The Student’s Guide to Candidate Platforms


Photo Courtesy of: Pew Research Center

As the Presidential election approaches, it is crucial to stay informed about the various issues facing our nation and the future’s leaders’ plan of action. We have a duty to research, listen, and participate, but also to fully understand accurate information about what each presidential candidate is planning to do in office.

With that being said, the amount of misinformation and propaganda about each candidate can be overwhelming. Here, I hope to make it easier for us to understand what each candidate plans to achieve, in an unbiased manner, so you can make the decision about who the best candidate is for yourself.

*In alphabetical order

Joe Biden 

Party: Democratic 

Slogan: Battle for the Soul of the Nation

Howie Hawkins 

Party: Green Party

Slogan: For an Ecosocialist Green New Deal

Jo Jorgensen 

Party: Libertarian 

Slogan: Break Free From Big Government

Donald J. Trump

Party: Republican 

Slogan: Make America Great Again

Platform issues:

Climate change

    • Biden: Plans to focus on sustainable infrastructure, such as housing, transit, power, agriculture, and environmental justice, with a $2 trillion investment. 
    • Hawkins: 100% clean energy by 2030, no nuclear weapons, “public ownership and planning in energy, manufacturing and transportation.”
    • Jorgensen: Consider all scientific and economic knowledge “to care for our environment,” reduce by $15 billion the amount given annually to oil and coal industries, support the Green New Deal.

Economy and jobs

    • Biden: “Require corporations and the wealthiest Americans to finally pay their fair share,” extend pandemic crisis unemployment insurance and mobilization of “manufacturing and innovation,” “build equitable, clean energy future,” support the “caregiving and education workforce,” and “advance racial equity.”
    • Hawkins: Create an economic bill of rights, $20 minimum wage, and public ownership of banks and industries.
    • Jorgensen: End government shutdowns and barriers for job creation, lower government spending and taxes to create jobs.
    • Trump: Create 10 million jobs in 10 months, institute “made in America” tax credits, keep jobs in America, continue “de-regulatory agenda for energy independence,” “block illegal immigrants from becoming eligible for tax-payer funded welfare, healthcare, and free college tuition.” 


    • Biden: 
      • Racial: Use public and private investment to “expand access to $100 billion in low-interest business loans by funding state, local, tribal and non-profit lending programs in Black and Brown communities.”
      • Women: “Improve economic security, expand access to health care, help navigate work and families, end violence against women.”
    • Hawkins: Focus on voting rights for felons, equality act, equal rights amendment; prosecute “white racist terrorists;” decriminalize sex work.
    • Jorgensen: Ensure women are able to make decisions for their own bodies.
    • Trump: Nothing on his platform about racial or gender equality.


    • Biden: 
      • Higher education: Support public community college development programs.
      • Beyond high school: Invest in communities and students, “more than halve payments on undergraduate federal student loans by simplifying and increasing the generosity of today’s income-based repayment program.”
    • Hawkins: Support free life-long public education (pre-K through college), student and medical debt relief.
    • Jorgensen: Provide the ability to choose method of schooling, get government out of student loan business, enable student debt negotiation in case of bankruptcy, end Department of Education and eliminate regulations that “stifle innovation in education.”
    • Trump: “Provide school choice to every child in America” and “teach American Exceptionalism.”


    • Biden: COVID-19: “Get virus under control, nationwide testing and tracking, sustainable supply of PPE (personal protective equipment), protect those at high risk.”
      • To combat COVID and restore trust: “Stop the political theater and willful misinformation that has heightened confusion and discrimination.”
    • Hawkins: Give $2,000 a month to all adults over age 16, cancel rent, mortgage, and utility payments, support universal mail-in ballots for 2020 General Election. 
    • Jorgensen: Change treatment and testing regulations, get rid of the efficacy requirement of FDA or “FDA entirely.”
    • Trump: Develop vaccine by end of 2020, “return to normal in 2021,” make critical medicines and supplies in the US.

Criminal justice:

    • Biden: 
      • Reform: “Focus on redemption and rehabilitation,” make sure that no one profits off of criminal justice system, “prevent crime and provide opportunities for all, eliminate racial disparities and ensure fair sentences.”
      • Gun violence: “Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” “Buy back the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already in our communities.”
    • Hawkins: Promote community control of the police, legalize marijuana, decriminalize personal possession of hard drugs, end mass incarceration, investigate local police misconduct. 
    • Jorgensen: Decriminalize “all drugs,” “de-fund federal involvement in policing,” “end qualified immunity.”
    • Trump: “Defend our police,” “fully fund and hire more police,” “increase penalties for assaults on law enforcement,” “end cashless bail.”

It is crucial to know the election is not just  State and local elections are also occurring. Wherever you are registered to vote, inform yourself of the candidate’s platforms and take a few minutes to educate yourself. 

Don’t forget to register to vote at: 

Election day is November 3rd, 2020 so make your voice heard, serve your community, and get out to vote!