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.
Management of Government
Democratic Party Platform
PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS, FIX OUR CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM, AND RESTORE OUR DEMOCRACY (p. 22)
Strengthening Management of Federal Government (p. 23)
We will also ensure that new spending and tax cuts are offset so that they do not add to the nation’s debt over time. We will tackle waste, fraud, and abuse. . . we should not be contracting, outsourcing, or privatizing work that is inherently governmental in nature. . . We are committed to a strong, effective, accountable civil service. . .
. . .the most effective way to identify problems facing our country and develop good solutions is by enacting evidence-based public policy. We. . . will preserve and enhance the integrity and accuracy of the census and the American Community Survey (ACS). . . We will also maintain the legal requirement for the public to participate and be counted.
Democrats also believe that government services should be culturally and linguistically appropriate and that data should be disaggregated. . . where it is necessary to fully understand and address their needs.
Finally, Democrats will make government simpler and more user-friendly. . . We will build on the creation of the United States Digital Service (USDS). . . to transform and digitize the top 25 federal government programs that directly serve citizens. We will eliminate internal barriers to government modernization. And we will use technology to improve outcomes and government accountability. . .
This section was shortened from 466 to 253 words. For full text, see page 23 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
Republican Party Platform
Making Government Work for the People (p. 23)
Balancing the Budget (p. 23)
The Republican path to fiscal sanity and economic expansion begins with a constitutional requirement for a federal balanced budget. We will fight for Congress to adopt, and for the states to ratify, a Balanced Budget Amendment which imposes a cap limiting spending to the appropriate historical average percentage of our nation’s gross domestic product while requiring a super-majority for any tax increase, with exceptions only for war or legitimate emergencies. Only a constitutional safeguard such as this can prevent deficits from mounting to government default.
Republican budgets will prioritize thrift over extravagance and put taxpayers first. We support the following test: Is a particular expenditure within the constitutional scope of the federal government? If not, stop it. Has it been effective in the past and is it still absolutely necessary? If not, end it. Is it so important as to justify borrowing, especially foreign borrowing, to fund it? If not, kill it.
This section was shortened from 273 to 188 words. For full text, see page 23 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Preserving Medicare and Medicaid (R-p. 23)
Medicare’s long-term debt is in the trillions, and it is funded by a workforce that is shrinking relative to the size of future beneficiaries. Obamacare worsened the situation. . . we propose these reforms: Impose no changes for persons 55 or older. Give others the option of traditional Medicare or transition to a premium-support model designed. . . Guarantee to every enrollee an income-adjusted contribution toward a plan of their choice, with catastrophic protection. Without disadvantaging present retirees or those nearing retirement, set a more realistic age for eligibility in light of today’s longer life span. . .
. . .We applaud the Republican governors and state legislators who have undertaken the hard work of modernizing Medicaid. We will give them a free hand to do so by block-granting the program without strings. Their initiatives. . . are the best strategy for preserving Medicaid. . . Using block grants would allow states to experiment with different systems to address mental health and develop successful models to be replicated in states across the nation. . . We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs. . .
This section was shortened from 685 to 266 words. For full text, see page 23 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Protecting Internet Freedom (p. 25)
This section was shortened from 278 to 139 words. For full text, see page 25 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Reforming the Treaty System (p. 26)
Audit the Pentagon (p. 27)
Improving the Federal Workforce (p. 27)
We call for renewed efforts to reduce, rather than expand, government responsibilities, and we urge particular attention to the bloated public relations budgets of the departments and agencies. The federal government spends too much of the people’s money telling the people what they should do.
Advancing Term Limits (p. 27)
Regulation: The Quiet Tyranny (p. 27)
The ability of the American people to govern themselves has been undermined by a vast array of agencies with sweeping power to regulate every aspect of American life. They legislate as if they were Congress. They decide guilt and issue penalties as if they were courts. They collectively impose many billions of dollars in costs to the economy. . .
Sensible regulations. . . can prevent the strong from exploiting the weak. Right now, the regulators are exploiting everyone. We are determined to make regulations minimally intrusive, confined to their legal mandate, and respectful toward the creation of new and small businesses. We will revisit existing laws that delegate too much authority to regulatory agencies and review all current regulations. . . We endorse Republican legislation. . . to require approval by both houses of Congress for any rule or regulation that would impose significant costs on the American people. Further, Congress should work towards legislation that requires removal of a regulation of equal or greater economic burden when a new regulation is enacted.
. . .Congress should consider a regulatory budget that would cap the costs federal agencies could impose on the economy in any given year.
This section was shortened from 400 to 217 words. For full text, see page 27 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
Crony Capitalism and Corporate Welfare (p. 28)
The Federal Reserve (p. 7)
The first step is through an annual audit of the Federal Reserve’s activities. Such an audit would need to be carefully implemented so that the Federal Reserve remains insulated from political pressures and its decisions are based on sound economic principles and sound money rather than political pressures for easy money and loose credit.
Determined to crush the double-digit inflation that was part of the Carter Administration’s economic legacy, President Reagan, shortly after his inauguration, established a commission to consider the feasibility of a metallic basis for U.S. currency. In 2012, facing the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the current Administration’s policies, we proposed a similar commission to investigate ways to set a fixed value for the dollar.
With Republican leadership, the House of Representatives has passed legislation to set up just such a commission. We recommend its enactment by the full Congress and the commission’s careful consideration of ways to secure the integrity of our currency.
This section was shortened from 230 to 189 words. For full text, see page 7 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
A Federal Workforce Serving the People (p. 8)
We urge Congress to bring federal compensation and benefits in line with the standards of most American employees. A Republican administration should streamline personnel procedures to expedite the firing of bad workers, tax cheats, and scammers. The unionization of the federal workforce, first permitted by Democrat presidents in the 1960s, should be reviewed by the appropriate congressional committees to examine its effects on the cost, quality, and performance of the civil service. Union representatives in the federal workforce should not be paid to conduct union business on the public’s time.
Reducing the Federal Debt (p. 8)
A strong economy is one key to debt reduction, but spending restraint is a necessary component that must be vigorously pursued.