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Feb 14

Republicans and Their Regressive Platform

In Brief—A discussion of the hurdles Republicans face that will determine whether the nation stands or falls in an ever-changing world.

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Hurdles Determine the Race—

I have a confession. My first vote was Republican. If it was good enough for my family it was good enough for me. I quickly realized that my philosophy didn’t fit the vote I cast. From that day on I have never cast a vote for a Republican or their propositions. Indeed, I have gone beyond the American two-party system.

The world is more complex than when I cast that first vote. Turmoil has greatly increased over the ensuing decades. Naivety evaporated in the face of reality. Prompted by that awareness, I researched the party platforms of the two main parties to see how they would govern the nation.

The facts presented here are based on the 2012 documents and may differ slightly from the platforms being written today. Based on what the current candidates are saying, it’s fair to guess that the Republican platform may be even more regressive than in 2012.

Party symbols staggeredBoth the Republican and Democratic platforms, the blueprints guiding party politicians, are partisan documents that are lengthy and present arguments that set the parties apart from one another. However, if you ignore the partisan claptrap, a startling difference emerges.

The Republican platform looks backward to a mythical golden city on a hill while invoking God and would, in fact, limit or eliminate many of the programs and laws that make America as humane as it is today. They adhere to “conservatism” that is defined as clinging to the past. Not only do they want to turn back the clock, they idolize the past.

In sharp contrast, the Democratic platform seeks to build on proven successes by looking forward to leading the nation to a more enlightened place. It embraces science and works to improve the lives of all. Put succinctly, the Republican platform looks backward to an imagined past while the Democratic platform looks forward toward a better future.

A quick look at just a few of the current areas dominating the political scene today clearly reveals the differences between the parties. A look at the two parties’ presidential candidates’ statements illustrates the enormous gap between them.

Voting—Citing spurious concerns—curiously targeting Democratic voters—at least 18 Republican-governed states have recently enacted stringent laws disenfranchising numerous voters. Voter suppression is almost exclusively Republican and is multi-faceted. America is alone in the democratic world in disenfranchising voters. Republicans are the apostles of disenfranchisement.

By contrast, the Democratic platform proposes the expansion of the voting franchise and supports the concept of counting every single vote instead of the antiquated Electoral College method.

Marriage—The Republican platform condemns the recent Supreme Court decision permitting couples of all sexes (LGBT) to marry, saying that only a man and a woman are to be allowed to marry. This carries over into acceptance of the constitutional rights of the LGBT community.

The Democratic platform supports the rights of all loving couples to marry. They wholeheartedly support the rights of all regardless of sexual status.

Climate Change—The Republican platform is completely silent on climate change stating only that the Clean Air Act stands in the way of economic development. Based on unfettered economic growth, almost all the Republican presidential candidates at least doubt if not deny the validity of human-caused climate change.

The Democratic platform and candidates uniformly believe that human-caused climate change is undeniable.

Health—The Republican platform and virtually all Republicans oppose Obamacare (ACA), saying that consumers must be free to see to their own health needs. They have repeatedly and unsuccessfully voted against Obamacare despite the law being upheld by the Supreme Court.

By contrast, the Democratic platform supports the ACA and looks forward to expanding it.

Abortion—The Republican platform and most Republicans oppose abortion for any reason. In addition, they would forbid the scientific use of fetal tissue that devises treatments for a range of diseases. Republicans dishonestly and unscientifically pillory Planned Parenthood, an organization that serves all females, despite abortions being less than 5% of what the organization does.

The Democratic platform fully supports the rights of all females to make decisions regarding their own reproductive health as well as the science of fetal cell research.

Environment—Bowing to Koch money and business interests, the Republican platform calls for the sharp reduction of services performed by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and environmentalist use of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Democratic platform supports the use of the EPA to protect American citizens and supports the protection of endangered species.

Social Security—The Republican platform calls for the privatization of Social Security to allow citizens to invest their retirement funds with the Wall Street gamblers who nearly brought the world to its knees in 2008.

The Democratic platform not only supports Social Security but supports expanding it through a small tax on the wealthy.

Immigration—The Republican platform and all their candidates for president in 2016 propose limiting or opposing the immigration of aliens, in some cases abandoning a more welcoming stance held previously. The current refugee crisis feeds much of this intransigence.

The Democratic platform supports alien immigration. The current presidential candidates support immigration policy albeit with caution arising out of present refugee concerns.

Military—Both parties stand together in support of the military. Peace through Strength, they say. Sounds Orwellian. With at least two wars going on and military personnel active in hundreds of locations around the globe, it’s fair to say that congress and the administration will shovel money, indeed more than the Pentagon requests, into the greedy maw of the military.

These are just a fraction of the many differences that display the irrational backward orientation of the Republican Party contrasted with the forward embrace of the future by the Democratic Party. Ask if you doubt what is in the party platforms.

Think about this when you step into the voting booth. America’s future depends on you.

8 comments

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  1. Dave Meyers

    This is a very accurate and plain-spoken outline of the Republican verses Democrat differences in platform and thinking, Don.
    Taken one at a time, these examples are puzzling. Taken as a whole they are frightening.
    The current political circus on the Right should prompt all logical thinkers to participate in the process and to help promote a united front to stifle the nonsense views of the Right.
    If you watched the last Democratic debate and compare it to last nights Republican food-fight, you should be more than willing to participate. It was an adult conversation versus a childish brawl, to be sure!
    I see no one on the Right as being presidential material in any way…..save John Kasich…..maybe.
    Bernie Sanders on the Left is to the Democrats what Trump is to the Republicans. Neither, if elected, has much of a chance to enact the programs that they espouse. Bernie with his free college and grandiose programs and Trump with his WALL and “Everything will be so great” rhetoric. The difference is that Trump could do real damage while in office, never mind the embarrassment he would cause any and every thinking American. Sanders, on the other hand, would run up against a congressional wall, but would do no damage.
    Many of us, most likely, assumed that Trump would fizzle out by now. Yet, he has excelled. I find this frightening. I still doubt he can be elected. But, it’s shocking to me that he has made it this far. I believe that I, like many others, have under-estimated the level of naivete and down-right stupidity that exists in this country.
    Every great civilization eventually fails……is this how it begins?

    1. Don Bay

      Slogging through the two main party platforms three times to explain the differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party was no easy task, but the differences are both startling and revealing. It becomes clear (made even clearer by the ugly Republican response to the replacement of Scalia) that the Republican Party is mired in an imagined past. Anybody who votes for the Republican Party simply doesn’t grasp how regressive the party is.

      Comparing Sanders to Trump is like comparing Socrates to your local bartender. While Sanders may be accused of advocating the nearly impossible and may not become the Democratic nominee, comparing him to Trump is the grossest insult.

      Too many of America’s voters are going off the tracks, but ignorance is not exclusive to America. A look around shows that way too many of the world’s inhabitants are not using their brains and engaging in rational thought. That doesn’t bode well for either America or the world. Fasten your seat belt, the planet is in for a rough ride and may not make it through with humanity in attendance.

  2. Jim Newton

    I wonder if we shouldn’t be happy in some ways that there are nothing but clowns on the Republican side. If Romney couldn’t get elected, he was at least a moderate compared to present company, then maybe none of these clowns could get elected, which could be the best outcome. If one of them could get elected it’s democracy goodbye, billionaires hello.

    Then we go to Sanders and Clinton. I continue to fail to see why single payer health care isn’t possible in the US. We have it in Canada and it works beautifully, better care for everyone at lower cost than in the US. Only the US doesn’t have some version of this; it exists in some form in every major developed country. Maybe it’s politically impossible because of the clowns on the right, but in principle it’s an obvious choice.

    Other of his proposals are eminently possible if there is just the will to tell the capitalists that it’s the way it’s going to be done.

    Pray for a Sanders nomination and election.

    1. Don Bay

      I’m with you in believing that America is alone among the developed nations of the world in denying its citizens Single Payer health care. Despite the braying of Hillary Clinton and her supporters that Sanders’ proposals are impossible, it’s a reasonable goal and not impossible at all. It may not fly as things stand now, but the situation can change as long as the voters think rationally. Scalia’s death is just one opportunity to change the way things are done. Others are bound to come along.

  3. David Lehman

    If a dark horse can come from way behind and win in Canada, why not here?

    1. Don Bay

      If you are referring to Bernie Sanders, I agree with you. Sanders is the only way to vote if you believe that positive change is possible in the United States.

      On the other hand, if you agree with the oligarchs, the monied rich who want to retain their perks and the blind, biased supporters of Hillary Clinton, then Clinton is your candidate. Her abysmal record would disqualify her in any sane country. In an America that has a Republican Party that has gone completely off the tracks, a rational person would be forgiven for wondering about America.

      Trudeau is miles better than Harper. That said, he has his hands full in trying to pull Canada out of the hole Harper dug. Fingers crossed Trudeau and his appointees can put Canada back on track to being the one sensible country in North America.

  4. Marcia Ferrin

    I keep wishing Canada would invade the US and take over our government… then I remember military invasion and installing puppet governments is our M. O., not Canada’s. Sigh.

    1. Don Bay

      You scored a bull’s eye with this one. Only problem is that it’s not Canada’s thing, certainly with Harper now being just a bad memory. Now we have to cross our fingers and wait for the election. The added problem is that war is in America’s DNA.

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