Biden vs. Trump: A partial voting guide

Steve Corbin is emeritus professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa and a freelance writer who receives no remuneration, funding, or endorsement from any for-profit business, nonprofit organization, political action committee, or political party. 

This voter guide compares the major-party presumptive presidential nominees, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, on seventeen topics.

A nationwide poll by Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in early April focused on adults’ perspective as to how Biden and Trump’s respective presidencies have hurt America. The two issues of greatest concern for Biden’s presidency were the cost of living and immigration. Nearly half of respondents said Trump’s presidency did harm on five fronts: voting rights, election security, relations with foreign countries, abortion laws, and climate change.

The choice facing voters in 2024—and issues of concern—could hardly be more different.

The opinions of two prominent writers for the conservative-oriented Wall Street Journal are referenced below. First is Alan Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve (1994-1996). The other is William Galston, who writes the Journal’s weekly Politics and Issues column, an expert on domestic policy, political campaigns and elections.


In a March 28 column, Blinder noted,

Mr. Trump directed his followers in Congress to scuttle a “compromise” bill to bolster the southern border—a bill Mr. Biden and many Democrats had already accepted, partially so that they could move on to other pressing mattes regarding Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the budget. Mr. Trump, by contrast, preferred to let the border crisis fester so that he could use it as a campaign issue.

Trump’s zero-tolerance policy separated thousands of migrant children from their parents, an action two-thirds of Americans opposed, according to a CBS poll from 2018. Biden ended that policy on the thirteenth day of his presidency. It’s ironic Trump said at a December rally that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of our country, while he and 97.1 percent of Americans are descendants of immigrants.


Biden, a devout Catholic who has supported women’s rights for decades, has vowed he’ll restore the protections guaranteed by the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court if he is re-elected with Democratic majorities in Congress. Trump (who was at one time pro-choice) proudly boasts he was “able to terminate Roe v. Wade” and “honored” to do so by appointing three conservative Supreme Court justices.

A recent video by Republican Voters Against Trump highlights his recent pronouncement that state legislatures and courts should control reproductive rights. Because of Trump, the group has noted, “33,360,789 women now live in a state where abortion is banned without exceptions for rape or incest.” Nationwide polls have consistently found majorities support legal abortion access. In one Gallup survey from May 2023, 61 percent said overturning Roe v. Wade was a “bad thing.”

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Large bipartisan majorities of Americans remain committed to the NATO alliance. Galston stated in a February column for the Wall Street Journal,

Donald Trump has made clear that he has no intention of honoring the commitment the U.S. made when it signed the NATO charter [in 1949], including the defense of other members who come under attack. For Mr. Biden, NATO is a solemn compact based on common interest and shared values. For Mr. Trump, it’s a financial transaction


According to a Pew Research Center poll from February, 74 percent of Americans view the war between Russia and Ukraine as important to U.S. national interests, and 43 say it is very important. Galston made his thoughts on the conflict quite clear: “The U.S. has worked for three quarters of a century under presidents of both parties to help Europe remain safe and free. Now one ignorant, amoral demagogue has persuaded a majority of one party that this effort is a mistake. A great tragedy is in the making unless leaders in both parties can find a way to thwart him.”

Israel-Hamas-Gaza War

According to an April 5 PBS report, “Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza has become a major U.S. election issue. Both President Biden and former President Trump have expressed concern with the humanitarian situation and Israel’s international standing after an airstrike killed seven aid workers.” The Pew Research Center recently found, “Americans’ views about the Israel-Hamas war differ widely by age, as do their perceptions about discrimination against Jewish, Muslim and Arab people in the United States.”


USA Today political experts see Trump wanting to give parents more control over local schools, “including the right to elect and fire school principals.” Trump has praised court rulings that target higher education affirmative action programs. Biden’s signature priorities have addressed student loan debt, denounced school book banning and scolded legislative bodies that attack LGBTQIA individual’s rights.

Climate change

In 2022, a Democratic-controlled Congress approved and Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, containing “the largest investment in clean energy and climate action ever.” In contrast, Trump has described global warming as a Chinese hoax.

January 6 insurrectionists

Trump has vowed to pardon everyone charged with crimes in connection with the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Even longtime GOP strategist Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff and now a regular writer for The Wall Street Journal, called Trump’s pledge a “critical mistake,” saying those who stormed the Capitol are “thugs.”

Unemployment and Jobs

The unemployment rate was 6.7 percent shortly before Trump left office. Under Biden, unemployment has stayed below 4 percent for the longest stretch in 50 years. Biden also has “the strongest record of any recent president on increasing manufacturing jobs.”

Stock market

Since Biden took office, the S&P stock index has risen 40 percent. At the same point in Trump’s presidential term, the S&P was up just 13 percent.

Federal deficit

The deficit, the difference between the government’s income and expenses, added $7.8 trillion to the country’s debt during Trump’s presidency and $6.7 trillion during Biden’s first three years in office.

Gross Domestic Product

GDP, a measure of all of the goods and services produced in the country, grew 14 percent during Trump’s presidency, compared to 22 percent since Biden took office.

Trade policy

Trump has called for a 100 percent tariff on imported cars from China and Mexico, 10 percent across the board tariff and 60 percent tariff on Chinese goods. Biden believes in global trade with America’s 1,600 partners and Trump believes in isolationism.

Tax policy

Many of the Trump tax cuts from 2017 expire in 2025. Trump wants to extend those cuts by 10 years, estimated by the Congressional Research Service to cost about $3.5 trillion. Biden and the Democrats “want to pay for domestic priorities and reduce the budget deficit with higher taxes on the rich and corporations.”


Trump was never able to pass his long-promised $1 trillion infrastructure package. But in 2021, Congress approved Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan-approved Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will add about 1.5 million jobs for each of the next ten years and address issues like clean water, reliable high-speed internet, roads, bridges, airports, ports, rail, pipelines, power grid and cyber-attacks.

2020 and 2024 elections

Trump continues to falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen from him, despite state-certified results that his team tried unsuccessfully to challenge in dozens of lawsuits. Even Trump’s former Attorney General William Barr concluded the 2020 election results were valid. The presumptive GOP nominee has already claimed the 2024 election will be rigged and people should not mail in their ballot, both of which could complicate the GOP’s get-out-the-vote effort.

Democracy vs. Authoritarianism

Matthew C. MacWilliams, in his exhaustive research at University of Massachusetts Amherst, wrote in a 2020 article that “41 percent of Americans tend to favor authority, obedience and uniformity over freedom, independence and diversity.” Many scholars have sounded the alarm about Project 2025, a blueprint for the next Republican presidency. Trump recently described his plans to exercise nearly unchecked power in a lengthy interview with TIME magazine. That article by Eric Cortellessa quoted presidential historian Douglas Brinkley as saying a second Trump term could bring “the end of our democracy,” and “the birth of a new kind of authoritarian presidential order.”

Don’t be among the one-third of voters who usually sit out the election—how unpatriotic is that? Vote this November.

Top photo of President Joe Biden cropped from an image published on his political Facebook page on April 19. Top photo of Donald Trump cropped from a meme published on his political Facebook page on April 23.

About the Author(s)

Steve Corbin

  • Threat to democracy “trumps” all

    In his speech at Valley Forge Biden made clear that defense of democracy is the number one issue.

  • there are more than two candidates for president

    Fortunately, Senile Joe and the Bad Orange Man aren’t the only two candidates for president. Robert Kennedy and Jill Stein will also be on the ballot. After voting Democrat for president since 1980 I won’t vote for someone out of fearmongering of the other guy. My Republican friends say that America won’t survive another term of Biden’s failed border policies. Biden claims his uncle was eaten by cannibals and is the king of falsehoods. Trump is a person of low moral fortitude. Vote “for” the candidate of your choice and not “against” someone because of reckless fearmongering. America has survived four years of both Trump and Biden and will somehow survive a second term of either one, if heaven forbid either one wins in November.