In a very broad sense, what are the main differences between the policies of Hillary Clinton Vs those of Joe Biden (based on statements made by their respective campaigns or other official/reliable sources)?

Some notes:

  • Obviously comparing two politicians is tricky because it's subjective: if there's a major difference on niche policy area, then that might matter a lot to one citizen, but not much to another. To address this, please prioritise the differences that affect the most people in the biggest ways.
  • I've heard commentary along the lines of both being "centrist" - but that doesn't necessarily help distinguish the differences between them (i.e. it's more an observation on the similarities between the two, rather than the differences)

1 Answer 1


This McClatchy piece goes through a few good examples of concrete policy differences. The short version is that because the Democratic Party shifted leftward between 2016 and 2020, Biden's election platform tended to be more liberal than Clinton's was in the 2016.

On health care, Clinton proposed offering a public insurance plan for Americans enrolled in the health care exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act. She also wanted to let adults older than 55 buy into Medicare. Biden’s plan goes much further: He wants to allow all Americans — including those receiving insurance through their employer — to buy into a government-backed insurance plan, a shift some progressives have said would represent an enormous change to Obamacare. (Biden also proposed significantly increasing the subsidies available to those who enroll in the public option.)

There’s also a wide disparity between Biden and Clinton’s climate change plans. Clinton proposed spending $60 billion on clean-energy fund as part of an attempt to make the U.S. 80% carbon-free by 2050; Biden wants to spend $1.7 trillion in federal money to make the country emit a net of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Biden is also pushing to triple Title I funding for schools that educate low-income students, and to abolish the federal death penalty while encouraging states to do the same. Clinton wanted to preserve capital punishment in certain situations.

It's also been argued that Clinton is in general more hawkish than Biden based on the foreign policy stances they took when they were both in the Obama administration. Biden opposed the Afghanistan troop surge, the Libya military intervention, and sending military aid to Syrian rebels, while Clinton supported them all. Most famously, Clinton supported the Bin Laden raid while Biden suggested the U.S. needed more intel.

But if you're asking for major policy differences like the sort of policy differences between Clinton and Sanders, or Biden and Trump, you're probably not going to find a good example. Clinton and Biden's platforms differ in a manner of degree and urgency, but they occupy the same lane of the Democratic Party and share basically all the same policy goals and foundational principles.

(And quite bluntly, both Clinton and Biden did a good job of, ahem, evolving away from whatever opinions differed from the party's center before they ran for president. In 2013 you could've said that Biden supported gay marriage and Clinton opposed it, and in 2016 you could've said Clinton supported taxpayer funding for abortion and Biden opposed it. But both candidates shifted their views by the time they ran for president.)

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