Themes around the 2020 Election

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Key Themes Around the 2020 Elections

The key themes that are likely to affect the 2020 US presidential elections are racial injustice, vaccines for kids, gay marriage, gun control and Israel/Palestine conflict.



  • The shooting of black men and the high unemployment rate in the US is one of the key themes that will affect the 2020 US presidential elections. There are several cases such as the shooting of Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black man who was fleeing from a white policeman that has led to the discussion about racial injustice.
  • Few police officers that have been engaged in shootings have faced trials or convictions. The lack of convictions or trials led to a week of protest when a black couple who were unarmed were shot by police near Yale University.
  • It is this kind of actions by the police and right-wing nationalist that will lead to the issue being a key theme.
  • The issue will be emotional and heated as President Trump is planning to run for the Republican seat.
  • During the Charlottesville protest, one person was killed as protesters clashed with white supremacists. The president was condemned by both republicans and democrats for failing to condemn the bigotry and violence of the far-right extremists.
  • A study by Stanford University indicates that despite the growth in the economy, there is still a large racial and ethnic disparities which exist.


  • The second amendment gives every American citizen the right to bear arms. However, some people want the amendment to be repealed because of the high number of deaths from inflicted gunshot wounds.
  • In 2018, 113 students in different schools around the US were killed.
  • A gunman in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the same year opened fire on a synagogue. President Trump claimed that the attack had nothing to do with US gun control laws.
  • Opponents of gun control laws claim research have shown that banning of guns does not reduce gun violence. Countries like Mexico have strict gun control laws but experience higher gun violence than in the US.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ranked death by firearms in the US at number twelve.
  • people who want gun reforms point to countries with tight control measure as a reason for their proposal.
  • It is for these reasons that the issue will be a 2020 emotionally charged theme.


  • In 1773, Maryland became the first state to ban gay marriage. However, in 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was a right and it was protected under the United States constitution. Gay couples could not get equal treatment like heterosexual partners before the ruling.
  • Despite the ruling, some people are still not willing to offer their services to gay couples.
  • A survey conducted indicates that 46 percent of Americans believe people should be allowed to refuse services based on religious beliefs.
  • The issue will be a key theme because of the changing demographics and attitudes in the United States and it will be emotional charged because of the religious beliefs that it evokes.


  • In a 2014 tweet, President Trump wrote: “Healthy young child goes to a doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes — AUTISM. Many such cases!”
  • This tweet caused a backlash with different people calling it irresponsible.
  • However, despite his skepticism, the President has asked people to get their children vaccinated after a measles' breakout.
  • The topic is most likely to be a key issue in the 2020 debate as his opponents try to use the tweet to gain political mileage leading to an extensive argument.


  • Israel and Palestine have been having conflicts for a long time. There have been different attempts to bring peace to the region but none has succeeded.
  • The current administration of Donald Trump has been accused by some people for escalating tension when it moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
  • According to a Gallup study, half of Americans favor an independent Palestinian state.
  • Reports such as amnesty international about Israel’s government severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians, have been linked to the shift in attitude towards Palestinian’s rights.
  • This issue on the Palestine and Israel conflict is therefore bound to make the topic a 2020 presidential theme that will be extensively argued by pundits.


In the attempt to identify key themes that will live around the 2020 elections, we searched for news articles, press releases, and media publications on related topics. After going through numerous news articles published in leading media outlets including but not limited to Chicago University Press, The Guardian, Vox, New York Times, CNN, BBC among others, we were able to identify five distinct key themes around the 2020 US presidential elections.