How the Democratic and Republican party platforms differ

The platforms read and sound different in tone and emphasis. I think the Democratic platform can be likened to a “campaign speech” while the Republican document sounds more like a “state of the union” message.

We’ve been looking at how the Democratic and Republican parties differ in views on healthcare by reviewing specific points in the party platforms. In this post I’m going to step away from looking at specifics and share my general observations about the platforms themselves.

I’m mostly highlighting differences, because the platforms are as different as the parties are-one conservative, one liberal. They both of course claim to love America and democracy and want to defend and preserve and improve our way of life. But the way they want to do so is as different as RED is from BLUE.

I intend for these posts to be non-partisan but because I’m sharing my own observations this one may look more like an opinion. I’m using these posts for my own education as well as yours, so we can be better informed and inspired voters.

I have been a registered voter since I was 18, being one of the first to benefit from the 26th Amendment that changed the voting age from 21 years to 18 years.

I have been registered with both major parties and have voted for candidates in both parties, so I have no allegiance to either one. If these observations seem biased, it is strictly unintentional. So let’s take a look.

Note: I chose the photos for illustration, they are not affiliated with either party.

When were the platforms written?

Usually platforms are written or revised on the years the parties meet for the convention that nominates the presidential candidate.


The Republicans last did that in 2016 when Donald Trump was nominated and won the election. In 2020 when he ran for reelection during the COVID pandemic, they deferred writing a new platform citing

“strict restrictions on gatherings and meetings, and out of concern for the safety of convention attendees and our hosts;” and “in appreciation of the fact that it did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement.”

It went on to state

“The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and the Republican Party and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.”

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention.”

The RNC also passed a resolution in 2022 “reaffirming” its commitment to the platform”.


In 2020 the Democrats held a convention, conducted mostly virtually, and wrote a new party platform.Their candidate Joe Biden won the presidential election. According to their website,

“Every four years, Democrats from across the country join together to craft our party’s platform.The platform is created to uplift working people and write out the values that will guide our party for years to come.”

The platform was considered by the 2020 Platform Committee at its meeting on July 27, 2020, and was approved by the Democratic National Convention on August 18, 2020.

How long is the platform?

The Democrats take first place for length. As a PDF document, 86 pages are devoted to text. There are 11 sections, most of which are also divided into different categories.

The Republican document is brief in comparison, 58 pages, divided into 6 sections.

Key differences in content of the platform

The platforms read and sound different in tone and emphasis. I think the Democratic platform can be likened to a “campaign speech” while the Republican document sounds more like a “state of the union” message.

Democrats – the party of change

  • “Campaign speech”
  • Action oriented
  • Problem specific
  • Future directed
  • Diversity, inclusivity
Photo by Markus Spiske on

Republicans- the party of stability

  • “State of the union”
  • Policy oriented
  • Maintain the status quo
  • General concepts
  • Build on the past
  • Conformity, consistency

Photo by Tara Winstead on

What do the platforms say about the other party?

Both of the platforms comment on the other party unfavorably multiple times.

Written in 2016 during the presidency of Democrat Barack Obama, the Republican platform was repeatedly critical of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, otherwise known as ObamaCare, as well as other aspects of President Obama’s administration.

The President (Obama) and the Democratic Party have dismantled Americans’ system of healthcare. They have replaced it with a costly and complicated scheme that limits choices and takes away our freedoms.

The President and the Democratic party have abandoned their promise of being accountable to the American people.

Written in 2020, the Democratic platform opened with scathing criticism of President Trump’s management of the pandemic, and continued throughout the document on other issues.

The bill has come due on the Trump Administration’s hollowing out of our public institutions: the sidelining of experts, the rejection of science, the underinvestment in research, and the gross corruption and abuses of power.

President Trump’s dereliction of duty has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, the loss of tens of millions of American jobs, and lasting harm to our children’s education and future.

Most of the criticisms are then followed by how or what their party and candidate will do differently.

What do the platforms say about social issues?

You don’t have to read the platforms to know that Democrats and Republicans differ drastically on social issues such as marriage, reproduction, abortion, schools, immigration, religion, and sexuality. The aftermath of the recent (2022) Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe vs. Wade shows that pointedly. These differences are spelled out in the platforms but each party approaches them from different angles, not categorizing them the same way.

I will devote additional posts to these topics. On some of them one platform says more than the other so the content will not exactly parallel. I’ll do my best to lay out both sides, but encourage you to do your homework and review the entire platforms.

exploring the HEART of health

Please do follow the above links to the party platforms, bookmark them, and refer to them as the season of primaries closes and we approach national election day, Tuesday November 8. We won’t elect a new president but the choice of a new legislative branch of government is just as important.

See you at the polls.

Dr Aletha

Photo by cottonbro on

Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

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