The Strawman Fallacy and President Trump

  • October 20, 2020
The Straw Man is one of Donald Trumps favorite targets.

In his first rally after his recovery with coronavirus, President Donald Trump hurled an arsenal of new attacks on his opponent Joe Biden- or, in other words, demonstrated his great ability to use the logical fallacy known as “The Strawman.”  

The Strawman fallacy is when someone attributes their opponent to an argument he/she/they haven’t argued, and then knocks down that argument. It is used to distort the opponent’s argument to make it easier to attack.

The Strawman fallacy seems to be one of Trump’s favorite attacks, and he has created a stockpile of them. Some examples of these against the “sleepy” and “stupid” Joe Biden come from his Florida rally just yesterday. Trump stated that Biden “had a plan to eliminate U.S. borders.” Biden however, is only proposing a liberalization of immigration policy, not seeking to get rid of the borders themselves. 

He also stated that Biden would “outlaw the private health insurance plans of over 180 million Americans who love those plans.” However, Biden has never even suggested such a thing. He has been insisting under his new plan that people would be able to have the option of choosing private insurance; he merely stated that the public would have the ability to enroll in a Medicare-like government insurance plan with no pressure whatsoever. 

In addition, Trump claimed that “he’ll  ban charter schools.” Again, this is not a Biden policy —  a party unity task force created by Biden and Bernie Sanders recommended a ban on federal funding for for-profit charter schools. However, that is not a total ban and Biden’s campaign released a statement to CNN stating that he does not oppose “high performing public charters.” 

Trump said that Biden would “dismantle your police departments.” This is 100% baseless. In fact, Biden proposed a 300 million dollar increase in federal funding for community policing. And besides, the federal government is not in charge of the structure nor size of the local police departments. 

Trump even said that Biden “wants to quadruple your taxes,” which is untrue and has never even been hinted at by the Biden administration. 

Trump repeated his statement that Biden “wants to impose a draconian unscientific lockdown” that would cripple any economic recovery. Biden, however, has not expressed any desire for a lockdown and stated in an interview in August that he would only support a lockdown if scientists explicitly stated it was necessary. He then walked back on his claim, and said in September that “there is going to be no need, in my view, to shut down the whole economy.” 

Biden may be a Democrat; however his views are fairly moderate. He doesn’t believe in defunding police or getting rid of charter schools, even for-profit ones as long as they are high performing. He doesn’t think a full shutdown will be necessary and wants to increase funding for community police departments, as well as continue to allow private insurance and has no desire to increase taxes.

Is there a possibility that Biden will walk back onto his statements? Absolutely! However, there has been no sign of it yet, so attacking this imaginary version of Joe Biden is merely a sign of desperation and ineptitude on the part of the Trump campaign.

All of the direct quotes used in this article is from this link,, a video of Trump’s campaign rally in Sanford, Florida.)

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