Know Your Candidate: How each presidential candidate responds to the issues

Part Three: Continued fossil fuel use, tariffs on China, troops in the Middle East, and right to abortion

Know Your Candidate: How each presidential candidate responds to the issues
Your Voice, Your Vote

Editor’s Note: This article is Part 3 of a four-part series covering some of the most important issues to voters. Click here to read either Part One or Part Two.

(KLTV) - With more than 4 million votes counted as of Sunday, Oct. 18, Texas is leading the pack when it comes to early voting.

Voters will decide between four presidential candidates who are vying for 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

They are listed in alphabetical order, along with their running mates:

Know Your Candidate is a digital series published every week in October that will explore issues that are important to voters, as well as the position each candidate holds.

Data collected by the Britannica ProCon graded candidates with a ‘YES’ if they responded in favor of an issue, ‘NO’ if they opposed, ‘NC’ if it’s not clear whether they oppose or support, and ‘?’ if their position on an issue could not be found.

Part One: Defunding police, universal background checks, and the government regulation of social media

Part Two: Shutdowns, wealth tax, student loan forgiveness, and expanding vote-by-mail

Should the U.S. expand fossil fuel extraction on public land?

Fossil fuels -- oil, natural gas, coal -- have long been the energy on which the U.S. runs. Critics of the use of fossil fuel energy would contend that decades of exhaust and emissions have taken a grim toll on the environment.

President Trump’s policies regarding environmentalism and green energy are scarce. The Trump administration has received criticism from the renewable energy industry and climate experts for the president’s commitment to advancing the fossil fuel industry rather than investing in clean energy.

“The previous administration tried to put America’s vast energy resources under lock and key. ‘We don’t want energy,’” the president said during a briefing in May 2019. "I don’t know what they were thinking. And they tried to put energy producers out of business. But no more. It’s a great business. It’s a vital business for our country.

Know Your Candidate: How each presidential candidate responds to the issues
Know Your Candidate: How each presidential candidate responds to the issues (Source: Jeff Wright, KLTV News)

Howie Hawkins and Joe Biden both support ending the use of public land for mining, drilling, and fracking.

“Biden will take Executive Action protecting America’s natural treasures by permanently protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas, establishing national parks and monuments that reflect America’s natural heritage, banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters, modifying royalties to account for climate costs, and establishing targeted programs to enhance reforestation and develop renewables on federal lands and waters with the goal of doubling offshore wind by 2030,” reads an excerpt from Biden’s campaign site.

Hawkins contends he is the only candidate to sign the 350 Action’s Day One Pledge, which asks presidential candidates to take steps on their first day of office to combat climate change.

As a whole, the Libertarian Party’s primary platform is opposition to government interference into personal, family, and business decisions. This platform factors into Jorgensen’s green energy policies.

“Worldwide, I believe we need to consider all scientific and economic knowledge to care for our environment and not cherry-pick data to support a pre-determined outcome,” according to Jorgensen’s website. “Most pollution is generated in developing countries, so reducing pollution worldwide requires cost-efficient, zero-emission energy sources like nuclear.

“We cannot leave as important a priority as our environment to a government that can’t even deliver mail on time.”

Should the tariffs imposed on China by President Trump be maintained?

President Donald Trump announced in Aug. 2019 the U.S. would apply a new tariff of 10-percent on about $300 billion worth of products from China beginning Sept. 1, escalating the two countries' festering trade dispute.

“China has already started buying. They want to buy. They want to make a deal. They really have to make a deal. Their economy has been hurt very badly by what we’ve done and by the tariffs that we’ve charged,” Trump said during a White House briefing a month after the tariffs took effect.

While tariffs benefited some workers in import-competing industries, they hurt workers in sectors that rely on imported inputs and those in exporting industries facing retaliation from trade partners, according to global economist Geoffrey Gerst.

Know Your Candidate: How each presidential candidate responds to the issues
Know Your Candidate: How each presidential candidate responds to the issues (Source: Jeff Wright, KLTV News)

Joe Biden pointed to the impact on America’s farmers and rural communities, who he believes paid among the heaviest prices.

“While Trump is pursuing a damaging and erratic trade war without any real strategy, President Biden will stand up to China by working with our allies to negotiate from the strongest possible position. And, he’ll make sure our trade policy works for American farmers,” the former vice president’s campaign site states.

Jo Jorgensen’s campaign website says she opposes adding or increasing tariffs on products imported into the country, adding that “tariffs are taxes on Americans, and free trade benefits all involved.”

Howie Hawkins' campaign website echoes the sentiment: “International borders should be authentic fair-trade zones where people are free to travel across borders for work, shopping, recreation, and residence.”

Should the U.S. withdraw troops from the Middle East?

American troops have occupied various parts of the Middle East following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The U.S.-led invasion quickly toppled the Taliban from power, but the ensuing conflict dragged on far longer than expected.

Nearly 20 years later, the issue of withdrawing troops from shared military bases continues to be a recurring topic among presidential candidates.

The United States will pull thousands of troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan by November, the top American commander for the Middle East said in September, as President Donald Trump tries to make good on his campaign promise to get America out of “endless wars.”

“We went to war under a false & now disproven premise, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. There were NONE!" the president said on Twitter. "Now we are slowly & carefully bringing our great soldiers & military home. Our focus is on the BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!”

Know Your Candidate: How each presidential candidate responds to the issues
Know Your Candidate: How each presidential candidate responds to the issues (Source: Jeff Wright, KLTV News)

Biden was asked the same day whether he agreed with Trump’s move to draw down troops. “Yes I do,” Biden responded, “as long as there’s a plan to figure out how he’s going to deal with ISIS.”

Jo Jorgensen also supports bringing troops home but included the sale of weapons to other countries as an important point on the topic.

“I will bring home U.S. troops from the Middle East and ask Congress to repeal the [Authorization for Use of Military Force], which has become a blank check for Presidential interventionism,” Jorgensen said on Twitter. “I will end U.S. government involvement in the sale of weapons to other countries, especially in cases like Saudi Arabia, which is using our weapons to terrorize the people of Yemen.”

Howie Hawkins said on Twitter, “Pence says he and Trump are pro-life? Drone strikes are up. Troops deployed to Middle East are up. Deployment of hypersonic strategic nukes and tactical nukes in conventional forces is up. US combat troops deployed in 14 conflicts. Wars are not pro-life.”

Should abortion be legal?

Abortion is arguably the most divisive issue in politics today.

Roe v Wade is the landmark Supreme Court ruling from 1973 which safeguarded the right to an abortion on the national level. It protects a woman’s right to an abortion only until viability - the point at which a fetus is able to live outside the womb, generally by the start of the third trimester, 28 weeks into a pregnancy.

Then presidential candidate Trump in 2016 called overturning the ruling that legalized abortion a “litmus test,” stating that it will happen if he got to choose two or three new members of the court.

“As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions - Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother - the same position taken by Ronald Reagan," the president said on Twitter. “...We must stick together and Win for Life in 2020. If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard-fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear!”

Hawkins, in contrast, wants to pass a federal law that protects a woman’s right to have an abortion.

“This framework should be codified into federal law by an act of Congress. I oppose targeted regulation of abortion clinics and providers through laws or policies that go beyond what is necessary to ensure patients' safety," Hawkins said during the Green Party National Women’s Caucus. "I support laws that allow physicians as well as non-physician health professionals, including physicians' assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwives, to perform abortion procedures.”

Know Your Candidate: How each presidential candidate responds to the issues
Know Your Candidate: How each presidential candidate responds to the issues (Source: Jeff Wright, KLTV News)

Jo Jorgensen’s campaign website says of abortion, “Keep the government out of it, no subsidies, no regulations.”

Biden also supports enshrining Roe v. Wade, so if the Supreme Court should reconsider the precedent, that right would still exist.

“As president, Biden will work to codify Roe v. Wade, and his Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate the constitutional right to an abortion, such as so-called TRAP laws [Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers], parental notification requirements, mandatory waiting periods, and ultrasound requirements.”

Important election dates

Absentee ballot deadlines

Request: Oct. 23

Return by Mail: Postmarked by Nov. 3 by 7 p.m.

Early voting

Oct. 13 through Oct. 30, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.

Data used in the Know Your Candidates graphics was collected via Britannica’s ProCon.org database comparing the 2020 presidential candidates.

Copyright 2020 KLTV and KTRE. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.