The rural perspective from the final presidential debate

The presidential candidates took to the stage for the final debate before Election Day.

COVID-19 was the first topic of the debate. President Donald Trump referenced Operation Warp Speed and says that the government has a plan to distribute a vaccine when it’s available. In the meantime, he says that they are providing much needed healthcare supplies.

According to the President, “If you take a look at what we’ve done in terms of goggles, and masks, and gowns, and everything else, and in particular ventilators. We are now making ventilators all over the world, thousands and thousands a month distributing them around the world.”

Coronavirus cases in rural America are currently higher for the fourth straight week.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said that he would not rule out more shutdowns in areas seeing case spikes, and his plan includes more preventative measures to slow the spread.

“What I would do is make sure we have everyone encouraged to wear a mask all the time. I would make sure we move in the direction of rapid testing, investing in rapid testing” Biden states. “I would make sure that we set up national standards on how to open up schools and open up businesses, so they can be safe, and give them the wherewithal, the financial resources, to be able to do that.”

Access to affordable healthcare was another topic, as the Trump administration is in the process of taking the Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court. President Trump says that he hopes to introduce his own plan.

“If we don’t win, we will have to run it and we’ll have Obamacare, but it will be better run, but it no longer is Obamacare because without the individual mandate it’s much different,” the President states. “Pre-existing conditions will always stay, what I would like to do is a much better healthcare, much better.”

Biden followed with an explanation of how he would update Obamacare into “Bidencare.”

“What I’m going to do is pass Obamacare with a public option, become Bidencare,” the former VP explains. “The public options is an option that says that if you in fact qualify for Medicaid and you do not have the wherewithal in your state to get Medicaid, you are automatically enrolled, providing competition for insurance companies.”

Later in the debate, the candidates discussed U.S. relations with China. President Trump pointed to market facilitation payments as a sign of his commitment to farmers.

“I just gave $28 billion to our farmers... you know who the taxpayer is, it’s called China. China paid $28 billion dollars, and you know what they did to pay it Joe. They devalued their currency and they paid up,” Trump notes. “You know who got their money? Our farmers, our great farmers because they were targeted.”

Biden says it will take a global effort to hold China accountable: “We need to be having the rest of our friends with us saying to China these are the rules, you are going to play by them or pay the price for not playing by them, economically. That’s the way I will run it and that’s what we did when we held steel tariffs and other things, when we were President and Vice President.”

The candidates also discussed racial equality, climate change, and presidential leadership during the debate.

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