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.

Republicans

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”.

Democrats

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 Pexels.com

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 Pexels.com

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

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

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 Pexels.com

The Helpers-a book review

Starting from the pandemic’s quiet beginning late in 2019 through the vaccine distribution in early 2021, the author unfolds how the pandemic impacted their lives, their families, and communities. Despite being front line workers, they suffered the same things others did-isolation, loss of jobs and income, demanding work schedules under pressure; and for some, infection, hospitalization, intubation, and death. From their stories, we watch their lives intertwine with each other and the virus that stalked their daily lives.

The Helpers

Profiles from the Front Lines of the Pandemic

by Kathy Gilsinan

The test of a whole person is whether you can keep showing up when you’ve lost faith entirely.

I thought The Helpers would be a feel-good story about the heroes of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. It is a story about the heroes of the pandemic, but it didn’t make me feel good. And, as I learned in the book, they don’t like to be called heroes.

(Note: I chose the photos in this post to illustrate the book’s message, they do not appear in the book, and are not affiliated with the author. There are affiliate links in this post, used to generate funds to pay expenses. )

a scientist in a lab working on covid antibodies
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientist was preparing patients’ samples for SARS-CoV-2antibody testing. Serological testing is used to detect antibodies, which indicate past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and is important to the understanding of disease prevalence within a population. credit James Gathanay, public domain

I should have known that. As a primary care physician, I didn’t know I was an “essential worker” until the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the so-called lockdown, I still went to my clinic every day, although we cared for some patients virtually. I didn’t feel like a hero, I was just doing my job. And so were they.

Published March 1, 2022, The Helpers tells the story of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic through the eyes and hands of eight people who truly lived it on the front line, those whose “stubborn spirits” drove them to help others-

  • a son in a Vietnamese immigrant family, caregiver to two parents and brother to a physician who is trying to keep herself and her family well
  • a semi-retired divorced paramedic from Colorado who is devoted to his work, so much so that he and a co-worker drive across the country in an ambulance to volunteer to help with the pandemic in New York City
  • a Latina ICU nurse who lives with her extended family in a small apartment and fears she will bring the virus home to them; besides fighting the virus, she crusades for more of everything that she and the other nurses need-tests, ventilators, and especially PPE, which they now have to reuse
  • the CEO of a small ventilator manufacturing company in Seattle, whose company tries to increase production from hundreds a year to tens of thousands, by partnering with an unlikely source
  • a scientist who has been researching mRNA vaccines at Moderna for 10 years, developing a “vaccine in search of a virus” and thinks she has found it in SARS-CoV2
  • a biracial chef in Louisville Kentucky who finds herself jobless, so channels her knowledge into creating a neighborhood meal service for others who need help feeding their families
  • a young critical care physician, who wonders if, when, and how she will ration ventilators if necessary
  • and a funeral director, whose facility soon has more bodies than spaces to put them, and for the first time in his career must turn families away.
a stretcher pushed by two EMS personnel
photo by Daniel Sun, from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, affiliate

Listen to an excerpt from Audible

Starting from the pandemic’s quiet beginning late in 2019 through the vaccine distribution in early 2021, the author unfolds how the pandemic impacted their lives, their families, and communities. Despite being front line workers, they suffered the same things others did-isolation, loss of jobs and income, demanding work schedules under pressure; and for some, infection, hospitalization, intubation, and death. From their stories, we watch their lives intertwine with each other and the virus that stalked their daily lives.

Parallel with their stories, Ms. Gilsinan looks at the government response to the pandemic, a picture that is not flattering. She starkly points out the delays, misplaced priorities, and partisanship that made the response less successful than it could have been, and cost needless lives.

“even when their elected leadership and public institutions fail them; they chase down the resources to save lives while politicians bicker and buck-pass and evade responsibility.”

These patients’ samples were to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serologic test. CDC/ James Gathany, PUBLIC DOMAIN

I said this book didn’t make me feel good, but it did make me proud- proud of the people this book introduced me too, and to all of us who faced this virus together. As Ms. Gilsinan wrote

“The Helpers isn’t a partisan morality tale. The virus further polarized a deeply politically divided country, but it didn’t care which side its victims fell on…and no one is worried about anyone’s party affiliation in the ICU or the food pantry. Even at our most divided, our country is so much bigger and better than our politics.”

The author of The Helpers

Kathy Gilsinan is a contributing writer at the Atlantic, where she has reported on national security and contributed to its extensive and acclaimed coronavirus coverage. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Helpers is available from Bookshop.org.

Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. They believe bookstores are essential to a healthy culture and they are dedicated to the common good. Bookshop.org donates a portion of every sale to independent bookstores.

exploring the HEART of health in a pandemic

As a NetGalley reviewer, I received a complimentary digital copy of this book and agreed to write a review.

I have been fully vaccinated for COVID based on my age and medical status, and I hope you are too, unless medically unwise.

Dr. Aletha inspecting her arm after a COVID-19 shot
Three days after my first vaccination the soreness in my arm was almost gone, and I had no redness or swelling. After the second shot, minimal soreness. No other side effects to report. I feel fortunate.

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

On a recent trip I happened upon a local art exhibit and found this interesting piece.

Dr. Aletha
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