The promises made by President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden before the election can actually be reduced to a simple formula: the incumbent promises more of his trademark Trump policies from the last four years – and his challenger promises the opposite.

Here’s a look at their positions on key political issues: Coronavirus: On the issue that has become the deciding factor for the election campaign and the US as a whole, the positions of the candidates could hardly be more different.

In his daily campaign speeches, Trump says time and again that the country will soon be out of the woods. He is counting on a rapid spread of new vaccines and effective anti-viral drugs. Experts warn that such a course could lead to high death rates, as the vaccines may not be available in sufficient quantities until spring.

Meanwhile, Biden wants to push through the widest possible use of masks by the public. Although he can hardly legally prescribe this nationwide, he hopes to convince the governors across the states to enforce it. Biden also plans more tests and an expansion of mask production in the US.

Economy: Trump claims to have created an economic boom partly through lower taxes. “We have made America wealthy again,” he says, pointing to a rise in stock prices. Trump promises further tax cuts in a possible second term. The size of Trump’s corporate tax cut is to be increased from 21 to 28 per cent.

Biden, on the other hand, is promising to get citizens with particularly high incomes and companies to pay more. Those who earn less than 400,000 dollars per year will not pay anything extra, he says.

Health: Republicans have been fighting for years to overturn former president Barack Obama’s healthcare reform, which brought health insurance coverage to some 20 million Americans – but in some cases higher payments as well. Trump continues to promise his own healthcare plan, which will be better and cheaper than the “terrible Obamacare” – but still has not presented it.

This timetable will become more pressing, should the Supreme Court overturn the Obama reform next year.
Meanwhile, Biden promises that “Obamacare” will be expanded, especially for those on low incomes.

Racism: Biden, who is popular with African Americans, says quite clearly that there is racism in the US, and that it is embedded in state institutions. Among other things, he wants to counteract it with police reform and better economic conditions for blacks.

Trump, however, denies systematic racism in the US, and has condemned the Black Lives Matter protest movement as a “socialist, Marxist organization.” His government has scaled back training against ethnic prejudice, while Trump wants to promote “patriotic education” to “teach children to love our country.”

Environment: On a White House list of more than 50 achievements, Trump hails the withdrawal from the “job-destroying” Paris Agreement on climate change.
Biden has announced that if he wins the elections he will bring the US back into the agreement. In the candidates’ second TV duel, the Democrat also said that in the long run, he wants to lead the country out of dependence on fossil fuels and instead focus more on renewable energies.

On his list of successes, Trump advertises that oil production has reached an all-time high. His government extended the ban on offshore drilling around Florida, but at the same time allowed production in a nature reserve in Alaska. Regarding the forest fires in California, Trump said he thinks the climate will cool down again, remarking: “science does not know.”

Foreign Policy: Trump cancelled US participation in the international nuclear deal with Iran, intensified the confrontation with China, withdrew from UNESCO and the World Health Organization, and strained relations with NATO allies. That is the course Trump wants to continue – and Biden would turn back.

Trump’s foreign policy achievements include the decimation of the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS), the far-reaching withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan – and that there was no war with North Korea. At the same time, these are all trouble spots that a President Biden would inherit.

Migration: Trump’s commitment four years ago included the promise to stop illegal immigration from Mexico with a border fence. This fence is still being built. There are still big plans for a second term: Trump wants to end the DACA programme of his predecessor Obama to legalize migrants who came to the US as children – and thereby kick millions of immigrants out of the country. Biden’s plan, on the other hand, is to open the way to citizenship for more people living in the US without papers.