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
BRING AMERICANS TOGETHER AND REMOVE BARRIERS TO OPPORTUNITIES (p. 13)
Ending Systemic Racism (p. 13)
Closing the Racial Wealth Gap (p. 13)
The racial wealth and income gaps are the result of policies that discriminate against people of color and constrain their ability to earn income and build assets to the same extent as other Americans. . .
. . .Disparities in wealth cannot be solved by the free market alone, but instead, the federal government must play a role in eliminating systemic barriers to wealth accumulation for different racial groups and improving opportunities for people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds to build wealth. Federal policies must remove barriers to achieving sustainable homeownership, provide for greater diversity in federal and state contracting practices, incentivize and expand access to retirement investment programs, increase opportunities for quality jobs and education, and challenge the deeply rooted structures that perpetuate and exacerbate current disparities and ultimately stagnate the nation’s economic growth and security.
This section was shortened from 290 to 193 words. For full text, see page 13 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
Guaranteeing Civil Rights (p. 16)
Guaranteeing Women’s Rights (p. 17)
Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights (p. 17)
Guaranteeing Rights for People with Disabilities (p. 17)
Respecting Faith and Service (p. 17)
We believe in the power of national service to solve problems and break down barriers by bringing people of all backgrounds together in common purpose. National service expands opportunity for people across America, strengthening our communities and our country. And those who serve earn education awards that they can use for college while building valuable work skills. We will support and strengthen AmeriCorps with the goal that every American who wants to participate in full-time national service will have the opportunity to do so.
Investing in Rural America (p. 18)
. . .We support strengthening rural water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure. . . expand access to equity capital for businesses and expand the New Markets Tax Credit to better serve rural small businesses. We will promote collaborative stewardship of our natural resources, while developing clean fuels. . . provide assistance to producers who conserve and improve natural resources on their farms and double loan guarantees that support the bio-based economy’s dynamic growth.
This section was shortened from 268 to 202 words. For full text, see page 18 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
Ending Poverty and Investing in Communities Left Behind (p. 18)
In the richest country in the world, no one. . . should go hungry. . . Democrats will protect proven programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). . . help people grow their skills through jobs and skills training opportunities. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program should be expanded for low-wage workers not raising children, including extending the credit to young workers starting at age 21. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) should be expanded. . .
. . .We will create good-paying jobs and enhance opportunities by investing in small business, youth employment, and reentry programs for formerly incarcerated people. . . expand and make permanent the New Markets Tax Credit. . . improve safety by repairing crumbling infrastructure. . . make investments in affordable housing near good jobs and good schools.
This section was shortened from 301 to 201 words. For full text, see page 18 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
Building Strong Cities and Metro Areas (p. 19)
We will dramatically increase federal infrastructure funding for our cities—making significant new investments in roads and bridges, public transit, drinking and wastewater systems, broadband, schools, and more. Democrats also will revitalize communities being dragged down by physical decay by building on programs like the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Hardest Hit Fund, which have helped cities across the country begin to address these challenges. We will provide resources to help overcome blight, expand Community Development Block Grant funds, provide more housing support to high-poverty communities, and build more affordable rental housing units.
We will support entrepreneurship and small business growth in cities by providing mentoring and training to entrepreneurs and small business owners in underserved communities as well as expanding federal funding for the New Markets Tax Credit, community development financial institutions, and the State Small Business Credit Initiative.
Promoting Arts and Culture (p. 19)
PRINCIPLED LEADERSHIP (p. 35)
. . .when America leads, it must be as a principled force for peace and prosperity in the world. . . protecting rights and opportunities for women and girls. . . providing access to education and employment for young people and safeguarding the rights of minorities. . . the smart use of diplomacy, development, and economic statecraft can prevent crises, foster stability, and make us safer. . . Our global network of alliances is a source of tremendous strategic advantage.
. . .while our military must be the strongest in the world, it should only be sent into combat when the terms of engagement are clearly presented to the American people and our troops have what they need to fulfill their mission. . . war must always be the last resort. . .
These principles have underpinned important progress in the last eight years. . . We brought bin Laden to justice, crippled al Qaeda’s core leadership, saved America from a second Great Depression, repaired our alliances, reestablished relations with Cuba while pressing for reforms, and. . . blocked Iran’s ability to pursue a nuclear weapon. . .
. . .the next Democratic administration will confront the complex challenges that lie ahead by staying true to our principles and core values.
. . .There has never been a major party candidate less qualified or less fit for the office of President of the United States or to be Commander-in-Chief than Donald Trump. . . His dangerous, incoherent policies would undo the progress we have made.
. . .We believe America is unlike any other nation on earth. Our ingenuity is unparalleled, our military unrivaled, our economy the largest, most dynamic, and innovative, and our values an enduring source of strength and inspiration the world over. We are not a country that cowers behind walls. We lead with purpose. With American leadership, guided by our principles and in concert with our allies and partners, the coming years can be the most stable, secure, and prosperous time we and the world have ever known.
This section was shortened from 621 to 376 words. For full text, see page 35 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.
Republican Party Platform
We the People (p. 9)
We reaffirm the Constitution’s fundamental principles: limited government, separation of powers, individual liberty, and the rule of law. We denounce bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance. Therefore, we oppose discrimination. . .
Our Constitution is in crisis. More than 90 percent of federal requirements are now imposed by regulatory agencies. . . The current Administration has exceeded its constitutional authority. . .
Democrats in Congress have enabled, supported, and defended each of these breaches. . . Democrats in Congress have also endorsed an anti-constitutional agenda of their own. Forty-eight Democratic senators, for instance, voted to amend the Bill of Rights to give government officials control over political speech. Democrats in Congress have likewise proposed bills that would limit religious liberty, undermine property rights, and eviscerate the Second Amendment.
In a free society, the primary role of government is to protect the God-given, inalienable rights of its citizens. These constitutional rights are not negotiable for any American. We affirm that all legislation, regulation, and official actions must conform to the Constitution’s original meaning as understood at the time the language was adopted. . .
This section was shortened from 686 to 340 words. For full text, see page 9 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
The First Amendment: Religious Liberty (p. 11)
. . .We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act. . . which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This Act would protect the non-profit tax status of faith-based adoption agencies, the accreditation of religious educational institutions, the grants and contracts of faith-based charities and small businesses, and the licensing of religious professions. . . We encourage every state to pass similar legislation. . . We support laws to confirm the longstanding American tradition that religious individuals and institutions can educate young people, receive government benefits, and participate in public debates without having to check their religious beliefs at the door.
Our First Amendment rights are. . . rights we inherently possess. The government cannot use subsequent amendments to limit First Amendment rights. The Free Exercise Clause is both an individual and a collective liberty protecting a right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. Therefore, we strongly support the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs. . . in their everyday lives.
We. . . condemn public officials who have proposed boycotts against businesses that support traditional marriage. We pledge to protect those business owners who have been subjected to hate campaigns, threats of violence, and other attempts to deny their civil rights.
We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and further affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities. We assert the First Amendment right of freedom of association for religious, private, service, and youth organizations to set their own membership standards.
This section was shortened from 634 to 396 words. For full text, see page 11 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
The First Amendment: Constitutionally Protected Speech (p. 12)
We believe the forced funding of political candidates through union dues and other mandatory contributions violates the First Amendment. Just as Americans have a First Amendment right to devote resources to favored candidates or views, they have a First Amendment right not to be forced to individually support individuals or ideologies that they oppose. We agree with Thomas Jefferson that “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
The Fourth Amendment: Liberty and Privacy (p. 13)
. . .No matter the medium, citizens must retain the right to communicate with one another free from unlawful government intrusion. It will not be easy to balance privacy rights with the government’s legitimate need to access encrypted information. This issue is too important to be left to the courts. A Republican president and a Republican Congress must listen to the American people and forge a consensus solution.
. . .Thus, FATCA not only allows “unreasonable search and seizures” but also threatens the ability of overseas Americans to lead normal lives. We call for its repeal and for a change to residency-based taxation for U.S. citizens overseas.
This section was shortened from 325 to 176 words. For full text, see page 13 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
The Fifth Amendment: Protecting Human Life (p. 13)
. . .We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. . . we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms. . . We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.
We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment. . . from individuals with disabilities, newborns, the elderly, or the infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.
We affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women who face an unplanned pregnancy. . . we support legislation that requires financial responsibility for the child be equally borne by both the mother and father upon conception until the child reaches adulthood. . . We celebrate the millions of Americans who open their hearts, homes, and churches to mothers in need and women fleeing abuse. We thank and encourage providers of counseling, medical services, and adoption assistance for empowering women experiencing an unintended pregnancy to choose life. We support funding for ultrasounds and adoption assistance. We salute the many states that now protect women and girls through laws requiring informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods, and clinic regulation. We condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics.
We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives. . . passing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which imposes appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion. . . We strongly oppose infanticide. Over a dozen states have passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks, the point at which. . . unborn babies can feel excruciating pain during abortions, and we call on Congress to enact the federal version. . . We support state and federal efforts against the cruelest forms of abortion, especially dismemberment abortion procedures, in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb.
We call on Congress to ban sex-selection abortions and abortions based on disabilities. . . We oppose embryonic stem cell research. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. We support adult stem cell research and urge the restoration of the national placental stem cell bank. . . We oppose federal funding for harvesting embryos and call for a ban on human cloning. . .
This section was shortened from 763 to 500 words. For full text, see page 13 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
The Fifth Amendment: Protecting Private Property (p. 14)
The government at every level must always pay just compensation whenever it takes private property to achieve a compelling public use. . .
Civil asset forfeiture. . . has become a tool for unscrupulous law enforcement officials, acting without due process, to profit by destroying the livelihood of innocent individuals. . . When the rights of the innocent can be so easily violated, no one’s rights are safe. We call on Congress and state legislatures to enact reforms to protect law-abiding citizens against abusive asset forfeiture tactics.
This section was shortened from 289 to 208 words. For full text, see page 14 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.
The Fifth Amendment: Intellectual Property Rights (p. 15)
Protecting intellectual property is also a national security issue. We must guard against counterfeit parts that can compromise the reliability of our weapons systems and the safety of military personnel. Today, the worst offenses against intellectual property rights come from abroad, especially in China. We call for strong action by Congress and a new Republican president to enforce intellectual property laws against all infringers, whether foreign or domestic.
The Ninth Amendment: The People’s Retained Rights (p. 15)
The Tenth Amendment: Federalism as the Foundation of Personal Liberty (p. 15)
Big government undermines federalism through more than 1,100 grants-in-aid programs that consume more than one-sixth of the federal budget for matters that should be the exclusive responsibility of the states. . . money originating from state taxpayers is returned to the states, usually greatly reduced, with myriad strings attached. These grants turn state and local elected officials into agents of the federal government. . . We call upon Congress to help a Republican president to reduce and ultimately eliminate this system of conditioned grants. . .
This section was shortened from 326 to 234 words. For full text, see page 15 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.