2020 Presidential Candidate Guide

Joe Biden (Democrat)
Joe Biden (Democrat)
Donald Trump
Donald Trump (Republican - Incumbent)
Howie Hawkins (Green Party)
Howie Hawkins (Green Party)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian)

See Guides.vote for more online guides with links and sources. This guide includes Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump, but also Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins. Volunteer at joebiden.comdonaldjtrump.com, howiehawkins.us, and jo20.com.

ABORTION – Legal or ban?

Joe Biden – Legal. Supports “right to choose.” “Codify Roe v. Wade into law. Until 2019, backed existing federal abortion funding ban.

Donald Trump – Ban. “Strongly pro-life.” First president to attend March for Life. Promised to appoint justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Howie Hawkins – Legal. Secure “a woman’s right to abortion by codifying Roe v. Wade in federal law.”

Jo Jorgensen – “Should remain between doctor and patient.” “Government should have no say in how anyone wishes to deal with their own healthcare.”

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT- Support Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare? Support a public option?

Joe Biden – Yes. Wants public option “like Medicare” to “build on the Affordable Care Act.” Raise subsidies and tax credits to lower premiums.

Donald Trump – No on both. “Terminate” Obamacare and “replace with a plan that’s far better.” Filed Supreme Court brief to overturn.

Howie Hawkins – Mixed on ACA. Supports Medicare for All as a community-controlled National Health Service, which “will work far better than Obamacare.”

Jo Jorgensen – No. Opposes ACA, Medicare, public option. “Remove the barriers to free-market health care.”

CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Limit campaign contributions? Support public funding and expanded disclosure?

Joe Biden – Yes. Eliminate all private donations from federal elections; replace solely by public funding. Would expand required disclosure.

Donald Trump – No. Dislikes using taxpayer money for public funding. Opposed House bill that supported it and expanded disclosure rules.

Howie Hawkins – Yes. Supports full public campaign financing.

Jo Jorgensen – No position found.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Is human-caused climate change a serious threat? Limit greenhouse gases or fund renewable energy?

Joe Biden – Yes. An existential threat.” Rejoin Paris Climate Agreement to limit emissions. Introduced $2 trillion plan to boost clean energy and rebuild infrastructure.

Donald Trump – No. “Don’t know that it’s manmade.” Climate scientists have “political agenda” risking “millions of jobs.” Cut renewables fundingWithdrew U.S. from Paris Agreement.

Howie Hawkins – Yes. Supports a Green New Deal to achieve zero-to-negative greenhouse gas emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030.

Jo Jorgensen – No “Remove subsidies on all forms of energy production.” Favors nuclear energy development and expanded offshore drilling. Withdraw from Paris Climate Accords.

CONTRACEPTION – Require health plans to cover birth control?

Joe Biden – Yes. Views as women’s and worker’s rights issue. Restore Obamacare contraception coverage mandate. But in 2012 opposed it on religious freedom grounds.

Donald Trump – No. Views as religious freedom issue. Administration argued in court against requiring coverage and for letting employers block coverage.

Howie Hawkins– Yes. “Contraception and abortion must be included in all health insurance policies in the U.S.”

Jo Jorgensen No.

COURTS – More justices like Kavanaugh, Gorsuch?

Joe Biden – No. See CEEP Supreme Court Guide.

Donald Trump – Yes. See CEEP Supreme Court Guide.

Howie HawkinsNo.

Jo Jorgensen – No position found.

COVID-19 – Plan for dealing with COVID? Support Trump withdrawal from World Health Organization (WHO)?

Joe Biden – Emergency paid leave for all affected, more testing, strong federal response, wearing masks, and strengthening social distancing. Opposed WHO withdrawal: “Strengthening global health” makes Americans safer. Says Trump “quit on this country.”

Donald Trump – States must take main responsibility for testingOpposes mandatory masksInvest in developing vaccines. Ban on China flights saved “thousands and thousands” of lives. WHO “failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms.”

Howie Hawkins – Supports Medicare payment for COVID testing and treatment; using Defense Production Act to produce medical equipment; increased funding for federal health agencies; and hiring 500,000 coronavirus trackers. No position found on WHO withdrawal

Jo Jorgensen – Supports “lifting all related FDA restrictions” to enable “rapid, widespread testing.” Wouldn’t “put everybody under house arrest.” Staying home during a pandemic “should be an individual choice.” No position found on WHO withdrawal.

COVID CRISIS – ECONOMIC RESPONSE – What should COVID stimulus bills prioritize?

Joe Biden – Much bigger stimulus, with aid to states and cities. Supports “trillion-dollar infrastructure program,” with tougher conditions on business bailouts and focus on small business and essential workers.

Donald Trump – Reduce capital gains and payroll taxes, limit business liability. Three-month student loan deferral. Opposes congressional oversight of stimulus bailouts. Payments to workers should include “incentive to work.”

Howie Hawkins – Supports payments of $2,000 per person per month for those earning less than $150,000; continuing the $600/week unemployment supplement; a moratorium on evictions; and universal rent control.

Jo Jorgensen – Does not support stimulus bills, calls them “pork barrel.” “The best way to create jobs is to open the economy and allow, not politicians, but individuals and businesses to decide for themselves how best to weigh the risks of the pandemic versus their economic well-being.”

EDUCATION – Support free (or highly subsidized) public college tuition or loan forgiveness for low-income students?

Joe Biden – Yes. Two years free community college. Free public 4-year college if families make below $125,000. Cover student-debt payments for public college and some others if earning under $125,000, max payment 5% of income.

Donald Trump – Unclear. Proposed deep cuts to federal financial aid programs and ending public service loan forgiveness. Proposed borrowers pay 12.5% of discretionary yearly income with loans forgiven after 15-25 years.

Howie Hawkins – Yes. Supports lifelong free public education, pre-K through college, and student loan fund for debt forgiveness.

Jo Jorgensen – No. Opposes federally funded free tuition or increasing taxes on the rich to reduce cost of student loans.

ENVIRONMENT – Tighten or loosen environmental protections?

Joe Biden – Tighten. Rescind permit for Keystone pipelinePreserve and implement Clean Air Act, and ban new drilling on public lands. Let existing fracking continue.

Donald Trump – Loosen environmental review laws. Supports EPA cutbacks and Keystone pipeline. “We are reclaiming America’s proud heritage as a nation of builders.”

Howie Hawkins – Tighten. Nationalize fossil fuel industry, enact federal ban on fracking, enforce air and water pollution laws.

Jo Jorgensen – Loosen. Wants to “remove government barriers to replacing coal-burning and oil-burning power plants in the United States with safe, non-polluting, high-tech nuclear power plants – and allowing off-grid use of solar power.”

FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?

Joe Biden – Tighten. “Worked closely” on Dodd-Frank bank regulation. Supports Warren overhaul of U.S. bankruptcy law. But as senator often supported stands of credit card companies.

Donald Trump – Loosen. Vowed to “dismantle” Dodd-Frank. Supported weakening Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Opposed congressional oversight of COVID business stimulus funds.

Howie Hawkins – Tighten. Wants to “socialize the big banks,” with public banking at municipal, state, and federal levels and a new Glass-Steagall Act to better regulate banking.

Jo Jorgensen – Loosen. “The government is currently over-regulating private businesses.” “Will work to eliminate policies that cripple economic growth.”

GAY RIGHTS – Support LGBTQ rights, including protection from discrimination?

Joe Biden – Yes. First supported gay marriage in 2012. “Protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination.” Supports Equality Act.

Donald Trump – No. Prohibiting job discrimination for sexual orientation was a “horrible” decision. Rolled back LGBTQ health care protections to protect religious freedom. Previously mixed.

Howie Hawkins – Yes. “What is needed now are federal and state laws that provide protection from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation under the Equality Act and equivalent state and federal laws.”

Jo Jorgensen – Yes. “Gender identity” should be added to anti-discrimination laws.

GUN CONTROL – More restrictive legislation on guns? Stricter background checks and bans on assault rifles?

Joe Biden – Yes. Gun violence is a “public health epidemic.” Ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines; background checks for all gun sales.

Donald Trump – Mostly no. Said would support background checks. Later opposed House bill mandating them. Rescinded rule limiting gun access for people receiving mental illness benefits.

Howie Hawkins – Yes. Supports universal background checks. Ban “military assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks.”

Jo Jorgensen – No. “We must never infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment-protected right to self-defense.”

IMMIGRATION – Path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented residents, including DACA participants brought to U.S. as children? Position on border walls and limiting asylum?

Joe Biden – Yes. Reinstate DACA program. Supports “roadmap to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.” “Building a wall will do little to deter criminals and cartels seeking to exploit our borders.” “Modernize” immigration, allow more total visas.

Donald Trump – No. Tried to end DACA program; overruled by Supreme Court. Said would veto DACA path to citizenship. Earlier said might support as part of broader deal. Declared national emergency to pay for border wall. Tightened legal immigration and asylum limits.

Howie Hawkins – Yes. “The federal government should end its defense in court of Trump’s executive order attempting to end the DACA program.” Supports open borders.

Jo Jorgensen – Mixed. Supports “free movement & free markets.” Opposes border wall and separating children from parents. Children of undocumented immigrants should get U.S. citizenship only if born in U.S.

IRAN – Support Trump withdrawal from Iran nuclear treaty? Require congressional approval for military to attack Iran?

Joe Biden – Oppose withdrawal. “No illusions” on Iran, but diplomacy is “only way out.” Trump lacks authority to launch attacks. Backs relief from sanctions during pandemic.

Donald Trump – Yes. Withdrew from treaty. Imposed sanctions. Ordered killing of Iranian general in Iraq. Vetoed requiring congressional authorization for military attack.

Howie Hawkins – No on treaty withdrawal. U.S. should rejoin nuclear treaty. Yes on congressional approval.

Jo Jorgensen – No on treaty withdrawal. “An agreement that helps create harmony is better than continued hostility.” The U.S. should not attack Iran.

LABOR – Support “right-to-work” laws, banning unions from mandating dues for workers they represent?

Joe Biden – No. Repeal Taft-Hartley provisions that let states impose right-to-work laws. Penalize “companies that interfere with workers’ organizing efforts.”

Donald Trump – Yes. Supports right-to-work laws as creating more flexibility. Issued order making it easier to fire federal employees. Revoked Obama order tightening wage and hour rules.

Howie Hawkins – No. Supports repealing state right-to-work laws and other legislation limiting “labor’s ability to organize.”

Jo Jorgensen – No position found. Is “strongly against public unions.”

 MARIJUANA – Decriminalize or keep illegal?

Joe Biden – Decriminalize use“Expunge all cannabis use convictions, end incarceration for drug use alone.” Don’t interfere with states. But  doesn’t support full federal legalization.

Donald Trump – Keep illegal. Rescinded rule preventing federal prosecutions in states where legal. Proposed removing medical marijuana protections.

Howie Hawkins Legalize. Supports “federal legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana.”

Jo Jorgensen – Legalize marijuana. Decriminalize all drug use. Pardon all victimless federal drug-law prisoners. End “war on drugs.”

MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25/hour?

Joe Biden – Yes. “$15 an hour minimum wage is long overdue.” Index to median hourly wage, with automatic minimum increases.

Donald Trump – No. Threatened to veto $15 minimum when House passed it.

Howie Hawkins – Yes. Supports $20 hourly minimum wage. “All citizens shall have the rights to a minimum income sufficient to meet basic needs.”

Jo Jorgensen – No. No raise to federal minimum wage; eliminate all wage standards.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Can Planned Parenthood receive federal funds for non-abortion-related care?

Joe Biden – Yes. Will restore federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other family-planning programs.

Donald Trump – No. Blocked groups providing abortion referrals from receiving federal family- planning funds.

Howie Hawkins – Yes. Opposes legislation to defund Planned Parenthood.

Jo Jorgensen – No. Opposes any government funding of Planned Parenthood.

POLICE – Restrict police use of force and increase public oversight? Position on sending federal law enforcement agents to cities against wishes of mayors and governors?

Joe Biden – Yes. More community policing, ban chokeholds. Root out unlawful policing, systemic racism, prosecutorial misconduct. Doesn’t support defunding. Trump deployments furthered “chaos and division.”

Donald Trump – No. Police are “under siege.” Cut back active federal oversight of excess force, though supported database to track it. Said deployment of federal agents was necessary to restore “law and order.”

Howie HawkinsYes to increased public oversight. Yes to comprehensive data collection. Militarized police should not be used as campaign “props” or as “occupying military force.”

Jo Jorgensen Should not deploy federal agents into cities, uninvited, to try to fix a problem created by government. End no-knock raids, civil asset forfeiture, qualified immunity, militarized police, and above all, the failed and dangerous war on drugs.

SAUDI ARABIA – Block arms sales to Saudi Arabia over Yemen war and allegations about journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death?

Joe Biden – Yes. “Will end our support for Saudi-led war in Yemen,” “I would punish Saudi leaders for Khashoggi’s death” and stop arms sales and end subsidies.

Donald Trump – No. Vetoed bipartisan resolution to block arms sales, a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.” The U.S. will “remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia.”

Howie Hawkins – Yes. The U.S. must “stop its war on Iran and get its military out of the whole Middle East,” including “Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.”

Jo Jorgensen – Yes. The U.S. should not provide military aid to Saudi Arabia during its conflict with Yemen.

SOCIAL SECURITY – Partly privatize Social Security or raise retirement age to stabilize program?

Joe Biden – No. Make Social Security solvent by adding new tax on high earners to match what middle class already pays. Expand benefits and reject privatization.

Donald Trump – Unclear. Proposed $35 billion cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, with possible cuts to overall entitlements.

Howie Hawkins – No. Supports doubling Social Security benefits, financed “through more progressive income and wealth taxes instead of relying on regressive payroll taxes.”

Jo Jorgensen – Yes. Supports individual retirement accounts, and a solution like the Cato Institute’s “6.2% solution,” which would allow any American to “opt out” of the current system.

TAXES – Raise or lower taxes on the wealthy and corporations?

Joe Biden – Raise corporate tax and capital gains rates. “Get rid of” most of “Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut,” which wealthy people “don’t need.”

Donald Trump – Unclear. Proposed $35 billion cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, with possible cuts to overall entitlements.

Howie Hawkins – Raise. Favors progressive tax reform, including financial transactions tax, wealth tax, estate tax, and land value tax.

Jo Jorgensen – Lower. Don’t raise taxes on the rich; lower or eliminate all business taxes for maximum job creation. End federal income tax.

VOTING RULES – Strict ID and other rules to combat possible fraud, even if limit access?

Joe Biden – No. Restore Voting Rights Act. Challenge state laws limiting voting rights. Support automatic and same-day voter registration.

Donald Trump – Yes. Seeks stronger voter ID requirements. Voter ID opponents “intend to cheat.”

Howie Hawkins – No. Restore Voting Rights Act and end voter suppression. Supports automatic voter registration, same-day registration, and extended voting days.

Jo Jorgensen – No. Photo ID should be required only if it is easy to get an ID to vote.


Editor’s note: Also see our Guides.vote for our state guides. Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.orgFactCheck.orgPolitifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org offer guides to local races.