Right from the start, I’ve been an “anybody with a pulse” voter so the obvious answer for me is “Joe.” The trouble is that I’m not a big fan of him or of his running mate. But, I can’t, with any sort of conscience at all, vote for Donald Trump. It makes me sick to my stomach even to type that sentence.
But, I also can’t vote for a third-party candidate. Yes, I really do wish I could do just that…but, the reality is that in this country, I’d just be throwing my vote away in an attempt to vote “on principle” so I really need to take a look at the platforms and simply compare them.
So, here goes….
Democratic Party Platform can be found here: https://democrats.org/where-we-stand/party-platform/. In case you’re wondering, it’s 92 pages long. Summarizing might be good.
- Economic recovery in the pandemic: Fully fund testing, increased support for Medicaid, protect scientists from political influence, invest in jobs, upgrade unemployment systems. So far, I’m on board.
- Universal healthcare: Provide it for all, strengthen the ACA, bring down drug prices, take on big pharma, expand access to mental health and substance abuse programs, protect reproductive healthcare, invest in healthcare science and research. Healthcare is a big one for me – extra points for this one.
- Overhaul the criminal justice system by preventing people from getting there in the first place, discontinue punishing teens the same way we punish adults, end the war on drugs (YES PLEASE), eliminating cash bail, allowing judges to decide cases and punishments based on merit, ending the use of private prisons for profit, and assistance for those re-entering society. This is a big one for me too. We incarcerate far too many people in this country, and the racial inequities are glaring and unacceptable.
- Climate change: Launch a clean energy revolution, use federal resources to deploy clean energy solutions, reverse the reversals from the previous Administration that have done enormous damage, invest in union jobs in clean energy, modernize the energy grids, convert school buses to zero-emissions vehicles, use American-made materials, and achieve overall net-zero greenhouse emissions. Yes, please! Climate change is real, it’s a huge problem, and we need to be a big part of the worldwide solution.
- Immigration: Rescind funding for the ridiculous and ineffective wall on the Southern border, reinstate protections for Dreamers, protect and expand the asylum system for people who have been subjected to violence and humanitarian violations, provide a roadmap for citizenship for undocumented workers, expand the visa cap for victims of human trafficking, and (most importantly in my book) address the problems that create mass migration in the first place! Yes to all of the above. The truth is that I’m the child of an “illegal immigrant” who has been a productive, law-abiding citizen for over 50 years now. This one is very close to my heart.
- Education: Provide universal early childhood education, increase funding for childcare, expand career and technical education, increase accountability for charter schools, promote school diversity, enforce rights for educators to unionize, and expand tuition-free education for public universities. This one doesn’t go far enough for me, though it’s a good start. I think childcare should be taxpayer funded for everyone (like in Canada) and I think all charter schools should be closed. If you want a non-public education, then you can pay for a private school.
The Republican Party Platform can be found here: https://prod-cdn-static.gop.com/media/documents/DRAFT_12_FINAL%5B1%5D-ben_1468872234.pdf. Please note that this is from 2016. They opted NOT to write a new one. Apparently, they have opted to stick to a man this year, rather than a platform. I’ll go with the old one, since a new one doesn’t exist. It’s 66 pages long, so I’ll summarize as above.
- Start anew with a new tax code, lower taxes if it discourages investment, no taxes on charities, reduce corporate tax rates, renegotiate trade agreements with American interest first. Obviously, since they don’t have a new platform, I can’t speak to future goals. But, I can speak to the reform the Republicans did once the current Administration came into power. Make this one go away. Personally, it has been a nightmare. The past two tax years I have owed more in taxes than ever before, and that has been the case for every single I know personally. Get out your paychecks and plan to send a big check to the IRS in April. I really hope they get rid of this tragedy (particularly the SALT tax reversal and the mortgage tax reversal on anything other than primary residences.)
- Home ownership: Scale back the role the federal government plays in it, review regulations (especially environmental laws) that make it harder for Americans to buy and rent homes, put zoning restrictions under local control. This one is a mix for me. I think the federal government definitely needs a huge role in environmental policy and the housing market (good grief this was a huge part of the problem in 2008) but I’m good with zoning restrictions being under local control.
- Transportation and public infrastructure: Funding for the FAA to make flying safer, phase out reform provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, de-unionize the TSA, privatize Amtrak. I disagree with everything here.
- Technology/utilities: Public-private partnerships for internet access to rural areas, expedited processes for upgrading the electric grid, reducing licensing laws. Mix for me – I’m all about providing access to the internet for everyone, but “expediting processes” and “reducing licensing” is code for overturning environmental laws, which is a big no-no for me.
- Federal workforce: “Review” unions and reduce benefits. Absolutely NO – are you serious? This is how you want to treat Americans who work in service of the country?
- Reduce the federal debt: I’m not even going to heavily read this section. Needless to say, they have failed miserably in this regard in the last 4 years. (Remember what I wrote about above with regard to the tax changes?) I looked at several reputable sources and the current national debt is about $22 trillion. So, I’m unimpressed.
- Redefining marriage: It’s for one man and one woman. That’s a no for me. Why do you care? Leave people alone…..after all, you’re supposed to be for smaller government, right?
- Defending religious liberty: Support the right of people to conduct their businesses in accordance to their religious beliefs. I have huge problems with that. I have absolutely ZERO problem with exercising the right to practice your religion or to have no religion at all. But, I have huge problems with using your religion to refuse service to people who disagree with you. (Feels like Nazi Germany to me….no service for Jews.)
- 2nd Amendment rights: Defend the right to keep and bear arms. (I don’t see it in the Democratic platform, but I have seen no evidence of either side trying to take guns away.) Honestly, I wish we didn’t have guns at all in this country, but the truth is that if you’re a responsible gun owner, then I don’t really care. Non-starter either way for me on this one.
- Climate Change: Demanding an immediate halt for funding to the UNFCCC, economic growth before environmental concerns, development over concerns for endangered species. All one big NO for me.
- Immigration: Support for building a wall on the Southern border, major changes to the asylum system, over-reaching entitlements for the DHS for enforcement of immigration laws. Big fat no on this entire category.
- Education: Broad range of choices for parents at taxpayer expense, a good understanding of the Bible as literature, end tenure systems in favor of merit-based systems. So, throw out the Constitution and end unions. Big NO.
- Education Part 2: Support for private and charter schools, English-first approach, getting rid of family planning education, getting rid of federal-funded student loans. No, No, No.
- Healthcare: Repealing the ACA, patient choice/competition, state regulation of insurance markets, ban on OTC birth control, permanent ban on funding for abortions (which already exists.) No, No, No. This is healthcare for the rich and forget everybody else.
- Criminal justice: Diversion of first-time non-violent offenders to treatment courts, community courts, and guidance by faith-based institutions. (No problems here, with the exception of “faith-based.” I don’t want my tax dollars supporting any particular faith, unless you’re going to support them all.) Support for the death penalty, mandatory sentencing laws – NO.
- Unequivocal support for Israel: Why? Pandering……through, truthfully I haven’t seen any evidence on either side for dropping “support” for Israel, so it’s really a non-starter.
And, that’s about it for the highlights.
In the end, the things that are most important to me (environment, healthcare, education) fall more solidly in the Democratic party platform. And, although the Republicans don’t have a platform this year, based on the last platform, the “performance” the past 4 years of the current Administration, and my total loathing of the current President (misogyny, racism, sexism, and his inability to put together proper sentences) all equals a vote in the Joe/Kamala category, even though they weren’t my first choice (or even my 2nd or 3rd!)
And, on a side note – Mike Pence gives me the creeps. Every time I hear him talk, I foresee “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
That’s all for now. Give me your thoughts, but be polite. 🙂