Election 2020

What Are the Best and Worst Things About Donald Trump and Joe Biden?

An election-eve primer on The Reason Roundtable


Though 100 million of you have already cast your ballots, and there never really were many undecided voters to begin with this time around, let us not look this gift horse('s ass) of an election in the mouth. Today's Reason Roundtable podcast provides some last-minute shopping analysis of the two main candidates in our national elderly man contest.

On this episode, Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, Matt Welch, and Katherine Mangu-Ward try our level best to say something nice about the existing presidency of Donald Trump and prospective presidency of Joe Biden, while of course perhaps spending a wee bit more time talking about the worst aspects of both. Along the way we discuss pre-election window-plywooding, post-election scenarios for weirdness, and our colleague Damon Root's excellent new book, A Glorious Liberty: Frederick Douglass and the Fight for an Antislavery Constitution.

Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.

Music: "Bring to Light" by Max H. https://artlist.io/song/9547/bring-to-light

Relevant links from the show:

"The Case Against Trump: Donald Trump Is an Enemy of Freedom," by Matt Welch

"The Case Against Biden: Joe Biden's Politics of Panic," by Jacob Sullum

"Why Biden is a Lesser Evil than Trump," by Ilya Somin

"11 Trillion Reasons To Fear Joe Biden's Presidency," by Nick Gillespie

"How Will Reason Staffers Vote in 2020?" by Reason Staff

"Major Cities Spend Weekend Prepping for Possible Election Night Riots," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Republicans Are Trying To Cancel More Than 100,000 Votes in a Deep Blue Part of Texas," by Eric Boehm

"Supreme Court Ruling Means We Probably Won't Know Who Won Pennsylvania Until Days After Election," by Eric Boehm

"Make Elections Not Matter So Much Again," by J.D. Tuccille

"Don't Freak Out About the Election," by John Stossel

"Shrooms Are on the D.C. Ballot," by Max Dunat

"Why Electing Biden (or Trump) Won't Settle Anything for Long," by Nick Gillespie

NEXT: Morris P. Fiorina: Why 'Electoral Chaos' Is Here To Stay

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Did anyone mention no new wars?

    1. Why would anyone mention that?

      1. We have a President who has kept the US out of new wars running against a guy who voted for many, many wars.

        If you’re not supporting Trump, don’t you dare complain when Biden gets us into a new war.

        1. That should have been in sarcasm font.

          Trump’s foreign policy has been a total repudiation of the Bush Jr./Obama flavor of neoconservatism, and Trump’s record on foreign policy is an excellent reason to vote for him.

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        2. Obama didn’t start any new wars either, and Trump has only escalated the existing ones.

          What you’re praising him for is his total disengagement from foreign policy except for the occasional fist-mash on his perceived tribal enemies. He kills more foreign civilians than Obama ever did (remember the evil drone strikes?) and he’s twisted the screw on Iran for no reason other than a misunderstanding about the nuclear deal because he watches too much FOX News.

          1. Obama turned Libya into a Somalia-like failed state. And Obama let ISIS get going. And he sent troops all over the world, including to Cameroon.

            Also, Obama isn’t running. We have the guy who voted for most of the last 40+ years of wars versus the guy who started no new wars, involved the US in no new wars, defeated ISIS, and is bringing troops home from Afghanistan.

    2. What about the Abraham accords?

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  2. Best things about Joe:

    ✔Not an old man
    ✔Not senile
    ✔Solid running mate
    ✔No evidence of corruption EVER
    ✔No shady deals with foreign communist regimes
    ✔Not creepy with little girls
    ✔Doesn’t sniff hair
    ✔Son is not a crackhead/ possible pedo
    ✔Doesn’t forget what office he’s running for regularly
    ✔Doesn’t forget where he is regularly
    ✔Doesn’t forget his own name
    ✔Doesn’t craps pants on live TV

    The choice is clear.

    1. Joe never slandered a totally dead man as a drunk driver at fault for the fatal accident that killed his wife and daughter to draw sympathy for political gain either.

    2. Doesn’t sexually assault his employees, and fire them when they complain…

  3. The best things about Donald Trump include the following:

    Corporate Tax Cuts
    Powell-Weinberger Doctrine
    Pragmatic Foreign Policy
    Opposition to the Green New Deal and Paris Accord
    Support for Gun Rights
    Judge Selections
    Opposition to Bailing Out States

    You can take the opposite of each and every one of those things and get the worst things about Biden–but add in a refusal to disavow packing the Supreme Court

    The worst things about Trump are his trade policy (no worse than Biden) and his opposition to immigration.

    There is no legitimate libertarian capitalist argument for Biden. Even his support for immigration goes about it by unconstitutional means. Biden represents the biggest threat to libertarian capitalism in our lifetimes.

    1. First Step Act
      Abraham Accords
      Lowest black incarceration rate since WW2.

      1. Lowest minority unemployment in a century prior to pandemic.

        1. Lowest black unemployment since the end of slavery…

        2. Just ignore the pandemic and he can take credit for all of Obama’s accomplishments!

      2. he also apparently has that superpower he must have gained going through one of those naked body xrays at the airport [every superhero needs an origin story] …. only instead of his body revealed under his clothes [yes, instead – thankfully] it has morphed in him to project outwards and reveal the deceit and hypocrisy in the media, the politicians of all stripes, the intelligence communities, the scienticians, etc.etc.etc….

    2. his opposition to immigration.

      His ‘Muslim Ban’ was lifted whole cloth from the Obama/Biden administration, no actual wall was built but 3rd Party deals were established or reinforced everywhere between our side of the Mexican border and Guatemala. Any opposition to his immigration policy walks the razor’s edge of saying MS-13 should be allowed to chase people across the border.

      His trade policy is worse but, even then, it’s not worse than the ‘go along to get along’ Obama/Biden policy. Agreed that they’re probably his worst policies, but your previous sentence still applies.

      1. If the worst thing we got in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting was a bumpstock ban, that’s a home run compared to Biden.

        On Biden’s campaign website, he’s promising to make gun manufacturers liable for the crimes people commit with their guns, reinstate the ban on “assault weapons”, track the people who already own them, ban the sale of both guns and ammo online, and establish a national gun confiscation policy.


        If you think we should vote for Biden despite all that–because Trump supported a bumpstock ban–you’re fucking nuts.

        1. You know, you’d think a Libertarian magazine/website would write an article or 2 about Democratic Presidential nominee’s anti-2nd Amendment positions. Crickets huh?

          Fuck you Reason. You’re all fake Libertarians. You’re just part of the MSM and this point. Trump was right. The media is an enemy of the USA. The people, not the communist regime you’re helping to create.

      2. It was stupid, and Trump took gun owners’ Mom out for a seafood dinner, and then never called her again. LOL at his Second Amendment Coalition. Maybe if his kid wasn’t occupied with trying out some strange, he could have run with that group?

        Biden’s still going to be a hell of a lot worse.

    1. Let me get the senility decoder ring out…

  4. Clearly the best thing about Biden is that he isn’t trump, and the best thing about trump is that he isn’t biden

    1. The best thing about Biden is that he isn’t Trump, the best thing about Trump is that he isn’t Biden and didn’t pick Harris as his running mate.

  5. Be very afraid of Kamala as the next incarnation of John Podesta. She’s preaching from the 2016 Center For American Progress playbook hailing behavioral science in the service of behavior modification as the next big thing in Federal technocracy.

    No more thinking outside the Skinner Box.


    1. What are you some kinda behavioral science denier?

  6. Stop putting democrats up as credible candidates against republicans. They are not.

    1. I defy anyone to tell us what’s good about Biden from a libertarian capitalist perspective.

      I saw two possibilities:

      1) Trade Policy

      Biden is no better than Trump on that count.

      2) Immigration

      I like Biden better, but DACA clearly violates the separation of powers. You can’t like Biden on DACA and also oppose the president fighting undeclared wars. They’re both enumerated powers of Congress.

      Are they any others?

      Can anybody list one good thing about Biden that’s good from a libertarian capitalist perspective?

      1. 1) he is worse since he would give away US developed IP while still allowing china to act against free market principles.

      2. I like Biden better, but DACA clearly violates the separation of powers.

        When Reagan enacted the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was Biden for/against? If he voted “for” how did he act with regard to the lack of enforcement that exacerbated the problem?

        When Clinton added 325 mi. to the border wall in 1993, was Biden for or against it? If “for” what changed between ’86 and ’93 and then changed *again* between ’93 and ’20?

      3. Bankruptcy reform

        Biden made the deadbeats pay MBNA.

        1. “A son of Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden was paid an undisclosed amount of money as a consultant by MBNA, the largest employer in Delaware, during the years the senator supported legislation that was promoted by the credit card industry and opposed by consumer groups.”

          —-CBS News, August 5, 2008


          You’re listing yet another example of Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s corruption–as an excellent reason to vote for him?

          How embarrassing for you!

          1. MBNA’s consulting payments to Hunter Biden, first reported by The New York Times, followed his departure in 2001 from the company, where he had been an executive.

            . . . .

            At the time Hunter Biden was receiving consulting payments from MBNA, he also was a Washington lobbyist at a firm he had co-founded.

            . . . .

            MBNA employees have poured more than $200,000 into Biden’s Senate campaigns over the past two decades, making donors working for the credit card company the senator’s largest source of campaign money.


            Why is Joe Biden such a corrupt piece of shit?

            1. Because

              P.S.: Joe Biden is a crook.

  7. Trump’s opponents, including Reason, are a damn strong recommendation for him

  8. Trump best: avoided new wars
    Trump worst: huge budget deficits

    Biden best: will probably be an ineffective leader, decreasing the likelihood of any of his counterproductive policies getting implemented

    Biden worst: plan to bail out the blue state pension plans

    1. Funny that Reason has spent ZERO time/space discussing Trump’s successful opposition to the Democrat’s blue state pension bailout. Libertarians should be thrilled that Trump and Senate GOP has blocked this bailout successfully.

      The only person on Reason talking about is Ken Shultz…on the comment boards. Seriously guys/gals, we need a real Libertarian site with writers/reporters that are actual Libertarians.

  9. I said it before and I’ll say it again, if the last five years hasn’t shown you who not to vote for then you probably shouldn’t be voting.

    1. Yes, the left has been disgraceful and terrifying

  10. The best thing about Biden is he won’t last long in office.
    The worst thing about Biden is he won’t last long in office. We get Harris.

    1. And she’s scary and black and probably a shrill woman too.

      1. 2 out of three Tony. She’s scary and shrill but she ain’t black.

  11. Listening and I am reminded that I dooo. notttttt. understanddddd. the reason-style libertarian’s fascination with open immigration. Letting folks in from illiberal societies around the globe that do not have a tradition of Western liberal thought, is a suicide wish for the ideas of the West, including libertarianism. And sometimes a literal suicide wish for the citizens of the West. Not to mention that open immigration is completely inconsistent with the other major libertarian position on international politics, non-interventionism in foreign societies and no foreign wars. If we want to leave “them” alone (no wars, no interventionism, which are fantastic ideas), wouldn’t we also want “them” to leave “us” alone (no immigration). It can’t be a one-way street, that makes no sense. And again, it’s culturally suicidal.

  12. Donald Trump was an aggressive Personality, Whereas Joe Biden is a kind of cram and relaxed one.
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  14. Support Biden.
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