Democrats vs GOP Platform Comparison

Looking at the platforms adopted by our two major parties at their conventions, it’s hard to say you don’t have a clear choice this presidential election year – the Democratic and Republican platforms show a stark divide between the parties on both foreign and domestic issues.

While the Democrats’ statement of principles encompassed many of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ views, giving him a victory even as he lost the presidential nomination to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Republican platform shifted to the right of its nominee, Donald Trump, amid concern that he wasn’t conservative enough.

Here are a number of major differences in the party platforms:

1. ABORTION
Democrats: “We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion.” In addition, “We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood”.
Republicans: Abortion should be illegal in all cases with no exception for   rape,incest or the health of the mother; and the Constitution should be amended to ban the procedure.

2. GAY RIGHTS/SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Democrats: Applauded the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
Republicans: Condemned the court decision and defended merchants who would deny service to gay customers.

3. IMMIGRATION
Democrats:  Called for fixing the “broken immigration system,” including a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Republicans: Embraced Trump’s call for a wall along the U.S-Mexican border though was silent on whether to back their nominee’s demand to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants.

4. CLIMATE CHANGE
Democrats: “Climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures.” Called for the country to generate half off its electricity from clean sources in the next decade, more public transit and a tax code that creates incentives for renewable energy.
Republicans: Cast doubts on whether the climate is changing and oppose international accords on climate change. Described coal as a “clean” energy source and rejected President Obama’s plan to cut emissions by shifting away from coal-powered power plants.

5. MEDICARE
Democrats: They would not only “fight any attempts by Republicans in Congress to privatize, voucherize, or ‘phase out’ Medicare,” but would allow Americans older than 55 to enroll.
Republicans: They would end the health care program for the elderly as we know it, requiring seniors to either enroll in a private insurance plan or face limits on how much the government will pay.

6. WALL STREET 
Democrats: The party promised to “vigorously implement, enforce, and build on” banking regulations enacted to curb risky practices by financial institutions and “will stop dead in its tracks every Republican effort to weaken it.”
Republicans: Blamed the Great Recession on “the government’s own housing policies,” not Wall Street actions and called the banking regulations “an excuse to establish unprecedented government control over the nation’s financial markets.”

 7. IRAN
Democrats: President Barack Obama’s agreement to relax economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program “verifiably cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb without resorting to war.”
Republicans: The deal “gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the survival of our friends.” The Republican platform called it “a personal agreement between the president and his negotiating partners and non-binding on the next president.”

8. ISRAEL
Democrats: The platform backed a “secure and democratic Jewish state” of Israel and a chance for Palestinians to “govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.”
Republicans: While both parties support Israel, the Republicans said nothing about the two-state solution that has been the bipartisan cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy for decades.

9. MONEY IN POLITICS 
Democrats: They want to overturn the Citizens United decision, which eased restrictions on corporate and union campaign spending.
“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,” the platform said.
Republicans:  The GOP platform would make things much easier for the big money donors. It would repeal or raise contribution limits and allow outside groups spending millions on campaigns to hide their donors.

10. GUN VIOLENCE
Democrats: “We must finally take sensible action to address gun violence”. We should expand and strengthen backgound checks and close loopholes in current laws, keep weapons of war – assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines – off our streets.
Republicans: The platform supports constitutional carry statutes, opposes laws to restrict magazine capacity, opposes a ban on the sale of “the most popular and common rifle” and opposes federal licensing or registration of gun owners or ammunition.

11. VOTING RIGHTS 
Democrats: The party said it would fight laws requiring certain forms of voter identification “to preserve the fundamental right to vote.”
Republicans: The GOP platform endorsed state efforts to impose voter identification requirements that the U.S. Justice Department and several federal and state courts have said discriminate against minority and poor voters, calling the Justice’s actions “bullying.”

(Cases of in-person voter fraud, which such voter-ID laws are supposed to prevent, are “nearly non-existent,” according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School).