A Tale of Two Platforms
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published July 31, 2016 by The Washington Times.
Regardless of the Trump-Clinton matchup, it’s instructive to contrast the Republican and Democratic Party platforms. While nearly identical in length, they reveal utterly opposite worldviews.
The 54-page Republican platform calls for greater personal responsibility; decentralizing power; a balanced-budget amendment; reducing the size and scope of government; parental rights; gun ownership and religious liberty; tax incentives for economic growth; reducing taxes across the board; a crackdown on the Internal Revenue Service; overturning the Supreme Court’s rulings on Obamacare, abortion and same-sex “marriage”; rejecting any treaties not vetted by the Senate; rescinding President Obama’s executive orders granting amnesty to illegal immigrants; withholding federal funds from “sanctuary cities”; building a wall on our southern border; rebuilding American military strength, and exerting international leadership against ISIS and other threats.
The 52-page Democratic Party platform promises a new War on Poverty and the Bernie Sanders-inspired Socialist War on the Rich [not their wording]; massive new public works projects; expanding federal programs at every level; more tax-subsidized abortions; cradle-to-grave health care; a “cradle-to- college pipeline”; free public college tuition for all; free childcare; mandatory national service; racial affirmative action; the LGBT political agenda; new regulatory mandates on businesses; a radical climate change agenda; leading “a broad coalition of allies and partners to destroy ISIS’ stronghold in Iraq and Syria,” and sky-is-the-limit confiscatory taxation, including a new levy on financial transactions, to pay for it all.
The latter is an alternative reality pipe dream. The sheer number of Democratic promises to “invest” in massive government expansion makes the current $19 trillion national debt look like pocket change. Literally millions of new federal employees would be necessary to meddle this much in everyone’s lives. Perhaps the best way to sum up the Democratic platform would be to quote Edward G. Robinson’s gangster Johnny Rocco in the Humphrey Bogart movie “Key Largo,” who, when asked if he wants “more,” says, “Yeah, that’s it. I want more.”
The Democrats specify they want to raise taxes on families making at least $250,000 a year, and impose punitive taxes on “Wall Street,” while referring to unspecified “middle class” tax relief. They acknowledge families “struggling” with “rising health care, childcare, education, and other expense,” but neglect to mention that total taxes at all levels consume up to half of many families’ incomes.
Continuing with movie references, let’s bring in the pay clerk from “Raising Arizona,” who, when the Nicolas Cage character squints at his first paycheck, brightly remarks while taking a drag from her cigarette, “Gub’mint do take a bite, don’t she?”
Yes, she does. Moving on, here’s a handy guide to some more specific contrasts:
GOP: Build the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada.
Dems: Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.
GOP: Encourage domestic production by expanding drilling on federal lands and offshore. Get rid of the Obama Administration’s anti-fossil fuel policies and wasteful crony subsidies to “green” schemes like Solyndra.
Dems: Discourage domestic oil production and stop drilling in the Arctic or Atlantic. Support new EPA rules on fracking. Replace fossil fuels with “wind in Wyoming to solar in Nevada.” Never mind the hundreds of thousands of eagles, hawks and other birds and bats fricasseed over solar farms or ripped by windmill blades annually.
GOP: Overturn Obamacare and replace with free market, patient-centered reforms.
Dems: Expand Obamacare. Force all states to expand Medicaid.
GOP: Require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting.
Dems: Oppose photo ID laws; expand early voting, same-day registration, universal automatic registration, and convicts’ voting rights.
GOP: Keep the combat exemption for servicewomen and oppose drafting women.
Dems: Put women on the front lines in the name of equality.
GOP: Affirm parental authority over the education of their children. Support phonics, teacher merit pay, discipline, “choice-based, parent-driven accountability at every stage of schooling,” education tax credits and applaud States that repeal Common Core.
Dems: Expand the federal role in education. Support “universal preschool” and “civil structures” that allow children to “thrive.” Support Obama’s edict for all schools to allow access to restrooms and locker rooms based on gender identity instead of biological sex.
GOP: Protect innocent human life. Permanently ban federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage. Support “informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods, and clinic regulation.” Defund Planned Parenthood “so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare.”
Dems: Expand abortion availability and frequency by overturning federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion. Continue subsidizing Planned Parenthood.
GOP: Appoint judges who respect the rule of law expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, including the inalienable right to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God.
Dems: Institute judicial appointment litmus tests on abortion and limiting free speech by overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that allows nonprofits, corporations and unions to have a voice in the political process.
There are many more glaring differences. But this snapshot should be enough for Americans to decide what kind of country they want and who is more likely to work toward that vision.