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.

Voting Rights

Democratic Party Platform

The Democratic Platform has an overarching category addressing Voting Rights: Protect Voting Rights, Fix Our Campaign Finance System, and Restore Our Democracy (p. 22).
PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS, FIX OUR CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM, AND RESTORE OUR DEMOCRACY (p. 22)
Democrats know that Americans’ right to vote is sacred and fundamental. We believe that we must protect Americans’ right to vote, while stopping corporations’ outsized influence in elections. We must rectify the Supreme Court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act, which is a profound injustice. We will stop efforts by Republican governors and legislatures to disenfranchise people of color, low-income people, and young people, and prevent these voters from exercising their right to vote through onerous restrictions. We will ensure that election officials comply with voting protections, including provisions mandating bilingual materials and voter assistance. And we will fight to reform our broken campaign finance system, which gives outsized influence to billionaires and big corporations. It’s time we give back control of our elections to those to whom it belongs—the American people.
Protecting Voting Rights (p. 22)
The Democratic Party was founded on the promise of an expanded democracy. . . It is a core principle of the Democratic Party to maximize voter participation for all Americans. . . we must make it easier to vote, not harder.
We must restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. We will bring our democracy into the 21st century by expanding early voting and vote-by-mail, implementing universal automatic voter registration and same day voter registration, ending partisan and racial gerrymandering, and making Election Day a national holiday. We will restore voting rights for those who have served their sentences. And we will continue to fight against discriminatory voter identification laws. . .
We support fully funding the Help America Vote Act and will work to. . . end long lines at voting booths and ensuring that all registration materials, voting materials, polling places, and voting machines are truly accessible. . . We will support local, county, and state governments in their efforts to upgrade old voting equipment and machines. . .
. . .We support efforts to defeat ill-motivated voter suppression tactics. We also support Ohio’s proposed Voters Bill of Rights amendment, North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement, and similar initiatives. . .

This section was shortened from 337 to 204 words. For full text, see page 22 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.

Fixing Our Broken Campaign Finance System (p. 22)
Democrats believe we must fight to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world: a government that represents the American people, not just a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests. We will fight for real campaign finance reform now. Big money is drowning out the voices of everyday Americans, and we must have the necessary tools to fight back and safeguard our electoral and political integrity.

Democrats support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo. We need to end secret, unaccountable money in politics by requiring, through executive order or legislation, significantly more disclosure and transparency—by outside groups, federal contractors, and public corporations to their shareholders. We need to amplify the voices of the American people through a small donor matching public financing system. We need to overhaul and strengthen the Federal Election Commission so that there is real enforcement of campaign finance laws. And we need to fight to eliminate super PACs and outside spending abuses.

Our vision for American democracy is a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process and can run for office without needing to depend on large contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.

Honoring the People of the Territories (p. 21)
We also recognize and honor the contributions and the sacrifices made in service of our country by the Americans living in the territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. We support self-government and self-determination for the people of the territories, and their right to decide their future status. All Americans should be able to vote for the people who make their laws, just as they should be treated equally. And all American citizens, no matter where they reside, should have the right to vote for the President of the United States. We will work as partners to the people of Guam on military matters, believe veterans from Guam and the Virgin Islands should have access to timely and quality Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) care, and take seriously the unique health care challenges that Pacific Island communities face. And we support reviewing the feasibility of extending the ACA to all the territories and increasing the Medicaid cap. For all those who live under our flag, we support strong economic development and will work towards fair and equitable treatment under federal programs.

Republican Party Platform

The Republican Platform has two overarching categories addressing Voting Rights: A Rebirth of Constitutional Government (p. 9) and Government Reform (p. 23).
Honest Elections and the Electoral College (p. 16)
We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College. An unconstitutional effort to impose National Popular Vote would be a grave threat to our federal system and a guarantee of corruption, as every ballot box in every state would offer a chance to steal the presidency. We urge state legislatures that have voted for this proposal to rescind their approval.
Honest Elections and the Right to Vote (p. 16)
Honest elections are the foundation of representative government. We pledge to protect the voting rights of every citizen, as well as their rights of conscience. . . We support state efforts to ensure ballot access for. . . all legitimate voters. We urge state and local officials to take all appropriate steps to allow voters to cast their ballots in a timely manner. . . some voting procedures may be open to abuse. . . we support legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting. . . we urge that electronic voting systems have a voter-verified paper audit trail. We urge every state to join the Interstate Voter Registration Cross Check Program to keep voter rolls accurate and to prevent people from voting in more than one state. . . we call for vigilance regarding online credit card contributions to candidates and campaigns.
. . .Our troops, wherever stationed, must be allowed to vote in a timely manner. . .
. . .we urge our elected representatives to ensure that citizenship, rather than mere residency, be made the basis for the apportionment of representatives among the states.

This section was shortened from 312 to 195 words. For full text, see page 16 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.

Preserving the District of Columbia (p. 30)
The nation’s capital city is a special responsibil­ity of the federal government because it belongs both to its residents and to all Americans. . . Congressional Republicans have fostered homeownership and open access to higher education for Washington residents. . . they have established and expanded the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. . .

Republicans have been in the forefront of combating chronic corruption among the city’s top Democratic officials. We call for congressio­nal action to enforce the spirit of the Home Rule Act, assuring minority representation on the City Council. That council. . . is attempting to seize from the Congress its ap­propriating power over all funding for the District. The illegality of their action mirrors the unaccept­able spike in violent crime and murders. . . We expect Congress to assert. . . its constitutional pre­rogatives regarding the District.

Since the Supreme Court’s decisions affirming the Second Amendment rights of its citizens, city officials have engaged in a campaign of massive resistance. . . The Republican Congress should be prepared. . . to enact legislation allowing law-abiding Washingtonians to own and carry firearms.

Statehood for the District can be advanced only by a constitutional amendment. Any other ap­proach would be invalid. . . soundly rejected by the states when last pro­posed in 1976 and should not be revived.

This section was shortened from 273 to 218 words. For full text, see page 30 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.

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