Updated Mar 16, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump and Biden's key campaign stances in sequel election

Trump (L) and Biden (R) stand on a debate stage at lecterns. A symbol with a bald eagle in the background said "the union and constitution forever."

Then-President Trump and now-President Biden debate each other in October 2020 in Nashville. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The 2024 presidential election between President Biden and former President Trump is the first presidential rematch since 1956, but this is no re-run of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Reproductive rights, border security, the economic well-being of Americans and democratic values are on the ballot, and Axios looked into candidates' stances on the key issues.

Abortion and reproductive rights

Trump has repeatedly boasted about appointing the conservative Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade, making abortion a state-level policy.

  • But since the Dobbs decision, Trump has warned Republicans against embracing abortion restrictions with no exceptions, seeing it as a clear political vulnerability.
  • Many of the strict abortion bans in GOP-led states begin at or around six weeks of pregnancy.
  • Recently, Trump has privately expressed support for a 16-week national abortion ban with exceptions in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening pregnancy complications.

Biden, a practicing Catholic, has said he's personally uncomfortable with abortion, but he has made protecting a woman's right to choose one of the centerpieces of his 2024 campaign.

  • Biden has called for Congress to codify Roe v. Wade at the federal level, and he warned in his State of the Union speech that anti-abortion Republicans "have no clue about the power of women in America."
  • Vice President Kamala Harris, who has led much of the campaign's messaging on reproductive rights, in March became the highest-ranking elected official to visit an abortion clinic while in office.

Between the lines: Attempts to expand abortion rights have succeeded every time they've been on the ballot since the federal right to an abortion was taken away.

Zoom in: Alabama's Supreme Court ruled in February that frozen embryos are considered children under state law.

  • The decision temporarily halted in vitro fertilization treatments in Alabama and raised legal questions about the continuing fallout from the end of Roe v. Wade.
  • Trump said he supports the availability of IVF, but Biden's campaign and Democrats have sought to pressure Republicans to codify fertility protections at the federal level.

Immigration and border policy

Immigration has become a top concern for voters leading into the 2024 election, according to polling. Last month, Biden and Trump both visited border cities in Texas to discuss their policies.

Trump, who campaigned in 2016 on a pledge to "build the wall," is now vowing to launch "the largest domestic deportation operation in American history."

  • Trump has said undocumented immigrants are "poisoning the blood of our country" and warned of a wave of "migrant crime" enabled by Biden's policies.

Biden has struggled to manage the record flow of migrants at the southern border, which has strained the resources of major American cities and led to a shift in Democratic thinking about immigration.

Ukraine funding

Biden has vowed to support Ukraine against Russia's invasion "for as long as it takes," but House Republicans have refused to hold a vote on new foreign aid amid pressure from their "America First" base.

  • House Republicans once said they would back Ukraine aid if it was paired with stronger border laws, but then claimed the bipartisan border security deal negotiated by Senate Republicans was not tough enough.

Trump has said he would end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours, but has not provided details on how he would do so.

  • Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Trump told him he would "not give a penny" to Ukraine as president, forcing Kyiv to negotiate with Russia.
  • Trump has also been a vocal critic of NATO, saying he would "encourage" Russia "to do whatever the hell they want" to a NATO ally if it didn't meet its military budget obligations.

Economy

Polling shows that Americans are worried about the economy ahead of the presidential election.

Biden has led the U.S. economy through a strong recovery from the pandemic, but persistent inflation has left many Americans dissatisfied with "Bidenomics."

  • On the campaign trail, Biden has touted his signature economic legislation, including the Inflation Reduction Act, the bipartisan infrastructure law and the CHIPS and Science Act.
  • Biden proposed a fiscal year 2025 budget with tax increases for the wealthiest Americans and large corporations to provide tax breaks for families and lower the deficit.

Trump has promised to "drill, baby, drill" on Day 1 of his presidency, claiming — despite record energy production — that unleashing the oil and gas industry will be key to easing inflation.

  • Trump also wants to impose a 60% tariffs on all Chinese imports, dramatically escalating the trade war with Beijing he started in office.
  • Many of the provisions of the 2017 Trump tax cuts will expire in 2025, meaning their renewal will be a key decision for the next president and Congress.

Fate of democracy

Trump is the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges. Two of his cases are related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, both at the federal level and in Georgia.

  • Among Trump's first acts if elected president would be to "free the January 6 hostages being wrongfully imprisoned," he said on Truth Social.
  • "We all saw with our own eyes the insurrectionists were not patriots," Biden said in his State of the Union address. "They had come to stop the peaceful transfer of power, to overturn the will of the people."
  • 74% of Americans believe Trump will refuse to concede if he loses in November, according to February polling.

The big picture: Biden and Trump have both secured enough delegates to clinch their parties' nominations, but the two men are far more unpopular than they were in 2020.

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