A political party platform is the formal announcement of the policies, promises, and objectives that a political party wants to achieve. In the United States, political platforms go all the way back to our colonial roots. Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense (1776) championed for freedom of the United States from Great Britain, and proposed a Constitution for the new United States.
Notable party platforms in US history include: Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal (1932), Democratic Party Civil Rights Platform (1948), Lyndon Baines Johnson’s War on poverty (1965), Republican congressional Contract with America (1994), Mike Harris’s Common Sense Revolution (1995), and the United States Democratic Party 100-Hour Plan (2006).
Parties generally write and adopt a new platform for each presidential election year. This year, Democrats made significant changes to their 2016 platform and voted on it remotely. Likewise, Republicans voted remotely but to keep the 2016 platform which many say suited the party well and helped lead to their 2016 victory.
The platform positions for the Republicans and Democrats for the 2020 Election are as follows:
SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
- Supports “repealing the Hyde Amendment” to allow the government to fund abortion.
- Supports “codifying” the right to abortion.
- “Democrats believe every woman should be able to access…reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortions.”
- [O]ppose and will fight to overturn federal and state laws that create barriers to reproductive health and rights.
- Opposes current FDA safety restrictions on chemical abortion pills.
- Supports repealing President Trump’s changes to the Title X program that separate abortion from federal family planning grants.
- “Proud to be the party that protects human life and offers real solutions for women” and “strongly oppose[s] infanticide,” including specific support for: the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; a human life constitutional amendment; a ban on abortion at 20 weeks, when unborn babies can feel pain; a ban on abortion based on sex or disability; a ban on dismemberment abortion “in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb”; abortion clinic safety regulations; a ban on human cloning, and creating or experimenting upon human embryos, including three-parent embryos; a ban on any sale of body parts; and a ban on the “use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood.”
- Silent on marriage and family being the foundation of society
- “The American family… is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman.”
- Condemns the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and “urge[s] its reversal.”
LGBT, TRANSGENDER BATHROOMS, AND PROTECTING WOMEN’S SPORTS IN SCHOOLS
- “We will fight to enact the Equality Act” – a bill that would alter our entire federal civil rights framework, gut religious liberty, and advance abortion.
- Supports insurance coverage of “gender transition,” including “surgery and hormone therapy.”
- “We will ensure that all transgender and non-binary people can procure official government identification documents that accurately reflect their gender identity.”
- Supports banning practices aimed at assisting patients with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria
- We will work to “guarantee transgender students’ access to facilities based on their gender identity.”
- “We will protect the rights of transgender students.”
- “We will fight to enact the Equality Act” – a bill that would allow biological men to play in women’s sports if they identify as transgender women.
- We “embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with dignity and respect.”
- “We support measures” barring “government discrimination because of [one’s] marriage and family.”
- Supports “the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.”
- Opposes Title IX being used “to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories.”
- Opposes “reshaping our schools — and our entire society — to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions.”
- Opposes President Obama’s Title IX transgender bathroom edict. It is “illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues.”
ABORTION AND THE LGBT AGENDA INTERNATIONALLY
- “We believe…access to reproductive care and abortion services, are vital to the empowerment of women and girls.”
- Supports for repealing President Trump’s expanded Mexico City Policy and the Helms Amendment which bar American funding for abortion abroad.
- “We will restore the United States’ position of leadership on LGBTQ+ issues” and appoint “senior leaders directly responsible for driving…LGBTQ+ issues within the federal government.”
- Opposes the federal government funding abortion overseas and supports restoring the Mexico City Policy, to prevent federal money from going to NGOs which “provide or promote abortion,” or are complicit in China’s one-child policy.
- Condemns the Obama administration for “impos[ing] on foreign recipients, especially the peoples of Africa, its own radical social agenda while excluding faith-based groups.”
CONSCIENCE RIGHTS IN HEALTHCARE
- Supports the coercive HHS contraception mandate against faith-based groups like Little Sisters of the Poor.
- Condemns the Trump administration’s regulation clarifying the definition of sex discrimination in the Affordable Care Act. This regulation allows doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies to practice medicine and operate in accordance with their conscience.
- “America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession. We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy.”
- “Preserve and make more progressive. Allow to save for retirement beyond social security in both public and private retirement plans. Increase benefits for all beneficiaries, increase minimum benefit payments, increase benefits for long-duration beneficiaries, and protect surviving spouses from benefit cuts. Eliminate provisions that unfairly reduce public sector workers. Provide for caregivers and caregivers for family to mitigate the penalty for unpaid care.”
- “Preserve and modernize a system of retirement security. Ensure current retirees and those close to retirement assured of benefits. All options considered to preserve social security. Preserve and modernize a system of retirement security forged in an old industrial era.”
MEDICARE and MEDICAID
- “[fight} to achieve universal health care. We are proud to be the party of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.”
- “Protect, strengthen, and build upon our bedrock health care programs, including the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Affairs (VA) system.”
- “Work to eliminate waiting lists for home and community-based care and the institutional bias within Medicaid, making investments in building the capacity of the Medicaid system to provide home and community-based services.”
- “Modernize Medicare and Medicaid, empower participants, put it on secure financial footing. Medicare, impose no changes for persons 55 or older. Option for participants with traditional Medicare and Medicaid, or transition to a premium support model, strengthen patient’s choice. Promote cost-saving competition among providers. Better fraud protection. Guarantee to every enrollee an income-adjusted contribution toward a plan of their choice, with catastrophic protection. Do not disadvantage present retirees or those nearing retirement, set a more realistic age for eligibility due to today’s longer life-span.”
- “Block-grant mental health in order to allow state and local government to create solutions for individuals and families in desperate need of help in addressing mental health issues. Their initiatives whether premium supports for purchasing insurance, refundable tax credits, alternatives to hospitalization for chronic patients, disease prevention activities, and other initiatives.”
- Celebrates “[…] the paramount importance of maintaining the separation between church and state […].”
- Rejects “broad religious exemptions” for “businesses, medical providers, social service agencies, and others[…].”
- “We will fight to enact the Equality Act” – a bill that would remove religious liberty protections and even force churches to violate the tenets of their faith.
- “Religious freedom is a core American value and a core value of the Democratic Party. Democrats will protect the rights of each American for the free exercise of his or her own religion.”
- “[W]e strongly support the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their everyday lives.”
- “Ongoing attempts to compel individuals, businesses, and institutions of faith to transgress their beliefs are part of a misguided effort to undermine religion and drive it from the public square.”
- “We value the right of America’s religious leaders to preach, and Americans to speak freely, according to their faith.” The government “is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs.”
INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
- “It will be the policy of the Democratic Administration to advocate for religious freedom throughout the world.”
- Implies religious freedom is a “cover for discrimination.”
- Asserts that there is “politicization” of religious freedom within U.S. foreign policy.
- Affirms the importance of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
- Promises “A Republican administration will return the advocacy of religious liberty to a central place in its diplomacy, will quickly designate the systematic killing of religious and ethnic minorities a genocide, and will work with the leaders of other nations to condemn and combat genocidal acts.”
GOD IN GOVERNMENT
- Silent on the role of God in government.
- Silent on the source of human rights.
- Celebrates, “[…] the paramount importance of maintaining the separation between church and state enshrined in our Constitution.”
- Entire platform mentions God one time.
- “If God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail.”
- “We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage.”
- Entire platform mentions God 15 times.
- “We will appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices and federal judges who […] will respect and enforce foundational precedents, including […] Roe v. Wade.”
- “Applaud[s]” the decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which redefined the word sex in Title VII to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
- “We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.”
- Seeks to “enable courts to begin to reverse the long line of activist decisions—including Roe, Obergefell, and the Obamacare cases.”
- Supports “LGBTQ+ inclusive” sex education with a full range of “family planning services.”
- Supports “sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.”
- “Make public colleges and universities tuition free for students with families that earn less than $125,000 annually. Double maximum Pell Grant amount for low-income students. Double federal support for TRIO programs that help first-generation college students, students with disabilities, veterans, and other under-represented groups. Work to provide grants to HBCUs, MSIs, and TCUs to lower student costs, increase academic research capabilities, and ensure these essential institutions can continue to thrive in the future. Public policy should advance their affordability, innovation, and transparency in technical institutions, online universities, life-long learning, and work-based learning in the private sector.”
- “Take the federal government out of originating student loans. Private sector participation in student financing should be restored. Accreditation decoupled from federal financing. States empowered a wide array of accendibility and credentialing bodies to operate. Bring private industry into credentialing market. Give students the ability to customize their college experience. Need new systems of learning to compete with four-year colleges.”
- “Realize that a school is not simply a place for teaching for children. Expand free lunch program, do not shame lunch debt. Expand and enhance after school programs and adult education classes. Expand access to career and technical education and magnet schools for sciences and the arts. Enhance International Baccalaureate programs. Continue with Advance Placement classes in high school that are college accredited. Increase high quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs in public schools, and access to computer science for all students. Improve professional development opportunities in school. Treat STEM teachers as leaders in schools and communities.”
- “Use the Bible as a literature class option in public school systems. Make use of teaching talent in the business community. Enhance opportunities to learn STEM fields, and military. Better vetting of teacher’s backgrounds with more stringent background checks. Rejects excessive testing and “teaching to the test” methods. Tailor teaching to meet the students’ needs (stronger assessments of what are those needs). Parents have the right to direct children’s education, care, and upbringing. Reject one suit fits all for educational formula for students.”
- “Democrats oppose private school vouchers and other policies that divert taxpayer-funded resources away from the public-school system, including the program at issue in the recent Espinoza decision.”
- No mention of homeschooling
- Will “fight for school choice” and “local control.”
- Recognizes that “[P]arents,” not the government, “are a child’s first and foremost educators.”
- Supports homeschooling, private schools, vouchers, and tuition tax credits.
- Encourages teaching the Bible as an elective in public schools.
SOCIAL EXPERIMENTATION IN THE MILITARY
- “We will reverse the Trump Administration’s…ban [DOD policy on Gender Dysphoric individuals serving in the military].”
- Silent on service members’ religious liberty rights.
- Calls for VA medical benefits to include abortion and gender “transition” services.
- “We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept…attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness.”
- Supports “the religious freedom of all military members, especially chaplains, and will not tolerate attempts to ban Bibles or religious symbols from military facilities.”
- Opposes the “Selective Service registration of women for a possible future draft.”
SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL
- Support negotiated two-state solution to secure Israel’s future as a Jewish and Democratic state. Israel is to have recognized borders. Uphold Palestinian’s rights to live in freedom and security. Committed to Israel’s security, its qualitative military edge, its right to defend itself, and the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding is ironclad.
- Support Israel as a free and Democratic state. Freedom of speech and religion. Recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel. Maintain qualitative edge in military. Support its right and obligation to defend against terror attacks upon its people, and other warfare such as legally, economically, culturally, and otherwise. Advance policies that reflect America’s strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between America and Israel.
- Voted against implementing term limits.
- Endorses term limits for members of Congress. Set term limits for its own committee chairs and leadership positions.
- Open internet, net neutrality. Expect technology companies and social media platforms to responsibly identify foreign disinformation, paid efforts to influence American elections, or coordinated inauthentic behavior. Take steps to prevent new use of technology to facilitate repression, spread hate, or incite violence. Secure 5G networks and address threats in cyberspace.
- Support internet policies that allow people and private enterprises to thrive, without providing new and expanded government power to tax and regulate. Resist effort to shift control of internet to governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations. Ensure personal data gets full Constitutional protection from government overreach. The only way to safeguard is in the private sector. Free market needs to be government free.
AMERICAN INDIANS/NATIVE AMERICANS
- Recognize and support sovereignty of Tribal Nations. Increase economic development. Protect Tribal lands, assets, resources, and treaty rights. Honor and support Indian traditions. Reject Trump Administration to remove land that had been put into trust by Obama/Biden Administration. Enact a clean Carciceri fix. Assist with Affordable Care Act Insurance (public option). Assist with housing, employment services, mental health and substance abuse services, dental care, and education. Nominate Federal Judges who understand Indian Law. Continue with White House Tribal Nations Conference. Make permeants White House Council on Native American Affairs consistent with the policies of the Obama/Biden Administration.
- Respect tribal governments as the voice of their communities, and encourage federal, state, and local governments to heed those voices in developing programs and partnerships to improve quality of life for American Indians. Help support economic self-sufficiency. Tribal governments and their communities, not Washington bureaucracies, best fit to find solutions to end poverty and disenfranchisement. Expand economic opportunity, better education and educational opportunities, better health care, better infrastructure (roads), and better technology.
SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS/CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
- Invest in rehabilitating prisoners. Stop the school-to-prison pipeline. Invest in education, jobs, healthcare, and housing options for prisoners upon release. Treat prisoners while incarcerated, teach how to follow-up with doctors and medical providers after release.
- Assist prisoners for release with renewing voting rights, erect barriers to housing, and employment. Provide more public funding for police, and enhance police training to deal with the homeless population, mental health issues, and substance and drug abuse (especially with the opioid epidemic).
- Restorative programs for prisoners in order to make them whole again: Diversion for first-time, non-violent offenders and community sentencing. Accountability courts, drug courts, Veteran’s treatment courts, guidance by faith-based institutions with proven track records of rehabilitation.
- Death penalty option to be determined by the states. Mandatory prison sentences for all assaults involving serious injury to law enforcement officers.
- Respect for law enforcement, from the White House to local politicians. Hands-off policy for government interference; let the police do their job without interference such as refusal to enforce laws, stone-walling by congressional committees, destroying evidence, reckless dealing with firearms, and defying a citation for contempt.
- “Keep it in the ground” theme. Clean Energy Revolution. Grow the economy and combat climate change, imperative to do both.
- “Rejoin Paris Climate Agreement, restore Protections for Public Lands and Water, and reduce harmful methane and carbon pollution.“
- “Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Eliminate carbon pollution from power plants by 2035 through technology-neutral standards.”
- “Expand solar and wind energy deployment through community-based, utility-scale systems. Install 500 million solar panels, including 8 million solar roofs and community solar energy systems, 60,000 wind turbines.”
- “Use technology-neutral approach inclusive of all zero-carbon technologies, including hydroelectric power, geothermal, existing and advanced nuclear and carbon capture and storage.”
- “Modernize pipelines and the electrical grid. Protect the grid from disruption.”
- “Lower energy costs.“
- “Open public lands and the outer continental shelf for exploration and responsible production. Give authority to state regulators to manage energy resources on federally controlled public lands within their respective borders.”
- “Finish the Keystone Pipeline. Support the development of all forms of energy that are marketable in a free economy without subsidies: coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, and hydro-power.”
- “Encourage the cost-effective development of renewable energy sources: wind, solar, biomass, biofuel, geothermal, and tidal energy by private capital.”
- “Oppose the carbon tax. Support lifting restrictions and allow responsible development of nuclear energy, including research into alternative processes like thorium nuclear energy.”
- “Modernize approach to environmentalism. Shift responsibility for environmental regulation from the federal bureaucracy to the states. Clean Water Act back to its original intention. Transform the EPA into an independent, bipartisan commission, similar to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with structural safeguards and politicized science.”
- “End sue and settle with courts in environmental issues. Reform the Equal Access to Justice Act to its original intent. Forbid EPA to regulate carbon dioxide.”
- “Climate change must be based on dispassionate analysis of hard data.”
- “Reject the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.”
- “ESA species threatened by extinction remain protected, ensure that the listing of endangered species and the designation of critical habitats are based upon sound science and balance the protection of endangered species with the costs of compliance and the right of property owners.”
- “Halt the US funding for the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Control (UNFCCC) in accordance with the 1994 Foreign Relations Authorization Act.”
SECOND AMENDMENT: RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS
- “Addressing the gun violence crisis requires supporting evidence-based programs that prevent gun deaths from occurring in the first place, including by making mental health care more accessible and supporting suicide reduction initiatives, funding interventions to reduce homicides and gun violence in neighborhoods, and strengthening protections against domestic violence.”
- “Enact universal background checks, end online sales of guns and ammunition,
- “Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. We will incentivize states to enact licensing requirements for owning firearms and extreme risk protection order laws that allow courts to temporarily remove guns from the possession of those who are a danger to themselves or others.”
- “Gun companies should be held responsible for their products, just like any other business, and will prioritize repealing the law that shields gun manufacturers from civil liability.”
- “We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities.”
- “We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle. We also oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law.”
- “Commit[ed] to building a 21st century immigration system that reflects our values, repairs past harms, heals our communities, rebuilds our economy, and renews our global leadership.”
- “Terminate the Trump Administration’s discriminatory travel and immigration bans.”
- “Provide a roadmap to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers.”
- “Supporting the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights and the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act.”
- “Our party is the natural home for those who come in search of freedom and justice. We welcome all to the Great Opportunity Party.”
- “Our immigration system must protect American working families and their wages, for citizens and legal immigrants alike, in a way that will improve the economy.”
- “America’s immigration policy must serve the national interest of the United States, and the interests of American workers must be protected over the claims of foreign nationals seeking the same jobs.”
- “Support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry.“
- “Workplace enforcement of verification systems so that more jobs can be available to all legal workers. Use of the E-verify program — an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees — must be made mandatory nationwide.”
- “Because “sanctuary cities” violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, they should not be eligible for federal funding. Using state licenses to reward people in the country illegally is an affront to the rule of law and must be halted.”
–Amy Buster, Lee Hartman, Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice
*Sources: Democrat National Committee, Republican National Committee, FRCAction