Americans unite around 3 core issues as election 2024 looms

by Will Tubbs
Americans Unite on 3 Core Issues

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

If numerous polls are to be believed – there is a rational argument to be made and historical precedent to suggest they can’t always be – the 2024 presidential election will come down to a collection of generally shared worries for all Americans. 

Even in a nation popularly described as divided, there are still some issues that unite the bulk of the country irrespective of political leaning. And, further evidence that most Americans are closer together than they are apart, none of the causes most often ascribed to the left or right figure to decide the election. 

There is some variance among major, mainstream polls, but the consensus as of spring was that the economy, and all that the issue entails, will drive most Americans’ voting choices. 

Both Pew Research and Statista list the economy as the most consequential, though by no means only, issue of 2024. 

Depending on the poll, the next most important issue is national security (inclusive of border security, immigration, and defense) or the cost of healthcare. 

It’s appropriate that humans, at our root, are never too far away from the age-old desire for life’s essentials.

From the days of the Israelites murmuring in the Wilderness through King Hezekiah worrying over his ailment through the time of our Lord and Savior imploring people to think first of Heaven and then of worldly needs through the present day, humans have always fixated on self-preservation. 

Therefore, it should shock no one that keeping food on the table, medicine readily available, and outsiders at bay track atop the issues that will decide the 2024 race. 

LGBTQ issues, the environment, protecting Free Speech, and the Second Amendment are not at the forefront of people’s minds, at least not compared to the Big 3 of economy, security and health. 

While it’s impossible to predict that being stronger on any of this trio of issues will necessarily lead to a win in November, it’s useful to explore where former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden fall on these and select other issues. 

ECONOMY

Trump has hedged that his record on the economy will be a strength for him compared to Biden.

He never misses an opportunity to remind Americans that, prior to COVID, the economy under Trump was strong or that inflation and the cost of living under Biden has been a four-year bout of misery. 

“Joe Biden is the destroyer of America’s jobs and continues to fuel runaway inflation with reckless big government spending,” a statement on Trump’s campaign website reads. “President Trump’s vision for America’s economic revival is lower taxes, bigger paychecks, and more jobs for American workers.”

Biden, despite reality painting a far less rosy picture, is focusing on the positives of the economy under his watch. Specifically, he is fond of touting that unemployment is under 4%, a claim critics say is correct only if the numbers are strategically crunched, and that the economy has grown steadily. 

“Republicans have no plan to lower costs,” a statement by Biden in reaction to the first-quarter jobs report, reads. “They are fighting to give the wealthy and big corporations more tax cuts while cutting programs like Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. They think the best way to grow the economy is from the top down. The American people know we need to build it from the middle out and the bottom up, so the middle class has a fair shot and no one is left behind.”

Even if the unemployment rate is as marvelous as Biden suggests, it doesn’t account for the underemployed, the cost of living, or the immense spike in credit card debt over the past four years. 

The most recent Consumer Price Index suggests inflation has continued to grow, albeit at a lower rate than the truly abysmal first years of Biden. 

SECURITY

National security and immigration are likely to be a strength for Republicans and Trump this election cycle. 

The consensus among Americans, even those who were elected to office and are Democrats, is that we face a crisis in the form of a massive uptick of humanity entering the nation. 

In February, when the border crisis was at a zenith, Gallup reported that immigration had become the most important problem in the country, according to respondents. 

Trump is, as he always has been, taking a hardline approach to immigration and border security, vowing to “declare war” on drug cartels and seal the border. 

“The onslaught of illegal aliens invading our wide-open borders threatens public safety, drains the treasury, undermines U.S. workers, and burdens schools and hospitals,” the Trump campaign website reads. “President Trump will shut down Biden’s border disaster. He will again end catch-and-release, restore Remain in Mexico, and eliminate asylum fraud. In cooperative states, President Trump will deputize the National Guard and local law enforcement to assist with rapidly removing illegal alien gang members and criminals. He will also deliver a merit-based immigration system that protects American labor and promotes American values.”

Biden is stuck between the heavily pro-immigration wing of his party and the reality that most Americans are not members of said wing. 

“The President has secured more resources for border security than any President before him, and in October he requested even more funding to secure the border, build capacity to enforce immigration law, and counter illicit fentanyl ,” a White House fact sheet released in March reads. “The Administration has deployed the most agents and officers ever to address the situation at the southwest border, seized record levels of illicit fentanyl at our ports of entry, and brought together world leaders on a framework to deal with changing migration patterns that are impacting the entire Western Hemisphere.”

Biden nonetheless hopes to appear tough on immigration without coming across as too tough on the people seeking to immigrate. 

This has led to bouts of both-and approaches as Biden seeks to take steps to quell concerns about the influx of people into the country without slowing the flow too much. 

Wednesday, the New York Post reported that Biden was considering closing the border via executive order, an announcement that sounds quite resolute until one encounters the fine print. 

The border would only close once encounters eclipse 4,000 per day, meaning tens or hundreds of thousands of people will enter the country before the closure. 

HEALTHCARE

On paper, Biden should be the leader in the area of healthcare. Democrats have long positioned themselves as the party more interested in lowering the cost of healthcare for Americans. 

Indeed, the promise, one might call it a pipedream, of the left is lowering the cost to 0 through universal healthcare. But this issue hasn’t gained steam even at the state level in Democrat-dominated California, so the topic isn’t as strong for Biden or Democrats as one might assume. 

Biden is marketing himself on what he says is a strong set of healthcare gains, but which are in reality incremental improvements. 

The largest achievement for Biden has been getting a law passed that allows Medicare to negotiate the price of a collection of drugs, a policy that will be implemented so slowly that it will be five or more years before anyone sees a benefit. 

Biden has overseen a spike in Americans carrying insurance. Last year, the Biden administration boasted (correctly) that the lowest number of people in American history, about 7.7 percent of the population, were uninsured. And those numbers have remained low. 

But, as reported by Axios, the cost of healthcare has ballooned under Biden, which could negate his achievements in the eyes of the public. 

Trump is not renowned for his passion for healthcare reform, but he has made the topic a part of his 2024 campaign. Broadly speaking, Trump has pledged, although with little specificity, that his goal is to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs. 

WHAT ABOUT ABORTION? 

The presidential frontrunners’ stances on abortion are by now well-known. What is perhaps less evident to people on the left and right is that the topic of abortion is not tracking to be as important an issue as it appeared destined to be with the fall of Roe v. Wade. 

According to KFF, a non-profit that specializes in healthcare and health policy research, about 1 in 8 voters views abortion, specifically access to abortions, as the most important issue in the upcoming election. That is 12.5% of voters and does not align with the data found by other research outlets. 

The strange data point here is what is not present in KFF’s report. Specifically, the organization did not track to what extent pro-life leanings would impact conservative voters. 

Given the pro-abortion stance of Biden and Trump’s desire to mostly avoid the topic, it’s likely inconsequential in voting terms how conservatives view the topic. There isn’t a person currently running for office who is doggedly pro-life to the point he’d advocate for federal policy. 

MONEY IN POLITICS MORE PREVALENT WORRY THAN YOU MIGHT GUESS

One data point that stood out as novel in assessing the big issues of 2024 was found in Pew’s research. 

Pew, which asked respondents if various topics should or should not be a major priority in 2024, got some predictable answers. Seventy-three percent of respondents said strengthening the economy should be a priority, by far the highest number of “yes” responses in the poll. 

Sixty-three percent said protecting the nation against terrorists should be a priority and 60% said the same about reducing healthcare costs. 

However, tucked in the data among the higher-ranking topics was “reducing the influence of money in politics.” About 62 percent of respondents said this should be a priority. 

In keeping with the traditions of American politics, both Trump and Biden say they are for the little person. 

Biden, who has fundraised more than Trump according to the New York Times, is well-known for positioning himself as an enemy of billionaires and corporations – even if he happily accepts campaign donations from members of both groups. 

He has also made numerous statements about the need to get “dark money” out of politics. 

In 2022, as reported by Sludge, Biden told a press gathering, “Dark money erodes public trust. We need to protect public trust. And I’m determined to do that.”

That determination seems to have been shortlived or limited to other people’s campaigns as, according to Sludge’s Donald Shaw, Biden has already received $85 million in donations from nonprofit organizations and shell companies that do not disclose their donors, the type of activity Biden would label as dark if it occurred on the right. 

Trump has not made dark money a part of his 2024 campaign. While Trump has his share of wealthy backers and loyal Super PACs, he has also sought to build portions of his campaign chest on smaller donations from individuals. It’s unclear what percentage of Trump’s campaign funds come from working-class Americans. 

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