Biden’s presidency has been a complicated one with a number of unexpected policy wins and some sustained economic successes,” Harris said.

“Still, Republican voters’ antipathy toward him has galvanized and his approval continues to be low.”

Immigration Policies

Source: Wikimedia

Trump has gained notoriety for his views on immigration, specifically his rhetoric regarding illegal immigrants and border walls. During his presidency, 450 miles of new walls were built on the United States-Mexico border. He also created the Remain in Mexico policy which enforces that asylum seekers remain in Mexico pending their hearing in U.S. Immigration Court.

Biden’s immigration policies work to modernize the system and, according to The White House website, provide pathways to citizenship while prioritizing the use of smart border control strategies and understanding the root cause of migration into the United States. He’s also chosen to discontinue many of the former immigration policies established, including the Remain in Mexico Act.

Abortion Access Policies

Trump’s campaign endorsed the stance that abortion legislation should be determined by the states after he released a short video clip on his social media platform, Truth. Per NBC News, his varied positions on abortion started in 1999, when he claimed he was pro-choice in a ‘Meet the Press’ interview with NBC. Then, in 2011, he recanted his claim in a speech given at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Biden continues to push for initiatives supporting the reproductive rights of women and, according to an article in Politico, makes it a central issue of his campaign. Even so, Biden’s positions have evolved after he voted against abortion legislation in 1977 that provided exceptions for those who’d experienced rape and incest. Then in 2023, CBS News quoted him saying he wasn’t ‘big on abortion’ as a Catholic but that ‘Roe v. Wade got it right.’

Student Debt Forgiveness

One difference between Trump and his opponent is the forgiveness of outstanding student debt.

According to The Washington Post, “Donald Trump has opposed canceling student loan debt, but he backs income-based repayment plans.” Furthermore, in 2019, former president Trump signed a memorandum to make it easier to forgive student loans owed by veterans with severe disabilities, according to the American Council on Education.

The Biden Administration is known for its stance on student debt and loan forgiveness. During his presidency, Biden has managed to “wipe out nearly $132 billion of student debt for more than three million people using existing authority,” per CNBC News. Biden has maintained his stance throughout his campaign, despite the rejection of his $400 billion relief plan in June of 2023.

Environmental Advocacy

Trump’s plans for environmental protection are to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and “boost the planet-heating fossil fuel sector,” according to an article by The Guardian. Any indication regarding Trump’s stance on climate policies could be understood by the lack of information across his campaign website.

Biden has been a strong advocate for environmental protection and climate change research. At the very start of his presidency, Biden launched an environmental justice agenda to combat the increasing worry concerning climate change. In an article by the Center for American Progress, “The United States has accomplished more on climate change under the Biden administration than during any other presidential administration, and there’s still more to come.”

Source: Wikimedia

These two candidates are unique in the sense that they both have their own experiences holding office and running for reelection. Amongst the policies up for discussion will include but not be limited to each candidate’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, the executive branch’s reach of power, women’s reproductive rights, and the age-old question of freedom within democracy.

“It seems to me that what will distinguish the ‘re-match’ election of 2024 between Biden and Trump will be comparative evaluations of the successes and failures of their presidencies,” Harris said.

This is the first article of a four-part series to be published consecutively across four days.

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