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

The Democratic Platform has an overarching category addressing Values: Protect Our Values (p. 40).
Our values of inclusion and tolerance inspire hope around the world and make us safer at home. The world will be more secure, stable, and peaceful when all people are able to reach their God-given potential and live in freedom and dignity. We strive to ensure that the values upon which our country was built, including our belief that all people are created equal, are reflected in everything our nation does. That is why we will promote peacebuilding, protect democracy, and champion human rights defenders. And we will seek to safeguard vulnerable minorities, including LGBT people and people with disabilities.
Women and Girls (p. 41)
We believe the United States must continue to be a strong advocate for the rights and opportunities of women and girls. . . When women and girls are healthy, educated, and able to participate economically, their families and communities prosper, poverty decreases, and economies grow. And when women participate in conflict resolution and post-conflict processes, it improves the likelihood of securing sustainable peace. Democrats are committed to advancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls as a central focus of American diplomacy, development, and defense efforts and will continue to support the United States National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. We will work to end the epidemic of gender-based violence around the world. We will urge ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
. . .In addition to expanding the availability of affordable family planning information and contraceptive supplies, we believe that safe abortion must be part of comprehensive maternal and women’s health care and included as part of America’s global health programming. Therefore, we support the repeal of harmful restrictions. . . including the “global gag rule” and the Helms Amendment that bars American assistance to provide safe, legal abortion. . .

This section was shortened from 249 to 203 words. For full text, see page 41 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People (p. 41)
Democrats believe that LGBT rights are human rights and that American foreign policy should advance the ability of all persons to live with dignity, security, and respect, regardless of who they are or who they love. We applaud President Obama’s historic Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons, which combats criminalization, protects refugees, and provides foreign assistance. We will continue to stand with LGBT people around the world, including fighting efforts by any nation to infringe on LGBT rights or ignore abuse.
Trafficking and Modern Slavery (p. 41)
We will stop the scourge of human trafficking and modern slavery of men, women, boys, and girls. We will use the full force of the law against those who engage in modern-day forms of slavery, including the commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor of men, women, and children. Building on the accomplishments of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, we call for increased diplomatic efforts with foreign governments to root out complicit public officials who facilitate or perpetrate this evil. We will also work to increase the provision of services and protections for trafficking survivors.
Young People (p. 41)
The majority of the developing world is under the age of 30. These countries will be more prosperous and stable if young people have access to education and employment opportunities. Democrats will promote the rights of young people and nurture young leaders. We will work with people around the world who seek greater opportunities, including by promoting job creation, expanding education and health care, and fostering partnerships between peoples.
Religious Minorities (p. 41)
We are horrified by ISIS’ genocide and sexual enslavement of Christians and Yezidis and crimes against humanity against Muslims and others in the Middle East. We will do everything we can to protect religious minorities and the fundamental right of freedom of religion.
Refugees (p. 42)
The world is experiencing a major refugee crisis with more than 60 million people displaced as a result of conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe. We support President Obama’s call for an international summit to address this crisis so that every country assumes its responsibility to meet this humanitarian challenge. While Donald Trump proposes banning Muslim refugees, we will look for ways to help innocent people who are fleeing persecution while ensuring rigorous screening and vetting.
Civil Society (p. 42)
Democrats support progress toward more accountable governance and universal rights. As autocrats and strongmen around the world crack down on civil society and imprison those who speak out to demand greater freedom, we will continue to bolster groups and individuals who fight for fundamental human rights, democracy, and rule of law. We will support strong legislatures, independent judiciaries, free press, vibrant civil society, honest police forces, religious freedom, and equality for women and minorities. We will bolster the development of civil society and representative institutions that can protect fundamental human rights and improve the quality of life for all citizens, including independent and democratic unions. In non-democratic countries, we will work with international partners to assist the efforts of those struggling to promote peaceful political reforms.

Democrats will protect Americans citizens abroad. We condemn the practice of unlawful detentions or imprisonment, especially of journalists and civil rights activists.

Anti-Corruption (p. 42)
Democrats believe that we need to end corruption worldwide and increase transparency. We will fight corruption, promote good governance, and support the rule of law. We will also seek to close offshore tax havens, which corrupt rulers, individuals, and corporations exploit to shelter ill-gotten gains or avoid paying taxes at home.
Torture (p. 42)
We will always seek to uphold our values at home and abroad, not just when it is easy, but when it is hard. That is why President Obama banned torture without exception in his first week in office and why Democrats condemn Donald Trump’s statements that he would engage in torture and other war crimes. We agree with military and national security experts who acknowledge that torture is not an effective interrogation technique.
Closing Guantánamo Bay (p. 42)
The Democratic Party remains committed to closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay and ending indefinite detention without trial or conviction. Keeping the facility open is a blemish on our record, serves as a recruiting tool for extremists, and undermines our standing in the world.
Development Assistance (p. 42)
We believe that development assistance is an essential instrument of American power. It can prevent threats, enhance stability, and reduce the need for military force. With less than one percent of the federal budget, our development assistance has helped cut extreme poverty in half, drastically decreased maternal and child mortality, reduced global hunger, provided food security, countered deadly pandemics, promoted education, and put an AIDS-free generation within reach. This investment reflects the best of America and makes us safer. We need to continue this work and make more progress on important global goals like ending extreme poverty and hunger.

We will support local development efforts, recognizing the self-determination of the peoples and countries we assist to direct their own futures. We will also learn from recent conflicts to improve civilian capacity for conflict prevention and stabilization.

Global Health (p. 43)
America has made critical investments in global health, including in the areas of maternal and child health, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. It is vital that we continue this work— which has saved millions of lives around the world and is essential to our nation’s health security. While the Republican Party refuses to fund important measures that could contain and address the Zika pandemic, Democrats are ready to limit the reach of Zika—just as we did with Ebola—and support funding for diagnostic tests for the virus, vaccine, and treatment. We will also prepare for potential pandemics, like avian influenza and H1N1, by working with first responders and health officials to reduce the risks associated with unintentional or deliberate outbreaks of infectious diseases.
HIV and AIDS (p. 43)
Democrats believe an AIDS-free generation is within our grasp. But today far too many Americans living with HIV are without access to quality care and too many new infections occur each year. That is why we will implement the National HIV and AIDS Strategy; increase research funding for the National Institutes of Health; cap pharmaceutical expenses for people living with HIV and AIDS; reform HIV criminalization laws; and expand access for harm reduction programs and HIV prevention medications, particularly for the populations most at risk of infection. Abroad, we will continue our commitment to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and increase global funding for HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment. Democrats will always protect those living with HIV and AIDS from stigma and discrimination.
International Labor (p. 43)
Democrats believe that a key element of American leadership is growing our economy and protecting American jobs. We also believe that the world will be safer when there is greater prosperity. That is why we will prioritize and strongly enforce provisions on decent work and worker’s rights in all American diplomatic, trade, and programmatic efforts. We think it is wrong for workers in the United States to have to compete against poverty-wage, child, or slave labor.

Democrats will fight to end child labor. We will promote broad-based economic growth across the world, pursuing a global economic agenda that promotes rising wages and invests in quality public services, workers’ rights, and environmental protections. We believe that we need to coordinate our economic actions with other countries to address economic insecurity, specifically youth un- and underemployment, gender inequality, the digital transformation, and the transition towards green jobs.

Republican Party Platform

The Republican Platform has an overarching category addressing Values: Great American Families, Education, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice (p. 31).
American Values (p. 31)
We are the party of independent individuals and the institutions they create together — families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods — to ad­vance their ideals and make real their dreams. Those institutions, standing between the citizen and the power of government, are the pillars of a free soci­ety. They create spaces where the power of govern­ment should not intrude. They allow Americans to work together to solve most of the problems facing their communities. They thus reduce the need for intervention by government in the form of more and bigger programs or a larger public workforce. They minimize decision-making by those who hold or are appointed to office. That is precisely why today’s progressives distrust and seek to control them — because this is more than a conflict of ideas. It is a struggle for power.

Our society is at a crossroads. For several generations, an expansive federal regime has marginalized and supplanted the institutions holding our society together. No wonder, then, that so much seems to be coming apart now. The question is whether we are going to reinvigorate the private-sector institutions under citizen control or allow their continued erosion by the forces of centralized social planning. In that divide, the Republican Party stands with the people.

Marriage, Family, and Society (p. 31)
. . .the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman. Its daily lessons. . . are fundamental to the order and progress of our Republic. Strong families. . . advance the cause of liberty by lessening the need for government in their daily lives. . .
. . .the overwhelming evidence of experience, social science, and common sense. . . give us these truths. . . Children raised in a two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage. We oppose policies and laws that. . . encourage cohabitation. Moreover, marriage remains the greatest antidote to child poverty. . . children. . . born outside of marriage are five times more likely to live in poverty. . .
. . .Every child deserves a married mom and dad. . . millions. . . do not have the advantages that come with that structure. We honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the burdens of parenting alone. . . all Americans should be treated with dignity and respect. . . Our laws. . . should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life. . . we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage. . . We oppose government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views. . .
Families formed or enlarged by adoption strengthen our communities and ennoble our nation. Private entities which facilitate adoptions enrich our communities. We support measures such as the First Amendment Defense Act to ensure these entities do not face government discrimination because of their views on marriage and family. . .
. . .We urge marriage penal¬ties to be removed from the tax code and public assistance programs. . .

This section was shortened from 660 to 344 words. For full text, see page 31 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.

A Culture of Hope (p. 32)
We have been fighting the War on Poverty for 50 years and poverty is winning. Our social safety net. . . costing over $1 trillion every year — is designed to help people. . . It rarely lifts them out. . .
. . .it has been 20 years since the landmark Republican welfare reform of 1996. . . it put millions of recipients on a transition from dependence to independence. Welfare rolls declined by half as recipients and prospective recipients discovered a better way to reach their goals. . . 3 million children moved out of poverty. Today that progress has been lost. . .
This is the progressive pathology: Keeping people dependent so that government can redistribute income. . . This is the false compassion of the status quo. We propose instead the dynamic compassion of work requirements in a growing economy, where opportunity takes the place of a hand-out. . .
We call for removal of structural impediments. . . Over-regulation of start-up enterprises, excessive licensing requirements, needless restrictions on formation of schools and day-care centers. . . and restrictions on providing public services. . . we urge greater state and local responsibility for, and control over, public assistance programs.

This section was shortened from 474 to 202 words. For full text, see page 32 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.