Big Ticket Issues for the 2020 Election

In every election there are “big ticket issues” which become the focus of the candidates and the American people. During the election of 1960, the big issues were the Cold War and domestic Civil Rights. In 1980 the election focused on Reaganomics and the various wars the U.S. was involved in abroad. In 2008, the focus was on the War in Iraq and the Financial Crisis. In 2016 the focus was on the Affordable Care Act and other methods of redirecting tax revenue to benefit the American public as well as government corruption, immigration policy, and domestic economic insecurity due to globalized free trade. As you can probably tell from that long winded explanation of the last election, there was no main focus as we have seen in previous elections, but rather, every day brought new issues which went viral and became a media frenzy until something else came along. We don’t yet know what this could mean for 2020.


So far candidates have been promoting a variety of different issues…



Probably the most highly cited issue on both side of the aisle, in the 2018 midterms Trump relied heavily on the use of fear in the face of immigration to stir up the Republican voting block. It is expected that he will employ the same tactics in the next election. The policies that will be discussed around immigration include: how should we handle asylum seekers? What should we do about the thousands of children separated from their parents? And what status should be provided to DACA recipients? Although the focus will be on the present humanitarian crisis at our southern border, Trump will certainly bring up his travel ban(s) on countries like Iraq, Iran, and Syria.


Gun Control:

Since the 2016 election there have been 18 mass shootings in the U.S. This includes the outdoor concert shooting in Las Vegas, 3 school shootings, and shootings at restaurants, airports, churches, and office buildings. Taking the March for Our Lives Movement and the rapid efficiency with which New Zealand reacted to the Christchurch shootings into account, gun control will be an unavoidable topic in the 2020 election. Trump will most likely follow the classic line of 2nd amendment rights and the “good-guy-with-a-gun” motto that is so popular with the Republican party.



Bernie Sanders of course is our champion of free college education, and that will most certainly be one of his main issues again. Not only does it pull in the younger voters but it is an easier introduction into his socialist-democratic policies than some major economic plan. This time he is not alone in the battle for education. Kamala Harris has been vocal about the need to not only increase public education funding but also significantly increase the wages of public school teachers. (As a future teacher I am 100% on board.) The Trump administration is working to end the student loan forgiveness program for public school teachers and revoke the tax refund program for public school teachers who have to buy supplies for their classrooms. Especially in light of the teacher strikes/protests/sick-outs/walkouts in the last two years all around the country (but especially in the midwest), support for public schools and teachers could be a major pull for the moderate middle class voters to the Democratic party.


Health Care:

Without a doubt there will be the tried-and-true health care debate. Perhaps this time people will actually remember that the Affordable Care Act and Obama Care are the same exact thing. The Democrats will definitely be workshopping ideas around universal/socialized health care and what that could look like in the U.S. Whether or not it will become a realistic issue for the actual election is still up in the air.

Whatever your political persuasion, whatever issues matter to you, you have an equal stake in our country. We all have to power to influence the direction in which our country heads for the next century, and that is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. Firstly, educate yourself, know what you want in a president and which candidate will give you that. Right now the top candidates are Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker. There are quite a few more and just like the Republican primaries of 2016 there will be multiple different debates to cope with the number of candidates. Secondly, and I cannot say this enough...register to VOTE and then actually VOTE in every single election! Your voice does matter, and your vote does count.