Compare the 2012 Democratic and Republican Platforms

Amit Asaravala compiled the Democratic and Republican Party Platform documents into a fantastic comparative chart. I know it’s long, but if you have the time, read this! There is always more than one issue at stake when voting.

Make sure you’re registered to vote in your state; there are a lot of laws that might prevent you from casting your ballot this November.

I moved some less talked about–but very important–issues to the top and placed the rest after the jump.

2012 Democratic Party Platform 2012 Republican Party Platform
Source Document 2012-National-Platform.pdf 2012GOPPlatform.pdf
Foreign Policy: Foreign Aid [W]e will continue to respond to humanitarian crises around the globe. [p.29] Limiting foreign aid spending helps keep taxes lower, which frees more resources in the private and charitable sectors, whose giving tends to be more effective and efficient.[p.46]
Commerce: Minimum Wage We will raise the minimum wage, and index it to inflation. [p.10]
Education: Sex Education Democrats support evidence-based and age-appropriate sex education. [p.18] We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with abstinence education….[p.36]
Environment: Climate Change We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change…. [p.20] We also call on Congress to take quick action to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations….[p.19]
Democrats pledge to continue showing international leadership on climate change, working toward an agreement to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers. [p.21]

Abortion The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. [p.18] We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the nonconsensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns…. [p.14]
We oppose the FDA approval of Mifeprex, formerly known as RU-486, and similar drugs….[p.34]
Campaign Finance Our opponents have applauded the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United…. In stark contrast, we believe we must take immediate action to curb the influence of lobbyists and special interests on our political institutions. [p.12] [W]e support repeal of the remaining sections of McCain-Feingold, support either raising or repealing contribution limits, and oppose passage of the DISCLOSE Act or any similar legislation designed to vitiate the Supreme Court’s recent decisions protecting political speech in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. [p.19]
Commerce: Small Businesses President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to… tax cuts for small businesses that make new investments, hire more workers, or increase wages. [p.10] We will reform the tax code to allow businesses to generate enough capital to grow and create jobs…. [p.2]
Commerce: China This administration has doubled the rate of trade cases brought against China by the last administration…. [p.10] [A] Republican President will insist on full parity in trade with China and stand ready to impose countervailing duties if China fails to amend its currency policies. Until China abides by the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement, the United States government will end procurement of Chinese goods and services. [p.13]
The President is committed to continuing to fight unfair trade practices that disadvantage American producers and workers, including illegal subsidies, non-tariff barriers, and abuse of worker rights or environmental standards. [p.11]
Commerce: Unions Democrats believe that the right to organize and collectively bargain is a fundamental American value. [p.9] We will restore the rule of law to labor law by blocking “card check,” enacting the Secret Ballot Protection Act, enforcing the Hobbs Act against labor violence, and passing theRaise Act to allow all workers to receive well-earned raises without the approval of their union representative. We demand an end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act…. [p.8]
We will continue to vigorously oppose “Right to Work” and “paycheck protection” efforts, and so-called “Save our Secret Ballot” measures whenever they are proposed. [p.10] We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws…. [p.8]
We will aggressively enforce the recent decision by the Supreme Court barring the use of union dues for political purposes without the consent of the worker. [p.8]
Commerce: Women [W]e are committed to passing the Paycheck Fairness Act…. [p.10]
Crime [We will continue] to invest in proven community-based law enforcement programs such as theCommunity Oriented Policing Services program…. We created the Federal Interagency Reentry Council in 2011…. We support local prison-to-work programs…. [p.20] [W]e support mandatory prison sentencing for gang crimes, violent or sexual offenses against children, repeat drug dealers, rape, robbery and murder. We support a national registry for convicted child murderers. We oppose parole for dangerous or repeat felons. [p.37]
[W]e enacted the Fair Sentencing Act…. [p.20] In solidarity with those who protect us, we call for mandatory prison time for all assaults involving serious injury to law enforcement officers. [p.37]
We have increased funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program over the last four years, and we will continue to expand the use of drug courts…. [p.20] Federal criminal law should focus on acts by federal employees or acts committed on federal property – and leave the rest to the States. Then Congress should withdraw from federal departments and agencies the power to criminalize behavior….[p.38]
We are committed to ending violence against women. We support reauthorizing the bipartisanViolence Against Women Act and oppose the proposals by Republicans in the House of Representatives…. [p.20]
Crime: Death Penalty We believe that the death penalty must not be arbitrary. DNA testing should be used in all appropriate circumstances, [and] defendants should have effective assistance of counsel…. [p.20] Courts should have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases. [p.37]
Defense: Spending In our current fiscal environment, we must also make tough budgetary decisions across the board – and that includes within the defense budget. [p.29] Sequestration—which is severe, automatic, across-the-board cuts in defense spending over the next decade—of the nation’s military budget would be a disaster for national security…. [p.40]
Defense: Gays in the Military The President’s record, from ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in full cooperation with our military leadership… reflects Democrats’ belief that all Americans deserve the same chance to… serve their country…. [p.17] We will enforce and defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the Armed Forces…. [p.43]
Defense: Women in the Military We support the advancement of women in the military…. We support military women’s exemption from direct ground combat units and infantry battalions. [p.43]
Education [President Obama’s] Recovery Act represented the largest education investment since President Johnson…. [p.3] We support the innovations in education reform occurring at the State level based upon proven results. Republican Governors have led in the effort to reform our country’s underperforming education system, and we applaud these advancements. [p.35]
We are committed to ensuring that every child in America has access to a world-class public education so we can out-educate the world and make sure America has the world’s highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. [p.5] We support… block grants and the repeal of numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools. [p.36]
[W]e have helped states and territories develop comprehensive plans to raise standards and improve instruction in their early learning programs and invested in expanding and reformingHead Start. [p.5] [W]e support the English First approach… [p.36]
Education: Student Loans [W]e doubled our investment in Pell Grant scholarships and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, and we’re creating avenues for students to manage their federal student loans so that their payments can be only 10 percent of what they make each month. [p.5] The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans; however, it should serve as an insurance guarantor for the private sector as they offer loans to students. [p.37]
Energy President Obama has encouraged innovation to reach his goal of generating 80 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. Democrats support making America the world’s leader in building a clean energy economy by extending clean energy incentives…. [p.7] We will end the EPA’s war on coal…. Further, we oppose any and all cap and trade legislation. [p.16]
We support more infrastructure investment to speed the transition to cleaner fuels in the transportation sector. [p.7] We call for timely processing of new reactor applications currently pending at theNuclear Regulatory Commission. [p.16]
Democrats will fight to cut tax subsidies for Big Oil while promoting job growth in the clean energy sector…. [p.7] We will respect the States’ proven ability to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing, continue development of oil and gas resources in places like the Bakken formation and Marcellus Shale, and review the environmental laws that often thwart new energy exploration and production. We salute the Republican Members of the House of Representatives for passing the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act…. [p.17]
Harnessing our natural gas resources needs to be done in a safe and responsible manner, which is why the Obama administration has proposed a number of safeguards to protect against water contamination and air pollution. We will continue to advocate for the use of this clean fossil fuel, while ensuring that public and environmental health and workers’ safety are protected. [p.7] As soon as possible, we will reverse the current Administration’s blocking of theKeystone XL Pipeline…. [p.47]
Environment Democrats are committed to balancing environmental protection with development, and that means preserving sensitive public lands from exploration, like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Pacific West Coast, Gulf of Maine, and other irreplaceable national landscapes. [p.7] We support opening the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for energy exploration and development and ending the current Administration’s moratorium on permitting; opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for exploration and production of oil and natural gas; and allowing for more oil and natural gas exploration on federally owned and controlled land. [p.16]
We stand with growers and producers in defense of their water rights against attempts by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to expand jurisdiction over water…. [p.17]
[P]ublic access to public lands for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting should be permitted on all appropriate federal lands. [p.18]
All efforts should be made to make federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service available for harvesting. [p.18]
Environment: Endangered Species The Lacey Act of 1900, designed to protect endangered wildlife in interstate commerce, is now applied worldwide, making it a crime to use, in our domestic industries, any product illegally obtained in the country of origin…. This unreasonable extension of the Act not only hurts American businesses and American jobs, but also subordinates our own rule of law to the legal codes of 195 other governments. It must be changed. [p.14]
Foreign Policy: Treaties [T]he Congress–the Senate through its ratifying power and the House through its appropriating power–shall reject agreements whose long-range impact on the American family is ominous or unclear. These include the U.N. Convention on Women’s Rights, theConvention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty as well as the various declarations from theU.N. Conference on Environment and Development. [p.45]
We strongly reject the U.N. Agenda 21 as erosive of American sovereignty, and we oppose any form of U.N. Global Tax. [p.45]
[T]he Republican Party does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. [p.45]
Foreign Policy: Israel & Palestine A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state. [p.26] [W]e envision two democratic states—Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine….[p.49]
The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths. [p.26]
Gay Marriage & Rights We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.[p.18] We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. [p.10]
We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.[p.18] We support the First Amendment right of freedom of association of the Boy Scouts of America and other service organizations. [p.12]
Recognizing that gay rights are human rights, the President and his administration have vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct or ignore abuse. [p.31]
Gun Control and Gun Rights [W]e will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. [p.18] We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms…. [p.13]
We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense. [p.13]
[We] recognize … the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration. [p.13]
We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners. We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill considered Clinton gun ban. [p.13]
Healthcare We believe accessible, affordable, high quality health care is part of the American promise, that Americans should have the security that comes with good health care, and that no one should go broke because they get sick. [p.3] Congressional Republicans are committed to its [the Affordable Care Act’s] repeal; and a Republican President, on the first day in office, will use his legitimate waiver authority under that law to halt its progress and then will sign its repeal. [p.32]
We will continue to stand up to Republicans working to take away the benefits and protections that are already helping millions of Americans every day. We refuse to go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your health policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men. [p.4] No healthcare professional or organization should ever be required to perform, provide for, withhold, or refer for a medical service against their conscience. [p.34]
We likewise support the right of parents to consent to medical treatment for their children…. [p.34]
Housing President Obama took swift action to stabilize a housing market in crisis, helping five million families restructure their loans… and giving tax credits to first-time home buyers. [p.4] Policies that promote reliance on private capital, like private mortgage insurance, will be critical to scaling back the federal role in the housing market… [p.5]
[T]he President proposed to expand the successful neighborhood stabilization efforts in hisAmerican Jobs Act. [p.4] Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be wound down in size and scope…. [p.5]
The FHA … must be downsized and limited to helping first-time homebuyers and low- and moderate income borrowers. [p.5]
Immigration [W]e won’t deport deserving young people who are Americans in every way but on paper, and we will work to make it possible for foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to stay and help create jobs here at home. [p.6] [A] policy of strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math…. [p.7]
[T]he country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship. [p.13] [F]oreign students who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree… should be encouraged to remain here and contribute to economic prosperity and job creation. Highly skilled, English speaking, and integrated into their communities, they are too valuable a resource to lose. [p.14]
We support changing the way that the decennial census is conducted, so that citizens are distinguished from lawfully present aliens and illegal aliens. [p.19]
[W]e oppose any form of amnesty…. [p.25]
We insist upon enforcement at the workplace through verification systems…. [p.26]
The pending Department of Justice lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah must be dismissed immediately. The double-layered fencing on the border that was enacted by Congress in 2006, but never completed, must finally be built. [p.26]
[F]ederal funding should be denied to sanctuary cities that violate federal law… and federal funding should be denied to universities that provide instate tuition rates to illegal aliens….[p.26]
Infrastructure We will fight for immediate investments for highways, transit, rail, and aviation and for the creation of a national infrastructure bank to help modernize our infrastructure. [p.8] [R]eform of the 42-year old National Environmental Policy Act… [would] create regulatory certainty for infrastructure projects, expedite their timetables, and limit litigation against them. [p.13]
Infrastructure: Rail Amtrak continues to be, for the taxpayers, an extremely expensive railroad. It is long past time for the federal government to get out of way and allow private ventures to provide passenger service to the northeast corridor. The same holds true with regard to high-speed and intercity rail across the country. [p.13]
Jobs President Obama put forward the American Jobs Act…. We have already enacted key parts of the American Jobs Act — payroll tax relief, tax credits for businesses that hire veterans, and an extension of unemployment insurance that also included reforms like work-sharing, a “Bridge to Work” to help the long-term unemployed reconnect with the labor force, and support for unemployed workers looking to become entrepreneurs. [p.3] [T]o spur job creation here at home, we call for a reduction of the corporate rate to keep U.S. corporations competitive internationally, with a permanent research and development tax credit, and a repeal of the corporate alternative minimum tax. We also support the recommendation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, as well as the current President’s Export Council, to switch to a territorial system of corporate taxation, so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment here at home without additional penalty. [p.2]
[T]he President helped school districts save more than 400,000 educator jobs. [p.5]
Thanks to President Obama’s recovery program, American manufacturers are creating jobs for the first time since the 1990s, including more than 500,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010. [p.8] Nine federal agencies currently run 47 retraining programs at a total cost of $18 billion annually…. We propose consolidation of those programs into State block grants so that training can be coordinated with local schools and employers. [p.14]
President Obama and Democrats boldly rescued America’s auto industry, saving more than one million jobs…. [p.8]
GM and Chrysler have repaid their outstanding loans years ahead of schedule, new American cars are inspiring pride, and the auto industry added more than 200,000 jobs in the last three years. [p.8]
Medicare and Medicaid We will… oppose efforts to block grant the [Medicaid] program…. [p.4] The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined contribution model. [p.22]
Democrats adamantly oppose any efforts to privatize or voucherize Medicare. [p.5] While retaining the option of traditional Medicare in competition with private plans, we call for a transition to a premium- support model for Medicare, with an incomeadjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice. [p.22]
President Obama is already leading the most successful crackdown on health care fraud ever, having already recovered $10 billion from health care scams. We will build on those reforms, not eliminate Medicare’s guarantees. The health care law is closing the gap in prescription drug coverage known as the “doughnut hole.” [p.5] [T]he age eligibility for Medicare must be made more realistic in terms of today’s longer life span.[p.22]
We propose… block-granting the [Medicaid] program to the States….[p.22]
Monetary Policy: Inflation President Reagan, shortly after his inauguration, established a commission to consider the feasibility of a metallic basis for U.S. currency. The commission advised against such a move. Now, three decades later, as we face the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the current Administration’s policies, we propose a similar commission to investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar. [p.4]
Native American Sovereignity Democrats support maximizing tribal self-governance, including efforts for self-determination and sovereignty of Native Hawaiians. [p.16] As a matter of principle, we oppose the creation of any new race-based governments within the United States. [p.9]
Social Security We will block Republican efforts to subject Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market through privatization. We reject approaches that insist that cutting benefits is the only answer. [p.5] While no changes should adversely affect any current or near-retiree, comprehensive reform should address our society’s remarkable medical advances in longevity and allow younger workers the option of creating their own personal investment accounts as supplements to the system. [p.22]
Stem Cell Research We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. [p.14]
We call for expanded support for the stem-cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions–with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells–without the destruction of embryonic human life. We urge a ban on human cloning and on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos.[p.34]
Supreme Court [W]e will continue to nominate and confirm judges who are men and women of unquestionable talent and character and will always demonstrate their faithfulness to our law and our Constitution and bring with them a sense of how American society works and how the American people live. [p.20] We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. [p.14]
Taxes We support allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest to expire and closing loopholes and deductions for the largest corporations and the highest-earning taxpayers. We are committed to reforming our tax code so that it is fairer and simpler, creating a tax code that lives up to the Buffett Rule so no millionaire pays a smaller share of his or her income in taxes than middle class families do. We are also committed to reforming the corporate tax code to lower tax rates for companies in the United States, with additional relief for those locating manufacturing and research and development on our shores, while closing loopholes and reducing incentives for corporations to shift jobs overseas. [p.7] Extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief packages—commonly known as the Bush tax cuts—pending reform of the tax code, to keep tax rates from rising on income, interest, dividends, and capital gains; Reform the tax code by reducing marginal tax rates by 20 percent across-the-board in a revenue-neutral manner; Eliminate the taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains altogether for lower and middle-income taxpayers; End theDeath Tax; and Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. [p.2]
The Democratic Party opposes efforts to give additional tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class and investments in our future. [p.7] We call for a Constitutional amendment requiring a super-majority for any tax increase, with exceptions for only war and national emergencies, and imposing a cap limiting spending to the historical average percentage of GDP so that future Congresses cannot balance the budget by raising taxes. [p.4]
Taxes: Business We want to cut tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and for special interests, and instead offer tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in the United States of America…. [p.8] [W]e call for a reduction of the corporate rate to keep U.S. corporations competitive internationally, with a permanent research and development tax credit, and a repeal of the corporate alternative minimum tax. We also support the recommendation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, as well as the currentPresident’s Export Council, to switch to a territorial system of corporate taxation, so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment here at home without additional penalty. [p.2]
We Democrats support lowering the corporate tax rate while closing unnecessary loopholes, and lowering rates even further for manufacturers who create good jobs at home. [p.8]
[President Obama’s] administration will continue its fight against the exploitative practice of employers fraudulently misclassifying workers as independent contractors or white-collar workers to evade taxes or deny them protections and overtime benefits. [p.9] [A]ny value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of theSixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax. [p.3]
Technology President Obama has committed to ensuring that 98 percent of the country has access to high-speed wireless broadband Internet access. President Obama is strongly committed to protecting an open Internet that fosters investment, innovation, creativity, consumer choice, and free speech, unfettered by censorship or undue violations of privacy. [p.9] [T]he FCC’s net neutrality rule… is trying to micromanage telecom. [p.24]
[We] support the current multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance, and oppose the extension of intergovernmental controls over the Internet. [p.31] We call for an inventory of federal agency spectrum to determine the surplus that could be auctioned…. [p.24]
We support the prohibition of gambling over the Internet and call for reversal of the Justice Department’s decision distorting the formerly accepted meaning of the Wire Actthat could open the door to Internet betting. [p.39]
We oppose any diplomatic efforts that could result in giving the United Nations unprecedented control over the Internet. [p.45]
Voting Democrats know that voter identification laws can disproportionately burden young voters, people of color, low-income families, people with disabilities, and the elderly, and we refuse to allow the use of political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens. [p.18] We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact or any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College.[p.18]
We support State laws that require proof of citizenship at the time of voter registration…. [p.18]
Territories and Statehood The American citizens who live in Washington, D.C., like the citizens of the 50 states, should have full and equal congressional rights and the right to have the laws and budget of their local government respected without congressional interference. [p.18] We oppose statehood for the District of Columbia. [p.28]
If local efforts in Puerto Rico to resolve the status issue do not provide a clear result in the short term, the President should support, and Congress should enact, self-executing legislation that specifies in advance for the people of Puerto Rico a set of clear status options, such as those recommended in the White House Task Force Report on Puerto Rico, which the United States is politically committed to fulfilling. [p.16] We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state if they freely so determine.[p.29]

Source: WHAT YOUR VOTE MEANS, IN THEIR OWN WORDS: A Side-by-Side Comparison of the 2012 Democratic and Republican Party Platform Documents

One response to “Compare the 2012 Democratic and Republican Platforms”

  1. […] out an unbiased Comparison of the Democratic and Republican Platforms on topics ranging from foreign policy to the environment to trade with China. Even if you have […]


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