UNBIASED CANDIDATE COMPARISON WITH A DOWNLOADABLE REFERENCE SHEET
“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”
We’ve heard it said all our lives; “Your vote is your voice.” Or this, “Voting is both a right and a privilege.” And, finally, a fan favorite, the ever-popular, “If you don’t vote, you forfeit your right to complain.”
As it turns out however, the MAJORITY of American voters have little to no knowledge of where their candidate actually stands on issues, what their formal policies are, or even how they feel about the issues from a personal standpoint. In fact, according to our research, nearly 65% of people who consider themselves “regular voters (in federal elections)” and also considered themselves relatively well-informed answered questions about their candidates and his/her policies incorrectly, or simply said “I don’t know.” Not only that, but fewer than 50% of respondents knew which political party now holds the majority of the seats in the House of Representatives.
What’s more, around 50% of Americans who are eligible to vote in presidential elections, do not. Half – Yes, folks, half. Some of the reasons they cite for not voting include:
- Not feeling informed or educated enough to vote responsibly
- Not liking either candidate well enough to actually cast a vote on their behalf
- Not feeling like their vote actually makes a difference because they live in a red/blue state and that means more than their individual vote
- Indifference about who’s in office
- No particular reason, just “being human.”
In local and state elections, which many consider the foundation of the governmental system, the numbers are even less, with between 18% and 20% of voters turning out at respective locations across the U.S. That means, quite literally, 20% of the voters choose the local and state leadership for 100% of the people.
We also found that many voters choose a candidate based on reasons that are completely outside the political sphere. For example, skin color, sex, name, religion, physical appearance, and in some cases people even admitted to voting for a candidate because of a like for his/her spouse. We also uncovered more than a few instances wherein people cast their votes for certain candidates because their mother, father, aunt, uncle, sister, etc. had expressed endorsement for said candidates (i.e., “Well, my mom likes ___, and she’s pretty political, so I usually just vote for her pick.”)
So, we at The Hot Mess Press decided to do our part to make life easier for voters. And here’s the deal, after doing all this research, it seems NO SURPRISE that so many of American voters are uninformed. Because weeding through the bias, the media rhetoric and the partisan mumbo jumbo was a massive time investment, and the more we dug, the easier it became to see why so many voters are uniformed when they cast their ballots. Getting clear answers is no simple feat and truly nonpartisan resources are few and far between. As we weeded through it all, we found controversy and gaffes aplenty, on both sides. We watched a myriad of clips and commentaries on Biden’s now infamous quote, “If you’ve got a problem figuring out if you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” We re-read the transcript that contained Trump’s heavily mocked question about disinfectants that provided the mainstream media with content for weeks, because we had to rake through all of these things to find actual policy info. We saw droves of people praising our sitting President, and we watched a moving interview where Biden spoke fondly of the late John McCain. We came upon dozens of allegations about Biden’s mental health and endless social media rumors that he is suffering from dementia. We read hundreds of Trump tweets, or maybe it was millions – it felt like millions – some great, some cringy. We split them both right down the middle and sorted it all, tossing anything that would be considered bias or campaign rhetoric, and focusing only on the stuff of substance.
How will this work?
We made an attempt to cut through the noise for our readers by fully researching the handful of most-talked about issues from mainstream media, as well as the deeper issues cited as “most important” in recent voter polls. The important thing to note is that despite all our work, there are 43 ADDITIONAL (maybe even more) pressing issues that are still big election-day factors but are not included in our research. Many of these issues never even make it on the average voter’s radar because they go largely unreported about in the news. You will find links attached to of each of these issues at the bottom of this article. These links contain some explanation of the issues, but in some cases, the article itself contains bias, so you may have to put that critical thinking engine into high-gear while reading. If there are specific issues that concern you, The Hot Mess Press team encourages you to dig into them and find out exactly what your chosen candidate has to say.
The issues we have researched and reviewed for this article are:
- IMPORT RX DRUGS
- REDUCE RX DRUG COSTS
- MEDICARE FOR ALL
- BUILD A WALL
- ENDING DACA
- OPEN BORDER
- PUBLIC CHARGE RULE
- CITIZENSHIP LIMITATIONS/ AMNESTY
- MILITARY BUDGET
- ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN
- FEDERAL TAX INCREASE
- UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME
- WEALTH TAX
- REMOVAL OF CONFEDERATE STATUES
- RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA
- DEFUND POLICE
- PRIVATE PRISONS
- BAN THE BOX
- RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS
- GENDER IDENTITY
A few points of fact:
- We only compared the bipartisan candidates. There are two candidates we did not include in our research. They are Jo Jorgenson for the Libertarian Party and Howie Hawkins for the Green Party.
- We had a difficult time, in a number of instances, finding direct quotes from Joe Biden on his position. Most of the information available on his policies came as third-person statements by his campaign (i.e., As President, Joe Biden will…). On the flip side, in most cases, it was relatively simple to find personal statements by President Trump on his positions and policies. As such, when no direct quote was available for Joe Biden, we used his campaign’s third-person accounts.
- Due to the sheer volume of information, we’ve compiled our findings as a viewable and downloadable .pdf file instead of compiling all that content within this singular article. We have made our findings available as a downloadable reference sheet that can be shared, printed, or stored as needed.
- We have used green highlight in the column marked “position” when the candidates actually agree on a specific issue (which is actually more often than one might think). A lighter shade of green was used in places where the candidates agree only partially.
- We have used yellow highlight in the position column every time the candidate has had a position change or changes. Some voters believe that, without reasonable explanation for the change, these wavering positions indicate unreliability and/or a potential red-flag when it comes to campaign funding. The majority of voters, across all party lines, agree that a position change in exchange for campaign funding is political corruption. As such, we felt it may be beneficial to highlight these instances so you can judge for yourself. A lighter shade of yellow was used to indicate partial changes in position.
- We have cited policy and positions as they pertain to the upcoming election and, unless an overt change of position has been noted or reference to a past position would be relevant, we have left past actions out of our research (For example, we have cited not what President Trump has already done as COVID response, but what he is currently doing and plans to do going forward).
Other Election Issues You Might Need to Know About Before You Choose Your Candidate
Crime and Justice
- DC Statehood
- Net Neutrality
- Paid Family and Medical Leave
- Public Sector Unions
- Puerto Rico Statehood
- Social Media Regulation
- Universal Childcare
- Fossil Fuel Extraction from Public Land
- Green New Deal
- Keystone XL
- Nuclear Power
- Paris Climate Agreement
- China Tariffs
- Cuba Embargo
- Iran Nuclear Deal
- Open Skies Treaty
- Withdrawing Troops from Middle East
- Withdrawing Troops from Syria