Trump vs. Biden: Comparing the Candidates’ Positions on Technology and Innovation

September 28, 2020

Technological innovation has long been and will continue to be critically important to both income growth and national competitiveness. So it is important that we examine the 2020 presidential candidates’ policy agendas through that lens.


In every presidential election since 2008, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has released a report examining the two major candidates’ positions on a host of technology and innovation policy issues.


In past elections, both parties’ nominees generally articulated positions on nearly all of the policy areas ITIF identified as key priorities for promoting innovation. This is generally not the case in 2020. While Biden has stated his positions on most of the issues tracked by ITIF, Trump has been much vaguer, offering few detailed positions. Nevertheless, we believe it is important to clearly document what the two candidates have said (or not said) about these critical innovation issues (as well as what the Trump administration has done to date), as their positions serve as the best-available guide to the next administration’s policy priorities—and the lack of a stated position may indicate which issues would be low priorities.


This report is based on information gathered directly from the campaigns’ websites and policy documents, and from media accounts of statements the candidates have made. The report begins with an overview of each candidate’s general philosophy on technology, innovation, and trade policy, and then compares the candidates’ policy positions across 10 specific issue areas.