Richard S. Bogartz: Biden v. Trump, the tale of the tape


Published: 06-06-2024 7:32 PM


I began this series by mistakenly proposing to discuss Joe Biden and omit Donald Trump as a reaction to the abundance of ignorance about Biden. I was wrong. The vital choice we are faced with demands contrasting their views. Here I do that on politics, morality, race, abortion, Israel-Hamas, wealth disparity and its social implications, immigration, their greatest differences, and who support them.

Biden’s politics center on health care expansion, climate change remedies, middle-class economic growth, immigration reform, and repairing alliances.

Trump reduces regulations, doubts climate change, cuts taxes, strictly enforces immigration, advocates “America First” foreign policy, adores tyrants.

Biden’s moral views emphasize unity, decency, social justice, truth.

Trump’s emphasize nationalism, law and order, and personal loyalty, more in demanding than displaying. He has no concept of truth.

Biden addresses and condemns systemic racism, through reforming policing, criminal justice, economic policy, education and health care, insisting on equality and justice for minority communities.

Trump blathers about law and order and economic initiatives, but rejects racial justice protests and immigration. He’s implemented some reforms, but his rhetoric and policies often fail to address systemic issues. He claims great affection for Blacks. His history suggests otherwise.

Biden emphasizes women’s control over their bodies, supporting Roe v. Wade and ensuring women’s reproductive rights are preserved through legislative action and judicial appointments. He advocates repealing restrictions like the Hyde Amendment to ensure equitable access to abortion.

Trump opposes Roe v. Wade, supports state-level restrictions on abortion and maintaining and expanding federal funding restrictions, and advocates “pro-life” policies. His judicial appointments created a judiciary that overturns or severely restricts abortion rights.

Biden stresses progressive taxation, increasing the minimum wage, enhancing the social safety net, and investing in health care, education, and infrastructure to promote economic equality. He focuses on systemic issues and provides targeted support to marginalized communities.

Trump cuts taxes for businesses and the rich, limits increases in the minimum wage, and reduces federal spending on social programs. His concern for stimulating economic growth through deregulation and tax incentives, and ignoring wealth inequality and its social implications, suggests he doesn’t care.

Biden, humane and fair, decent to the core toward immigrants, endorses comprehensive reform, protecting DREAMers, reuniting families, enhancing border security through technology, restoring asylum protections, and addressing the causes of migration.

Trump, taking Putin as his model of decency, prioritizes strict enforcement, ending DACA, endorses family separation policies, building a physical border wall, reducing asylum and refugee admissions, and limiting legal immigration. He emphasizes scapegoating immigrants and diminishing legal and illegal immigration.

Biden’s policies aim for inclusivity and humane treatment; Trump’s policies focus on strict control and enforcement to serve his own goals.

Biden’s views on the Israel-Hamas conflict have shifted, from unrestrained support for Israel’s response to the Hamas attack, to efforts to restrain Israel’s excessive use of force while continuing to support their efforts to root out Hamas.

Trump, ever the politician, criticizes Israel’s losses in public relations, and contradictorily urges Israel to finish the problem with Hamas quickly, although saying that sometimes conflicts need to “play out.”

Biden and Trump differ most strikingly in their approaches to governance, health care, climate change, economic policy, immigration, foreign policy, and social justice.

Biden emphasizes unity, inclusivity, and progressive reforms aimed at addressing systemic issues.

Trump advocates strict enforcement, deregulation, and prioritizing immediate, tangible results often through more confrontational and transactional means.

Biden focuses on long-term structural changes and international cooperation, whereas Trump prioritizes national interests, economic growth through tax cuts for the rich and deregulation, and a strong stance on law and order. Always first and foremost for Trump is “what’s in it for me.”

Biden supporters advocate progressive taxation, expanding social safety nets, comprehensive immigration reform, urgent climate action, systemic social and racial justice reforms, universal health care access, investment in education, and international cooperation. They prioritize equity, inclusion, and government intervention to address systemic issues and promote social welfare.

Trump supporters favor economic growth through deregulation, strict immigration enforcement, law and order, national sovereignty, conservative social values, and a smaller government. They prioritize American interests and traditional values, and often view government intervention with skepticism except where women’s bodies are concerned.

Finally, Trump’s promising revenge upon his enemies brings to mind words from Lincoln’s second inaugural address: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

Trump promises us more wounding and no binding. Heaven help us.

Richard S. Bogartz is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.