What is at Stake

By Zach Cunning

“This is the most important election of our time,” is a tired cliché, worn thin by countless candidates seeking to instill a sense of urgency in their electorate. For once, it is actually true.

About the only thing both parties agree on: the outcome of Nov. 3 will shape American life for the next generation.

Gun control, abortion rights and healthcare, in particular the Affordable Care Act, will be the long-lasting issues on which this race pivots.

There has been a national increase in gun violence in recent months. As the Sun Times reported in September, shootings in Chicago alone are up 50% compared to the same time last year. Alongside the presence of armed militias in state capitols and at protests, divisions between pro and anti-second amendment communities have only increased.

Both sides of the issue are looking eagerly at their favored; the left to push through stricter controls on purchases and assault weapons, the right to keep the left from doing just that.

In Illinois state races, abortion is a minimal topic right now. Both houses of the state’s general assembly are controlled by the Democrats. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Governor Pritzker signed legislation establishing the, “the ‘fundamental right’ of a woman to have an abortion,” last year.

On the national stage, however, abortion has rarely been a hotter issue. The New York Times said it is unlikely Trump’s nominee to the supreme court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, will address Roe V. Wade head on in her confirmation hearing. Instead, they expect her to move for hearing cases chipping away at abortion rights.

How does this impact the election?

Voters and leaders on the right, which tend heavily toward anti-abortion sentiments, will be chomping at the bit to push through restrictive abortion legislation as soon as the supreme court is in a position to let it stand. Alabama and Louisiana, as well as Judge Barrett’s home state of Indiana, have already been testing the waters in recent years.

While the court struck down Louisiana’s law, which required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges, the majority was extremely narrow. Chief Justice Roberts was the deciding vote and based his decision on precedent, not morals.

For those on the left, the likelihood of a 6-3 Supreme Court split favoring conservatives is looming. Those who are staunchly pro-choice or pro-abortion rights, will be scrambling to elect state law makers who will follow Gov. Pritzker’s example and enshrine women’s right to choose in their laws, while biting their nails over what happens on the national stage.

Tying into abortion, but deserving its own category in making Nov. 3 a defining election, is the right/left split over healthcare. What was already a contentious issue, revolving around the Obama era Affordable Care Act, became exponentially more important during the pandemic.

Both Trump and Biden are running on reducing American’s medical costs.

Biden claims he will expand eligibility for Medicaid, maintain Obamacare, and expand affordable health coverages by capping premiums on the individual marketplace. For a family of four making $110,000 annually, his campaign says that premium would be 8.5% of the family’s income. If the family is covered by an employer, but the individual marketplace’s cap would lower their premium, they can switch to the cheaper plan.

Trump’s campaign website does not layout what the president intends to do on healthcare in a second term. His website contains a, “promises kept,” section where the president’s actions in the current term are listed. Among them, it claims Trump removed the individual mandate, which penalized uninsured taxpayers, and that the FDA approved a record number of cheaper generic drugs under his administration.

Trump has continuously claimed he will repeal the Affordable Care Act during his term, but has failed to do so and has not offered a replacement national plan for healthcare.

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