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Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden: Where they stand on COVID, education and more

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Amid the tumult of the 2020 presidential campaign, one dynamic has remained constant: The Nov. 3 election offers voters a choice between substantially different policy paths.

President Donald Trump, like many fellow Republicans, holds out tax reductions and regulatory cuts as economic imperatives and frames himself as a conservative champion in the culture wars. The president has offered few details about how he would pull the levers of government in a second term. His most consistent argument focuses on stopping Democratic opponent Joe Biden and his party from pushing U.S. policy leftward.

Biden, for his part, is not the socialist caricature depicted by Trump. But he is every bit a center-left Democrat who frames the federal government as the force to combat the coronavirus, rebuild the economy and address centuries of institutional racism and systemic inequalities. The former vice president and U.S. senator also offers his deal-making past as evidence he can do it again from the Oval Office.

A look at where the rivals stand on key issues:

Economy, taxes

Low unemployment and a soaring stock market were Trump’s calling cards before the pandemic. While the stock market has clawed its way back after cratering in the early weeks of the crisis, unemploymen t stands at 7.9%, and the nearly 10 million jobs that remain lost since the pandemic began exceed the number that the nation shed during the entire 2008-2009 Great Recession.

Trump has predicted that the U.S. economy will rebound in the third and fourth quarters of this year and is set to take off like a “rocket ship” in 2021. He promises that a coronavirus vaccine or effective therapeutics will soon be available, allowing life to get back to normal. His push for a payroll tax cut over the summer was thwarted by stiff bipartisan opposition.

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The truth about my stand against a university’s enforced orthodoxy

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On the first day of my political philosophy class at Shawnee State University in the spring of 2019, a biologically male student raised his hand and I called on him, unwittingly using the now-incendiary words, “Yes, sir.”

As a professor of philosophy, I view the classroom as a place of dynamic discussion and exchange. And I work hard to foster an atmosphere of civility and rational discourse, a place where students can seek truth. This student approached me after class and said that he identified as a woman and demanded, from that point on, that I refer to him as a woman, using feminine terms.

In the ensuing weeks and months, I offered to accommodate him by referring to him only by his name. But the university administration informed me that, on pain of disciplinary action, including termination, I must call him and all students by their preferred non-biological pronouns (including recently concocted ones like “ze”, “xe” or “ter”), or I would have to eliminate any terms that refer to a person’s gender from my vocabulary at all times, on campus or off, with any students.

This would mean purging all pronouns, terms like “Mr.” and “Ms.,” and even words like “brother” and “sister,” “father” and “mother.” This would require me to speak the English language as it has never been spoken in the history of Western civilization.

So why not simply call students what they wish to be called? I was willing to do so with this student and with any student who asks me to. His chosen name, though not his birth name, is feminine, and I was willing to call him this, since using a person’s proper name doesn’t imply anything about what one believes or what is true.

What I cannot do, however, is to speak