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.
Democratic Party Platform
CONFRONT GLOBAL THREATS (p. 37)
Terrorism (p. 37)
seek an updated Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that is more precise about our efforts to defeat ISIS. . .
. . . reject Donald Trump’s vilification of Muslims. It violates the religious freedom that is the bedrock of our country and feeds into ISIS’ nefarious narrative. It also alienates people and countries who are crucial to defeating terrorism. . . We reject Donald Trump’s suggestion that our military should engage in war crimes. . . These tactics run counter to American principles, undermine our moral standing, cost innocent lives, and endanger Americans. We also firmly reject Donald Trump’s willingness to mire tens of thousands of our combat troops in another misguided ground war. . .
This section was shortened from 350 to 205 words. For full text, see page 37 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
Syria (D-p. 38)
Afghanistan (p. 38)
Iran (p. 38)
Democrats will also address the detrimental role Iran plays in the region and will robustly enforce and, if necessary, strengthen non-nuclear sanctions. Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism. It violates the human rights of its population, denies the Holocaust, vows to eliminate Israel, and has its fingerprints on almost every conflict in the Middle East. Democrats will push back against Iran’s destabilizing activities including its support for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, counter Iran’s ballistic missile program, bolster the capabilities of our Gulf partners, and ensure that Israel always has the ability to defend itself. Finally, Democrats recognize that the Iranian people seek a brighter future for their country and greater engagement with the international community. We will embrace opportunities for cultural, academic and other exchanges with the Iranian people.
North Korea (p. 39)
Russia (p. 39)
Cybersecurity and Online Privacy (p. 39)
Democrats reject the false choice between privacy interests and keeping Americans safe. We need liberty and security, and each makes the other possible. We will protect the privacy and civil liberties of the American people—standing firm against the type of warrantless surveillance of American citizens that flourished during the Bush Administration. We support recent reforms to government bulk data collection programs so the government is not collecting and holding millions of files on innocent Americans.
We will support a national commission on digital security and encryption to bring together technology and public safety communities to address the needs of law enforcement, protect the privacy of Americans, assess how innovation might point to new policy approaches, and advance our larger national security and global competitiveness interests.
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons (p. 39)
Democrats want to reduce the number of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons around the world, as well as their means of delivery, while retaining a strong deterrent as long as others maintain nuclear strike capabilities. We will strengthen the NPT, push for the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test- Ban Treaty, and stop the spread of loose nuclear material. Democrats will be informed by a new Nuclear Posture Review in determining continued ways to appropriately shape our nuclear deterrent, with the aim of reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons while meeting our national security obligations. Democrats will also seek new opportunities for further arms control and avoid taking steps that create incentives for the expansion of existing nuclear weapons programs. To this end, we will work to reduce excessive spending on nuclear weapons-related programs that are projected to cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years.
This section was shortened from 222 to 185 words. For full text, see page 39 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
Global Climate Leadership (p. 40)
We believe the United States must lead in forging a robust global solution to the climate crisis. We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat on a scale not seen since World War II. . . Our generation must lead the fight against climate change and we applaud President Obama’s leadership in forging the historic Paris climate change agreement. We will not only meet the goals we set in Paris, we will seek to exceed them and push other countries to do the same by slashing carbon pollution and rapidly driving down emissions of potent greenhouse gases like hydrofluorocarbons. . .
As a proud Arctic nation, we are against putting the region at risk through drilling in the Arctic Ocean or the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Instead, while protecting our strategic interests, we will seek collaborative, science-based approaches to be good stewards of the rapidly changing Arctic region.
This section was shortened from 319 to 207 words. For full text, see page 40 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
A LEADER IN THE WORLD (p. 43)
Asia-Pacific (p. 43)
Democrats will push back against North Korean aggression and press China to play by the rules. We will stand up to Beijing on unfair trade practices, currency manipulation, censorship of the internet, piracy, and cyberattacks. And we will look for areas of cooperation. . . We will promote greater respect for human rights. . . We are committed to a “One China” policy and the Taiwan Relations Act and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of Cross-Strait issues. . .
This section was shortened from 239 to 198 words. For full text, see page 43 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
Middle East (p. 44)
We will continue to work toward a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict . . . that guarantees Israel’s future as a secure and democratic Jewish state with recognized borders and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity. While Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations, it should remain the capital of Israel. . . Israelis deserve security, recognition, and a normal life free from terror and incitement. Palestinians should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.
This section was shortened from 226 to 202 words. For full text, see page 44 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
Europe (p. 44)
We reject Donald Trump’s threats to abandon our European and NATO allies, all while he praises Putin. When the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, our NATO allies invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, stating that an attack against one is an attack against all—for the first and only time in its history. Our NATO allies fought alongside us in Afghanistan and are still there today. We will maintain our Article 5 collective security commitments to NATO because we are stronger when we have our allies at our side. And we will continue to push NATO members to contribute their fair share.
Americas (p. 45)
In Cuba, we will. . . end the travel ban and embargo. We will also stand by the Cuban people and support their ability to decide their own future and to enjoy the same human rights and freedoms that people everywhere deserve. In Venezuela, we will push the government to respect human rights and respond to the will of its people. And in Haiti, we will. . . bolster the country’s democratic institutions and economic development. We will also help more Haitians take advantage of Temporary Protected Status. Finally, we will close the School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. . .
This section was shortened from 245 to 205 words. For full text, see page 45 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
Africa (p. 45)
Democrats applaud President Obama’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, and his commitment to preserving the earth’s natural beauty for future generations. Democrats support science-based management of iconic wildlife in Africa, including stronger regulations banning the importation into the United States of hunting trophies that are not supported by current science-based evidence and are related to or funded by non-scientific special interests.
Global Economy and Institutions (p. 45)
Democrats believe that global institutions—most prominently the United Nations—and multilateral organizations have a powerful role to play and are an important amplifier of American strength and influence. Many of these organizations need reform and updating, but it would be reckless to follow Donald Trump and turn our back on the international system that our country built. It has provided decades of stability and economic growth for the world and for America.
Republican Party Platform
A Dangerous World (p. 41)
. . .We are the party of peace through strength. We believe that American exceptionalism. . . requires the United States to retake its natural position as leader of the free world.
Tyranny and injustice thrive when America is weakened. The oppressed have no greater ally than a confident and determined United States, backed by the strongest military on the planet.
. . .committed to rebuilding the U.S. military into the strongest on earth, with vast superiority. . .
Our aging naval capabilities are inadequate for their job. The Air Force fields the smallest and oldest force of combat aircraft in its history. The Marines have only two-thirds the number of battalions they have historically needed to meet day to day operational demands. The Army is at its lowest troop levels since before World War II. . .
Also neglected are our strategic forces, especially the development and deployment of ballistic missile defenses. . .
This section was shortened from 603 to 203 words. For full text, see page 41 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Confronting the Dangers (p. 41)
. . .We must move from a budget-based strategy to one that puts the security of our nation first. . . the development of a balanced force to meet the diverse threats facing our nation. . . We need a Reagan-era force that can fight and win two-and one-half wars ranging from counterterrorism to deterring major power aggressors.
We should abandon arms control treaties that benefit our adversaries without improving our national security. We must fund, develop, and deploy a multi-layered missile defense system. We must modernize nuclear weapons and their delivery platforms, end the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction, and rebuild relationships with our allies. . .
. . .To keep our people safe, we must secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws, and properly screen refugees and other immigrants entering from any country. . .
This section was shortened from 403 to 200 words. For full text, see page 41 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
America: The Indispensable Nation (p. 46)
This bipartisan commitment has tragically changed. The leadership of the Democratic Party. . . no longer see America as a force for good in the world. . . They cannot be trusted to advance either the cause of liberty or our national security in the dangerous years in which we live.
We affirm our party’s tradition of world leadership established by President Eisenhower and followed by every Republican president since. It stands for enormous power — and the prudence to use it sparingly, precisely, and only in grave necessity. It stands for involvement, not intervention. It requires consultation, not permission to act. It leads from the front — and ensures all others do their parts as well. It embraces American exceptionalism and rejects the false prophets of decline and diminution. It is, in sum, the way we will lead the world into a new century of greater peace and prosperity — another American Century.
This section was shortened from 254 to 198 words. For full text, see page 46 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Challenges of a Changing Middle East (p. 46)
We consider the. . . deal with Iran. . . a personal agreement between the President and his negotiating partners and non-binding. . . it does not have treaty status. . . We must retain all options in dealing with a situation that gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the survival of our friends.
Over the last four years we have seen the rise of a murderous fanaticism in the form of ISIS. . . The Obama Administration. . . so mishandled the Arab Spring that it destabilized the entire region. . . dictator of Syria, Bashar Assad, has murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people and created millions of refugees, and an American president has been unable to rally the world against him. . .
We must stand up for our friends, challenge our foes, and destroy ISIS. Hezbollah, controlling over 100,000 missiles in Lebanon, must be isolated and Lebanon’s independence restored.
We will support the transition to a post-Assad Syrian government. . . The Iraqi people have been on the front lines in the fight against terror. . . Our partnership with them should continue as long as ISIS and others like it survive in the region. . . Defeating ISIS means more than pushing back its fighters while abandoning its victims. It must mean aiding those who have suffered the most. . .
We continue to support the Kurdish people, whose bravery and cooperation with our forces merit our respect and their autonomy. . .
This section was shortened from 684 to 268 words. For full text, see page 46 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Our Unequivocal Support for Israel (p. 47)
We reaffirm America’s commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that Israel main¬tains a qualitative military edge. . . We support Israel’s right and obli¬gation to defend itself. . . We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier. . . the Boycott, Divest¬ment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is anti-Semitic in nature. . . we call for effective legislation to thwart actions that are intended to limit commer¬cial relations with Israel. . . in a discriminatory manner.
The United States seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. . . We oppose any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms. . .
This section was shortened from 321 to 193 words. For full text, see page 47 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
U.S. Leadership in the Asian Pacific (p. 48)
We salute the people of Taiwan, with whom we share the values of democracy, human rights, a free market economy, and the rule of law. . . all issues regarding the island’s fu¬ture must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan. If China were to violate those principles, the United States. . . will help Taiwan defend itself. . .
China’s behavior has negated the optimistic language of our last platform. . . The liberalizing policies of recent decades have been abruptly reversed, dissent brutally crushed, religious persecution heightened, the internet crippled, a barbaric population control two-child policy of forced abortions and forced sterilizations continued, and the cult of Mao revived. Critics of the regime have been kidnapped by its agents in foreign countries. . . the government asserts a preposterous claim to the entire South China Sea and continues to dredge ports and create landing fields in contested waters. . . ever nearer to U.S. territories and our allies, while building a navy far out of proportion to defensive purposes. . . Meanwhile, cultural genocide continues in Tibet and Xinjiang, the promised autonomy of Hong Kong is eroded, the currency is manipulated, our technology is stolen, and intellectual property and copyrights are mocked in an economy based on piracy. . .
. . .We congratulate the people of Burma on their emergence from authoritarian rule and urge their respect for the rights of their country’s minority populations. Our improved relations with Vietnam. . . must advance efforts to obtain an accounting for, and repatriation of the remains of, Americans who gave their lives in the cause of Vietnamese freedom. . .
India is our geopolitical ally and a strategic trading partner. . . We encourage the Indian government to permit expanded foreign investment and trade. . . For all of India’s religious communities, we urge protection against violence and discrimination. . .
. . .Pakistanis, Afghans, and Americans have a common interest in ridding the region of the Taliban and securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. . . A Republican president will work with all regional leaders to restore mutual trust while insisting upon progress against corruption and the narcotic trade that fuels insurgency.
This section was shortened from 972 to 456 words. For full text, see page 48 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Renewing the European Alliance (p. 49)
Our historic ties to the peoples of Europe have been based on shared culture and values, com¬mon interests and goals. . . We recognize with regret the increasing trend among many of our allies to move away from rights and liberties that Americans hold dear. . .
We honor our special relationship with the people of the United Kingdom and are grateful for their staunch support in the fight against terrorism. . . those who were first to our side in our hour of loss will always rank first in our policies and our esteem.
We thank the several nations of Europe that have contributed to a united effort in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. . . We applaud the ongoing reconciliation in Northern Ireland and hope that its success might be replicated in Cyprus. We urge greater coordination. . . between the United States and the republics of Eastern Europe. . . we support placement of NATO troops in Poland.
For the people of Russia. . . We have common imperatives: Ending terrorism, combating nuclear proliferation, promoting trade, and more. We also have a common problem: The continuing erosion of personal liberty and fundamental rights under the current officials in the Kremlin. . . We will meet the return of Russian belligerence with the same resolve that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. . .
We urge greater attention in U.S. diplomacy, trade, and strategic planning, to the nations of Eurasia. . . Caught between their two authoritarian neighbors, their path toward democratic institutions has been uncertain. . .
This section was shortened from 570 to 325 words. For full text, see page 49 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Family of the Americas (p. 50)
We thank our neighbors in Mexico and Canada who have been our partners in the fight against terrorism and the war on drugs. . .
We express our solidarity with all the peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Their aspirations for economic betterment and political liberty have deserved better from our government. . .
We affirm our friendship and admiration for the people of Colombia and call on the Republican Congress to express its solidarity with their decades-long fight against the terrorist FARC. . .
We want to welcome the people of Cuba back into our hemispheric family — after their corrupt rulers are forced from power and brought to account for their crimes against humanity. . . We call on the Congress to uphold current U.S. law which sets conditions for the lifting of sanctions on the island: Legalization of political parties, an independent media, and free and fair internationally-supervised elections. We call for a dedicated platform for the transmission of Radio and TV Martí and for the promotion of internet access and circumvention technology as tools to strength Cuba’s pro-democracy movement. . .
This section was shortened from 567 to 219 words. For full text, see page 50 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Africa: The Promise and the Challenge (p. 51)
We stand in solidarity with those African countries now under assault by the forces of radical Islam: Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and others like them. Their terror falls on both Muslims and Christians, on anyone who will not submit to their savage ideology. We urge governments throughout the continent to recognize this threat to their own people. We support closer cooperation in both military and economic matters with those on the front lines of civilization’s battle against the forces of evil.
Sovereign American Leadership in International Organizations (p. 51)
Our continued participation in the United Nations should be contingent upon the enactment of long-overdue changes. . . American taxpayers, the chief funders of the U.N., deserve full transparency in the financial operations. . . We should no longer tolerate its managerial scandals, its Human Rights Council composed of some of the world’s worst tyrants, and its treatment of Israel as a pariah state. The U.N.’s Population Fund. . . Its complicity in China’s barbaric program of forced abortion led President Reagan to set a wall of separation — his Mexico City Policy, which prohibits the granting of federal monies to non-governmental organizations that provide or promote abortion. We affirm his position. . .
Precisely because we take our country’s treaty obligations seriously, we oppose ratification of international agreements whose long-range implications are ominous or unclear. . .
To shield members of our Armed Forces and others in service to America from ideological prosecutions overseas, the Republican Party does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. . .
This section was shortened from 441 to 238 words. For full text, see page 51 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Defending International Religious Freedom (p. 51)
America’s Generosity: International Assistance that Makes a Difference (p. 52)
The advance of political freedom and entrepreneurial capitalism drives economic growth, catalyzes private sector development, and is the only sustainable solution to poverty. . .
The integrity of our country’s foreign assistance program has been compromised by. . . attempt to impose on foreign recipients, especially the peoples of Africa, its own radical social agenda while excluding faith-based groups — the sector with the best track record in promoting development — because they will not conform to that agenda. We pledge to reverse this course, encouraging more involvement by the most effective aid organizations and trusting developing peoples to build their futures through their own values.
This section was shortened from 406 to 213 words. For full text, see page 52 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Advancing Human Rights (p. 52)
The United States needs a radical rethinking of our human rights diplomacy. . . a “whole of government” approach. . . where pressing human rights and rule of law issues are integrated at every appropriate level of our bilateral relationships and strategic decision-making. . . the health of the U.S. economy and environment, the safety of our food and drug supplies, the security of our investments and personal information in cyberspace, and the stability and security of the oceans will increasingly depend on allowing the free flow of news and information and developing an independent judiciary and civil society in countries. . .
This section was shortened from 307 to 189 words. For full text, see page 52 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Liberty to Captives: Combatting Human Trafficking (p. 53)
America’s continuing participation in the international campaign against human trafficking merits our support. The goal of our domestic anti-trafficking programs should be the rescue and safe return of victims to their homes. . . We call for greater scrutiny of overseas labor contractors to prevent abuses against temporary foreign workers. . .
This section was shortened from 310 to 217 words. For full text, see page 53 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Facing 21st Century Threats: Cybersecurity in an Insecure World (p. 53)
The Republican Congress has passed important legislation to advance information-sharing among entities endangered by cyber attacks. We will explore the possibility of a free market for Cyber-Insurance and make clear that users have a self-defense right to deal with hackers as they see fit. It is critical that we protect the cyber supply chain to ensure against contamination of components made all over the world, sometimes in offending countries. Our own cyber workforce should be expanded with the assistance of the military, business, and hacker communities to better protect our country.
Facing 21st Century Threats: Protection Against an Electromagnetic Pulse (p. 54)
Facing 21st Century Threats: Confronting Internet Tyranny (p. 54)
A Republican administration will champion an open and free internet based on principles of free expression and universal values and will pursue policies to empower citizens and U.S. companies operating in authoritarian countries to circumvent internet firewalls and gain accurate news and information online.