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Election 2020: 4 Issues At Stake

With the election right around the corner, here are four important issues you need to be informed on.

Supreme Court Nominations

In the last four years, the makeup of the Supreme Court has seen a drastic conservative shift with the installment of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. Right now, the court has five conservative judges and four liberal judges. The oldest conservative judge is Judge Clarence Thomas, who is 72-years-old while the oldest liberal judge is Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg (our queen and savior), who is 87-years-old. Should Judge Ginsburg’s health decline or resigns, the winner of the 2020 Presidential Election will determine the next generation of Supreme Court decisions regarding critical issues such as women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights and immigration reforms. If Joe Biden is elected, the Democrats have a chance at maintaining the status quo, which still puts the Democrats at a slight disadvantage in the Supreme Court. However, if Donald Trump is re-elected, we stand to face a generation of regressive policies seeing as how the conservative judges are relatively young.

Reproductive Rights

In 2019, the Trump administration released a final rule that made sweeping changes to the Title X family planning program, a program that provides reproductive health care services to low-income individuals. The new rule prevents healthcare institutions that receive funding from referring patients to abortion care and rescinds a prior requirement that all Title X recipients offer information to pregnant patients regarding prenatal care, infant care, foster care, adoption and abortion. Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health services. Each year, 2.4 million patients rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential services such as birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment. The Trump administration and the Republican party have sought to defund Planned Parenthood by blocking users of public healthcare programs from obtaining care at Planned Parenthood centers. The winner of the 2020 President Election will redefine our access to reproductive health care services, which is a human right.

Immigration

Immigration has been a critical concern in US politics for decades as Congress debated over the path to citizenship for undocumented residents. We have witnessed an appalling response to undocumented immigrants as the Trump radicalized ICE. ICE was conceived in 2003 as part of the Homeland Security Department in response to 9/11. In the first eight months of the Trump presidency, ICE increased arrests by 42%. Many of those arrested are placed in detention centers, which are now synonymous with human rights violations and sexual abuses. Trump has framed illegal immigration at the southern border as a national emergency and mobilized voters on this racist ideology. Joe Biden’s immigration platform includes an end to the border wall and a move to roll back many of Trump’s executive orders on immigration. Alternatively, Biden proposes the use of technology to monitor movement at ports of entry to address illegal immigration and the movement of drugs.

Climate Change

Climate change has suffered dramatically under Trump as he rolled back regulations on energy suppliers while auctioning off millions of acres of new drilling leases on public land. Domestic oil production hit a record high in 2019. Trump withdrew the US from the Paris climate treaty, an agreement to reduce fossil fuel emissions, and replaced Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Joe Biden’s climate change plan is linked to economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. He has laid out a $2 trillion climate plan that set a target for achieving net-zero emission by 2050. His plan would make the electricity sector free of carbon pollution by 2035. More information about Joe Biden’s plan can be accessed here.

If you want to impact change, you need to vote. Here is where you can find all information regarding voting.

Kathy Nguyen is a Senior at VCU. She is double majoring in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies and Political Science with concentration in International Relations. Her passion includes advocating for women's reproductive rights and gun reforms. In addition to her political activism, she is a coffee snob and a Harry Potter fanatic.
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