Comparing Party Platforms

A close examination of each Party’s most recent Platform (2016) reveals its core beliefs and could provide a powerful indication of how that Party’s nominee will vote.

For your convenience, we have broken the lengthy party platforms into digestible portions based on topic and placed them side-by-side for comparison.

Environment

Democratic Party Platform

The Democratic Platform has an overarching category addressing the environment: Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice (p. 24-27).
COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE, BUILD A CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY, AND SECURE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE (p. 24)
Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years on record have occurred this century. . . Cities from Miami to Baltimore are already threatened by rising seas. California and the West have suffered years of brutal drought. Alaska has been scorched by wildfire. New York has been battered by superstorms, and Texas swamped by flash floods. The best science tells us that without ambitious, immediate action across our economy to cut carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases, all of these impacts will be far worse in the future. We cannot leave our children a planet that has been profoundly damaged.
Democrats share a deep commitment to tackling the climate challenge. . . We believe America must be running entirely on clean energy by mid-century. We will take bold steps to slash carbon pollution and protect clean air at home, lead the fight against climate change around the world, ensure no Americans are left out or left behind as we accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy, and be responsible stewards of our natural resources and our public lands and waters. . .

This section was shortened from 291 to 194 words. For full text, see page 24 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.

Building a Clean Energy Economy (p. 24)
We are committed to getting 50 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources within a decade. . . We will cut energy waste. . . through energy efficient improvements; modernize our electric grid; and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world. . . We will transform American transportation by reducing oil consumption. . . We will make new investments in public transportation and build bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure across our urban and suburban areas. . . eliminating special tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuel companies as well as defending and extending tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy.

. . . greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and help meet our climate goals. . . climate change is too important to wait for climate deniers and defeatists. . . support using every tool available to reduce emissions now. Democrats are committed to defending, implementing, and extending smart pollution and efficiency standards. . . committed to expanding clean energy research and development.

. . .achieving our national clean energy goals requires an active partnership with states, cities, and rural communities. . . will ensure that those taking the lead on clean energy and energy efficiency have the tools and resources they need to succeed. . . support taking steps to power the government with 100 percent clean electricity.

Democrats are committed to closing the Halliburton loophole. . . and ensuring tough safeguards are in place. . . to protect local water supplies. . . We will reduce methane emissions from all oil and gas production and transportation by at least 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. . .

. . .We will streamline federal permitting to accelerate the construction of new transmission lines to get low-cost renewable energy to market, and incentivize wind, solar, and other renewable energy over the development of new natural gas power plants. . .

. . .We need to make our existing infrastructure safer and cleaner and build the new infrastructure necessary to power our clean energy future. . . support high labor standards in clean energy infrastructure and the right to form or join a union. . .

This section was shortened from 706 to 377 words. For full text, see page 24 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.

Securing Environmental and Climate Justice (p. 26)
. . .clean air and clean water are basic rights of all Americans. Yet. . . low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately home to environmental justice “hot spots,” where air pollution, water pollution, and toxic hazards like lead increase health and economic hardship. The impacts of climate change will also disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities. . . this is environmental racism.
Democrats believe we must make it a national priority to eradicate lead poisoning. . . We will prioritize hiring and training workers from affected communities to clean up toxic brownfields and expand clean energy, energy efficiency, and resilient infrastructure.
The fight against climate change must not leave any community out or behind—including the coal communities who kept America’s lights on for generations. Democrats will fight to make sure these workers and their families get the benefits they have earned and the respect they deserve, and we will make new investments in energy-producing communities to help create jobs. . . We will also oppose threats to the public health of these communities. . . like mountaintop removal mining operations.
All corporations owe it to their shareholders to fully analyze and disclose the risks they face, including climate risk. Those who fail to do so should be held accountable. . .

This section was shortened from 301 to 214 words. For full text, see page 26 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.

Protecting Our Public Lands and Waters (p. 26)
. . .we need policies and investments that will keep America’s public lands public, strengthen protections for our natural and cultural resources, increase access to parks and public lands for all Americans, protect native species and wildlife, and harness the immense economic and social potential of our public lands and waters.
. . .establish an American Parks Trust Fund to help expand local, state, and national recreational opportunities, rehabilitate existing parks, and enhance America’s great outdoors. . . committed to doubling the size of the outdoor economy. . .
Democrats will approach conservation of our public lands and waters in a way that reflects the diversity of our country… protecting natural landscapes and cultural sites that tell the story of America’s complex history. . .
We oppose drilling in the Arctic and off the Atlantic coast, and believe we need to reform fossil fuel leasing on public lands. . . while making our public lands and waters engines of the clean energy economy. . .
Democrats oppose efforts to undermine the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act. . .
Because the Bristol Bay drainages of Alaska produce the world’s largest salmon fisheries, we support efforts by the EPA under the Clean Water Act to establish proactively science-based restrictions on discharges of dredged or fill material. . .
. . .we believe that in order to be effective in keeping our air and water clean and combating climate change, we must enlist farmers as partners in promoting conservation and stewardship.

This section was shortened from 457 to 249 words. For full text, see page 26 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.

Republican Party Platform

The Republican Platform has an overarching category addressing the Environment: Restoring the American Dream (p. 17-22).
AMERICA'S NATURAL RESOURCES: AGRICULTURE, ENERGY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT (p. 17)
We are the party of America’s growers, producers, farmers, ranchers, foresters, miners, commercial fishermen, and all those who bring from the earth the crops, minerals, energy, and the bounties of our seas that are the lifeblood of our economy. Their labor and ingenuity, their determination in bad times and love of the land at all times, powers our economy, creates millions of jobs, and feeds billions of people around the world. Only a few years ago, a bipartisan consensus in government valued the role of extractive industries and rewarded their enterprise by minimizing its interference with their work. That has radically changed. We look in vain within the Democratic Party for leaders who will speak for the people of agriculture, energy and mineral production.
Abundant Harvests (p. 17)
. . .Because our farmers and ranchers care for the land, the United States does not depend on foreign imports for sustenance. Americans spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than any other nation. . . No other nation has been as generous with food aid to the needy. . .

We are the largest agricultural exporter in the world. . . Those exports drive additional economic growth. . . That is why we remain committed to expanding trade opportunities and opening new markets for agriculture. . .

We must also ensure that domestic policies do not compromise our global competitiveness through overregulation and undue interference in the marketplace. . .the intrusive and expensive federal mandates on food options and menu labeling should be ended as soon as possible. . . We oppose the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food, which has proven to be safe, healthy, and a literal life-saver for millions in the developing world. . .

. . .States, not Washington bureaucrats, are best equipped to engage farmers and ranchers to develop sound farm oversight policies. The EPA’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. . . is a travesty. . . We must never allow federal agencies to seize control of state waters, watersheds, or groundwater. . .

Farmers and ranchers are among this country’s leading conservationists. Modern farm practices and technologies. . . have led to reduced erosion, improved water and air quality, increased wildlife habitat, all the while maintaining improved agricultural yields. This stewardship of the land benefits everyone. . . For this reason, ranching on public lands must be fostered, developed, and encouraged. . .

. . . Federal programs to assist farmers in managing risk must be as cost-effective as they are functional, offering tools that can improve producers’ ability to operate when times are tough while remaining affordable to the taxpayers. Even so, the expansion of agricultural exports through the vigorous opening of new markets around the world is the surest path to farm security.

While uncertainty about natural weather and markets is a risk farmers and ranchers always face, government should not add to their uncertainty by inaction and delay. . . Republicans are dedicated to. . . getting things done on time, including the next Farm Bill. . .

. . . In the interest of protecting the safety of our farmers and ranchers, we will advance policies to protect the security, privacy, and most of all, the private ownership of individual farmers’ and ranchers’ data.

The U. S. Forest Service. . . controls around 200 million acres of land with enormous natural resources, especially timber, a renewable resource providing jobs for thousands of workers that should be used to the best economic potential for the nation. . . When timber is managed properly, the renewable crops will result in fewer wildfires and, at the same time, produce jobs in the timber industry for countless families. We believe in promoting active, sustainable management of our forests and that states can best manage our forests to improve forest health and keep communities safe.

This section was shortened from 1,220 to 515 words. For full text, see page 17 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.

A New Era in Energy (R-p. 19)
Our country has greater energy resources than any other place on earth. Our engineers and miners. . . are the best in the world. Together, the people of America’s energy sector provide us with power that is clean, affordable, secure, and abundant. Their work can guarantee the nation’s energy security for centuries to come if, instead of erecting roadblocks, government facilitates the creation of an all-of-the-above energy strategy. . .

Planning for our energy future requires us to first determine what resources we have in reserve. . . That is why we support the opening of public lands and the outer continental shelf to exploration. . . even if these resources will not be immediately developed. . . Congress should give authority to state regulators to manage energy resources on federally controlled public lands within their respective borders.

The Democratic Party’s energy policy can be summed up in a slogan currently popular among its activists: “keep it in the ground.” . . .Its Clean Power Plan. . . has been stayed by the Supreme Court. We will do away with it altogether. The Democratic Party does not understand that coal is an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource. . .

The Democratic Party’s campaign to smother the U.S. energy industry takes many forms, but the permitting process may be its most damaging weapon. It takes an average of 30 days for states to permit an oil or gas well. It takes the federal government longer than seven months. . .

Government should not play favorites among energy producers. . . Climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue. . .

We support the development of all forms of energy that are marketable in a free economy without subsidies, including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, and hydropower. . . We respect the states’ proven ability to regulate. . . We encourage the cost-effective development of renewable energy sources. . . by private capital. . . We support expediting the permitting process for mineral production on public lands. We support lifting restrictions to allow responsible development of nuclear energy. . .

We oppose any carbon tax. . . We urge the private sector to focus its resources on the development of carbon capture and sequestration technology. . .

American energy producers should be free to export their product to foreign markets. . .

Energy is both an economic and national security issue. We support the enactment of policies to increase domestic energy production. . . This will reduce America’s vulnerability to energy price volatility.

This section was shortened from 1,015 to 428 words. For full text, see page 19 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.

Environmental Progress (p. 20)
. . .As the pioneer of environmentalism a century ago, the Republican Party reaffirms the moral obligation to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country. We believe that people are the most valuable resources and that human health and safety are the proper measurements of a policy’s success. We assert that private ownership has been the best guarantee of conscientious stewardship. . .
The environment is too important to be left to radical environmentalists. . . has become a self-serving elite, stuck in the mindset of the 1970s. . . Their approach is based on shoddy science, scare tactics, and centralized command-and-control regulation. . .
The central fact of any sensible environmental policy is that, year by year, the environment is improving. Our air and waterways are much healthier than they were a few decades ago. As a nation, we have drastically reduced pollution, mainstreamed recycling, educated the public, and avoided ecological degradation. Even if no additional controls are added, air pollution will continue to decline for the next several decades due to technological turnover of aging equipment. . .
. . .We propose to shift responsibility for environmental regulation from the federal bureaucracy to the states and to transform the EPA into an independent bipartisan commission. . . We will strictly limit congressional delegation of rule-making authority, and require that citizens be compensated for regulatory takings.
We will put an end to the legal practice known as “sue and settle,” . . .We will also reform the Equal Access to Justice Act to cap and disclose payments made to environmental activists and return the Act to its original intent.
We will enforce the original intent of the Clean Water Act, not it’s distortion by EPA regulations. We will likewise forbid the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide. . . We will restore to Congress the authority to set the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and modernize the permitting process. . .
The federal government owns or controls over 640 million acres. . . the public should have access to them for appropriate activities like hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting. Federal ownership or management of land also places an economic burden on counties and local communities. . . It is absurd to think that all that acreage must remain under the absentee ownership or management of official Washington. Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing for a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to states. . . The residents of state and local communities know best how to protect the land where they work and live. . . We support amending the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish Congress’ right to approve the designation of national monuments and to further require the approval of the state. . .
There is certainly a need to protect certain species threatened worldwide with extinction. However, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) should not. . . upset the economic viability of an area with an unneeded designation costs jobs and hurts local communities. . . The ESA should ensure that the listing of endangered species and the designation of critical habitats are based upon sound science and balance the protection of endangered species with the costs of compliance and the rights of property owners. . .
Information concerning a changing climate. . . must be based on dispassionate analysis of hard data. . .
We demand an immediate halt to U.S. funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in accordance with the 1994 Foreign Relations Authorization Act. . .
We firmly believe environmental problems are best solved by giving incentives for human ingenuity and the development of new technologies. . .

This section was shortened from 1,323 to 623 words. For full text, see page 20 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.

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