[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country. This essay reflects the views of one mother—we invite you to also read As a mother, I'm voting for Joe Biden.]
Confession #1: I didn't vote for Trump the first time.
Confession #2: I'm old enough to remember what our country went through during the sexual scandal of President Clinton. So in 2016, in the spirit of not repeating history (coupled with a multitude of other reasons why I was not a Hilary fan), I couldn't vote for Clinton. But, it also didn't seem right to vote for a self-proclaimed "p***y-grabbing" Tweet-assailer. I was told he was the epitome of all that is evil in the world and would be the reason for the premature ending of the world. Ultimately, I voted Independent.
But the 2016 election nevertheless served as a significant turning point for me as it was for many others. I felt the need to dig deeper.
Let's back up. Had I read the 2016 Republican Platform before casting my ballot? Sadly, no. But as Maya Angelou wrote—and as I now regularly tell my kids—"When you know better you do better." So this year, I decided I would do better; to delve into learning what each candidate believes in, why they do and what the best and worst possible outcomes are.
Moms want to leave a better world behind for our kids. I do, and I bet you do, too. I believe the Trump-Pence administration will continue to do exactly that. They stand for the parts of American culture that has set America apart from every other country of the world: the American Dream; American exceptionalism; that the Declaration of Independence affirms the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all; that government must be limited in its power; that we as Americans seek friendship with all nations, but we also recognize that evil exists in this world, and we will defend against it; that freedom is an essential ingredient in every area of our lives.
Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, I hope you'll read this with an open mind. I also hope that the Biden supporters reading this who have somewhere along the line conflated all Republicans to be racist-climate-change-denying-xenophobes, will feel the twinge of some ice melt between our parties, however small.
I'll go first with an olive branch: The Democrat Party for this election did an impressively thorough job outlining solutions to end homelessness. Will Democratic and Republican mayors and governors take the ball and run? I would love to see that happen. Further, I believe there are countless ideals the Democratic party stands behind that, in theory, sound absolutely amazing: free college and free health care. Played out, I see these things chipping away at other peoples' freedoms, but I agree that in a "perfect world" we could both give away things for free and keep our cherished freedom.
But I digress; back to why I'm voting for our president. In the spirit of four more years, here are four reasons why as a mom, I am voting for Donald Trump.
1. The economy
Economic expansion and growth pre-pandemic and its steady recent rise are what Trump would call "marvelous—stupendous—the best ever." For many people, the firsthand proof for this was in the rising value of their 401(k). Even as COVID continues, according to the CEO of ShareBuilder 401(k), those who contributed to their portfolios or stayed with their investment strategies, are in "good or better shape with the 401(k) balance versus pre-pandemic."
Want more proof our economy was doing great pre-COVID? Examine for yourself our record-low unemployment. U.S. unemployment in February 2020 was down to 3.5%, the lowest it's been for more than 50 years. Due to the shut-downs, it set another record when it spiked to 14.7%—but as of September was already down to 7.9% and continues to fall.
Let's also talk about the poverty rate. At the September 29th debate, Trump claimed to have had, pre-pandemic, the "largest poverty reduction under any president in history" bringing 4.2 million people out of poverty (raw data on this here). In fact, the Current Population Report for 2019 by the U.S. Census Bureau supports all of President Trump's impressive stats.
According to this report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2019, every demographic of people (age, sex, race, college education, marital status, etc.) have seen an overall improvement since President Trump was elected into office: "Nearly 8 in 10 white adults and two-thirds of Black and Hispanic adults were at least doing okay financially in 2019. The gaps in economic well-being by race and ethnicity remained at least as large as they were in 2013, even as the economy has strengthened and overall well-being improved."
2. Public safety
Financial security aside, let's examine our physical safety and security.
Many of us are all too aware of the heartbreaking rising rate of homicides this year. We have seen upticks in violent crime all over the nation, like that in Aurora, CO, where murders are up by 72.2% as of September 2020. As a mom, the person I vote for should have a solid plan to lower crime. I believe innocent civilians should be protected first; I believe criminals should be dealt with humanely, but also with sentencing that will decrease recidivism.
Here is why I think Trump's plans are the best policies for our country at this time, and why the strategies of Biden-Harris' public safety and crime prevention do not put me at ease,as a parent living in the high-crime city of Los Angeles, California.
Trump's First Step Act received enthusiastic bipartisan support. The purpose of this act was to reform federal prisons and sentencing laws to prevent recidivism and improve public safety. Trump knows, as we all do, that while police officers make mistakes, and there are plenty of components of the criminal system that need fixing, taking police off the streets of heavy-crime areas will only hurt crime victims in those areas. And they deserve protection from domestic enemies, as outlined in the Declaration of Independence. Trump is continuing to push for better reform and more appropriate sentencing, but also has a strong focus on full protection of innocent victims as well as support for the men and women that protect us every day—the police.
In a perfect world, there would be no need for police. But the question our politicians must answer to is: Should a city's police budget correlate to their crime rates? Senator Harris made it clear in this video that a city whose police budget was 30% of their overall budget, regardless of its crime rate, would be an overfunding of police. Even though Biden and Harris both regularly say, "We do not support defunding the police," their campaign overall goes hand-in-hand with Black Lives Matter (both the organization and the movement) which calls for defunding police.
Other democrats, like Ilhan Omar, stand for the dismantling of her city's police department; Congresswoman Omar uses verbiage eyebrow-raisingly similar to how Biden-Harris speak on this subject. Which is why President Trump has called them out. Biden-Harris are seeking to defund our police forces, and for the current rates of crime, as it stands, I believe our safety would be in jeopardy if the Democratic party was in charge.
3. Academic excellence for all
The Trump-Pence administration also continues to bring a very strong crime-prevention game when they put emphasis on education and school choice in America's most crime-ridden neighborhoods. In June, President Trump stated, "No child in America should lack access to quality education—and zip codes should never determine a child's future."
Giving parents the option to enroll their children in the school of their choice is what America is all about, after all: the freedom to choose and the ability to make choices that will improve the lives of our kids.
4. Available, quality health care
Predictably, healthcare rates as a critical issue for voters more now than ever before. But before we examine it up close, I would like to offer this "big picture" perspective. In my opinion, our nation's healthcare system(s) serves as the perfect example of the vital importance of keeping our government small. If ever there were a time that you would question whether citizens fare better with a government that has greater versus lesser control over our lives, this would be a great time to ponder such things. In a government-run healthcare system, the government is considered "third payer:" it is neither the one paying for, nor the one receiving services, and therefore has no incentive to minimize inefficiencies or provide high-quality care.
This article from the National Library of Medicine outlines key concerns when it comes to government-funded healthcare: "No centralized system of health care can determine the millions of individual demands in the market place for each patient.
As many Americans have seen in the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") which has increased insurance premiums, many believe this is why we have fewer insured citizens today. I spoke with CeeJae Bush, a 52-year-old mother who lives in Alabama, who shared this experience with the ACA: "I couldn't afford Obamacare, my insurance doubled and I was fined during tax time and I do not get a return. I did without healthcare for over 4 years in which I didn't see a single doctor. I was also laid off twice during the Obama years. Now I have private insurance and make twice what I made then. I usually vote Independent, so I didn't vote for Trump in 2016. But I'm all about his policies now. So much so, I ended my vacation early this year so I could go vote for our president in person."
When I asked a mom of three, someone I know who is a native of France, how she feels about government-run health care, she stated: "In theory, it works. In France, it doesn't. It's a system with HUGE amounts of abuse, like elective surgeries paid for by the state and money incentives to keep having kids for those on welfare." She also told of her brother, living in Canada at the time, who went septic because after his appendix burst while he was in the ER, he couldn't get a CT scan approval to prove his appendicitis. "But at the same time," she said, "I believe the cost of healthcare is horrendous in the US. I don't know what the solution is, but it's not any of the current systems."
To combat this, and to increase better quality health care for all, the Center for Medicare Services administrator, Seema Verma summarized the Trump administration as prioritizing, "policies that introduce choice and competition in (Medicare) Part D." This is the Trump's administration of privatizing healthcare, which will benefit more people in a bigger way.
So, who is trying to make health care actually affordable and provide top-notch care for the most people? I believe all signs point to Trump.
My switch to Trump began when I started researching key issues on my own. As a mom of four, I know full well how hard it is to carve out the time to do this. But as vital as voting is, I believe informed voting is even better. For those that are open to hearing an alternate side to left-leaning news sources, may I recommend: The Daily Wire, Prager U for 5-minute videos, and Larry Elder (Mr. Elder is Trump's newest appointed member of the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys). If you're looking for a book that would take a 10-day tropical vacation to get through, Thomas Sowell is your man. Another great read is The War on Cops, by Heather MacDonald. If you're short on time, Daniel Crenshaw, Kimberly Klacik and Tim Scott all offer quick overviews of major issues on their websites, or you can watch Jack Brewer's 4-minute RNC speech which addresses racism head-on.
I know that total agreement on all issues is not possible, and it may not even be the goal. We are a wonderfully diverse country and should expect a diversity of thought. But instead of focusing on what divides us, let's all pause in this historical moment to examine the things we do agree on and take the time to listen to each other. I believe that by doing that, we can not only envision a brighter future for our kids but vote in an informed way that our future is ensured to all future Americans.