Politicians increasingly vote in line with their party’s platform — eighty percent of the time over the last thirty years. Consequently, a party’s platform is a good indicator of how politicians from that party will vote. Here, we present actual content from the Republican Party Platform and the Democratic Party Platform, side by side, so that you can compare the parties’ positions, issue by issue, as listed in the Table of Contents below.

Using the buttons in the Table of Contents, you can select the issues that interest you, or you can scroll down the page to compare the parties’ positions on all issues, one by one.

 This page also features:

 

  • Links to the parties’ websites, enabling you to study their entire Party Platform documents.
  • Links to other pages of our site to see examples of each party putting its platform positions into action, issue by issue.
  • Links to pdf’s of Party Platform Comparison flyers that you can download and share with others – as hard copies or electronically:
  • Link here to download a printable pdf of the Priests for Life Party Comparison: Party Platforms Comparison by Priests for Life
  • Link here for a one-page comparison of the party platforms on the website of CatholicVote.org: Party Platforms Comparison - CatholicVote.org

How do the parties compare in regard to honoring and applying the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence?

"Constitution" is defined in the dictionary as "a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed."

The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence: How are they treated in the two party platforms?

Republican Platform:

A word search for “Constitution” yields 27 results and a search for “constitutional” and “constitutionally” yields 41 results. In total, the Constitution is referenced 68 times.

The Republican platform states:

"We are the party of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The Declaration sets forth the fundamental precepts of American government: That God bestows certain inalienable rights on every individual, thus producing human equality; that government exists first and foremost to protect those inalienable rights; that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail; that there is a moral law recognized as “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”; and that American government is to operate with the consent of the governed."

"We affirm — as did the Declaration of Independence: that all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

"We believe in the Constitution as our founding document."

"We believe our constitutional system — limited government, separation of powers, federalism, and the rights of the people — must be preserved uncompromised for future generations."

"We believe the Constitution was written not as a flexible document, but as our enduring covenant."

Synopsis: The Republican Platform references the Constitution with respect and reverence, as an enduring timeless guide to be honored and followed, just as God's Ten Commandments are to be followed by generation after generation, for our own good. This treatment of the Constitution is consistent with the dictionary definition above.

Democratic Party Platform:

A word search for “Constitution” yields 4 results and a search for “constitutional” and “constitutionally” yields 3 results. In total, the Constitution is referenced 7 times.

Here are the articles of the  Democratic Party Platform in which these seven references appear:
  • "Appointing Judges: We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, curb billionaires’ influence over elections because they understand that Citizens United has fundamentally damaged our democracy, and believe the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the disadvantaged and powerless."
  • "Democrats believe that the people of Puerto Rico should determine their ultimate political status from permanent options that do not conflict with the Constitution, laws, and policies of the United States."
  • "The Democratic Party will fulfill, honor, and strengthen to the highest extent possible the United States’ fundamental trust responsibility, grounded in the Constitution, treaties, and case law to American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.
  • "Democrats support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo."
  • "While freedom of expression is a fundamental constitutional principle, we must condemn hate speech that creates a fertile climate for violence."
Synopsis: The Democratic Party Platform references the Constitution only in the discussion of  five specific issues, "appointing judges", "Puerto Rico", "Native tribes", two Supreme Court decisions, and "hate speech". "The Constitution" is included in lists with other documents, “laws", "policies”, “treaties" and "case law", with no indication that the Constitution has any higher ranking than these other documents.  In contrast to the Republican Party Platform, this platform does not reference the Constitution as the dictionary defines a constitution, i.e., "a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed."

Our first President, George Washington, wisely stated, "Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." "In God we trust" is our motto on our penny coin, above the image of Abraham Lincoln, whose faith in God drove his fight to free the slaves. "One nation under God" is what our American flag stands for, as we state in our pledge of allegiance. Do the Party Platforms address God with this reverence, the reverence God is owed?

 

Republican National Congress Website and Party Platform:

A word search for “God” results in a total of sixteen (16) results and the equivalent word, “Creator” appears three (3) times.
Total Count: 19


Here are a few examples of the nineteen references:

"man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and ... if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail;

"there is a moral law recognized as “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”; and ... American government is to operate with the consent of the governed."


God bestows certain inalienable rights on every individual…”


all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”

Synopsis: As did Republican President Abraham Lincoln, the Republican Party Platform places God front and center and perceives its mission as ensuring that we continue to be a nation "under God" - by applying the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Link: Complete Party Platform

We thank Jesse Romero for the idea of counting the word, "God" in the two party platforms and noting his findings on Dr. Taylor Marshall's podcast  of May 1, 2020. Here is a link to this informative interview on YouTube:

 Jesse Romero with Dr. Taylor Marshall - YouTube


 

Democrat National Congress Website and Party Platform:

A word search for the word “God” yields ZERO results. However, the adjective "God-given" appears three times. Each time, it appears in the term "God-given potential".


Here are the three places where “God-given potential” appears in the Democratic Party Platform:


“We will end the school-to-prison pipeline and build a cradle-to-college pipeline instead, where every child can live up to his or her God-given potential.(page 7)

“Democrats believe that everyone deserves the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.” (page 18)

“The world will be more secure, stable, and peaceful when all people are able to reach their God-given potential and live in freedom and dignity.” (page 45)

 

Synopsis: Unlike the Republican Party Platform, the Democratic Party Platform is silent in regard to our "God'" and "Creator".  "God" only appears in the adjective "God-given" within discussions of education and other topics.

 Link:  Complete Party Platform

Sanctity of Human Life: "Every human life, from the moment of conception until death, is sacred because the human person has been willed ... in the image and likeness of God." - Catechism of the Catholic Church (Article 2319)

REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM:

The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be
deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life
and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.” (p.13) “We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare.” (page 13) 
Further Clarification of the Republican Party’s Position:
 “Proud to be the party that protects human life and offers real solutions for women” and “strongly oppose[s] infanticide.” 
Supports the following: 
Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; 
a human life constitutional amendment; 
a ban on abortion at 20 weeks, when unborn babies can feel pain; 
a ban on abortion based on sex or disability; 
a ban on dismemberment abortion “in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb”; 
abortion clinic safety regulations; 
a ban on human cloning, and on creating and experimenting upon human embryos, including three-parent embryos; 
a ban on any sale of fetal body parts; and 
a ban on the “use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM:

The Democratic Party Platform states:
“We believe unequivocally that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion--“regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured... We will continue to oppose--“and seek to overturn--“federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.” (page 37)

“We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.” (page 37)

Further Clarification of the Democratic Party’s Position:

Calls for government funded abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, by “repealing the Hyde Amendment”, which bars federal money for elective abortion.

In brief: The Democratic Party considers abortion, i.e., the killing of an unborn baby,  to be "reproductive health care" that is the mother's "right" at any age of the baby until birth and, further that taxpayers should subsidize this.

 

 

 


“Further Clarification” content is copied from the Family Research Council (FRC) “Party Platform Comparison”. Use this link to obtain this leaflet on the FRCaction.org website.


Download the leaflet (pdf file) listing the above party platforms' excerpts on the Priests for Life website: Party Platforms Comparison by Priests for Life

For a brief overview of the Priests for Life Party Platform Comparison, link to this  September 11, 2020 article on the website of Life Site News:Overview of Party Platform Comparison


The Republican Party Platform document can be found on the party website: Republican Party Platform


The Democratic Party Platform document can be found on the party website:Democratic Party Platform

Dramatic 180-degree Change in the Democrat Party: 2002 to Today

February 25, 2019

All but three of the 45 Democrat Senators* voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a Republican bill that would “prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion” Congress.gov - BASPA

This 2019 vote by 93% of the Democrat Senators is an indication of the almost complete reversal of the Democratic Party’s position in the 17 years since 2002, when, thanks to the Democrat Party’s support, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (“BAIPA”) passed both Houses of Congress. The bill passed Senate by unanimous consent. Congress.gov - BAIPA

The lone Democrat senators who voted to support the 2012 bill were Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Doug Jones of Alabama. Foxnews.com – Born Alive Bill

In response to the Democrat Senators’ blocking of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Activities committee, issued the following statement:

“There should be no bill easier for the Senate to pass than one that makes clear that killing newborn babies is wrong and should not be tolerated.

That  even one senator, let alone 44 senators, voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is an injustice that should horrify and anger the American people and commit us to decisive political action.”

Link to 02/25/19 Fox News article: Dems block ‘born alive’ bill

• Link to 03/12/19  Renew America Article: Alan Keyes

 

Complete Change in Democratic Party Platform on Abortion
 
• The party’s 1980 platform voiced support for Roe v. Wade – the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion – but added, “We fully recognize the religious and ethical concerns which many Americans have about abortion.”
• Four years on, the platform contained no reference to abortion, and the 1988 document said (without mentioning the word abortion) “the fundamental right of reproductive choice should be guaranteed regardless of ability to pay.”
• The 1992 Democratic platform stated, “The goal of our nation must be to make abortion less necessary, not more difficult or more dangerous,” and those in 1996 and 2000, said, “Our goal is to make abortion less necessary and more rare, not more difficult and more dangerous.”
• The 2004 platform said abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare,” 
• In 2008, 2012 and 2016, the platforms dropped the word “rare,” saying abortion should be “safe and legal.”
• The 2016 Democrat platform, for the first time, endorsed the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.

 

The foregoing chronology of the Democratic Party's massive shift in its position on abortion is from the April 29, 2020  article appearing on the website of CNSNews.com. Here is a link to this article on this site: 
 

 

Marriage

The Republican Party Platform states:
“We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges…. In Obergefell, _five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” (page 11)

Further Clarification of the Republican Party’s Position:
“The American family… is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman.”

DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM:

The Democratic Party Platform States:

“Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized LGBT people--“like every other American--“have the right to marry the person they love. But there is still much work to be done.” (page 19)


“Further Clarification” content is copied from the Family Research Council (FRC) “Party Platform Comparison”, a leaflet available as a pdf on the FRC website: FRC Party Platforms 2016-2020.
A leaflet listing the above-quoted excerpts from the party platforms documents is available as a pdf from the Priests for Life website, Priests For Life - 2016 Party Platforms
The Republican Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Republican Party Platform
The Democratic Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Democratic Party Platform

Religious Liberty

The Republican Party Platform states:
“We value the right of America’s religious leaders to preach, and Americans to speak freely, according to their faith. Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs, and therefore we urge the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.” (page 11)

Further Clarification of the Republican Party’s Position:
- “Strongly support[s] the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their everyday lives.”
- Supports the conscience rights of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and health care plans that do not want to participate in morally objectionable services like abortion.
- Supports “the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.”

DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM:

 The Democratic Party Platform states:

“Democrats know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith in
many forms and the countless acts of justice, mercy, and tolerance it inspires. We believe in lifting up and valuing the good work of people of faith and religious organizations and finding ways to support that work where possible.”
(page 19)

Further Clarification of the Democratic Party’s Position:

  • Will pull the tax-exempt status of religious universities without transgender bathrooms and showers through imposing “federal non-discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans” “on the basis of “gender, sexual orientation, gender identity.”
  • Supports the coercive HHS contraception mandate against faith-based groups like Little Sisters of the Poor.
  • Supports the Obama administration’s redefinition of “sex discrimination” to include abortion and sex change operations.

 

2020 Democratic Party Platform: 

August 22, 2020 - NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER:  "2020 DNC Platform Features a Narrow View of Religious Freedom" - The Democrats’ pledge not to allow religious liberty to serve as  "a cover for discrimination" could mean major curtailments on religious liberty, in matters involving sexuality and the sanctity of life.

Read the entire article on the website of the National Catholic Register: 2020 Democratic Party Platform - Religious Freedom Concern

 

 


“Further Clarification” content is copied from the Family Research Council (FRC) “Party Platform Comparison”, a leaflet available as a pdf on the FRC website: FRC Party Platforms 2016-2020.
A leaflet listing the above-quoted excerpts from the party platforms documents is available as a pdf from the Priests for Life website, Priests For Life - 2016 Party Platforms
The Republican Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Republican Party Platform
The Democratic Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Democratic Party Platform

Appointment of Judges

The Republican Party Platform states:
“We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.” (page 13)

DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM:

The Democratic Party Platform states:

We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, curb billionaires’ influence over elections because they understand that Citizens United has fundamentally damaged our democracy, and believe the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the disadvantaged and powerless.(page 22)


“Further Clarification” content is copied from the Family Research Council (FRC) “Party Platform Comparison”, a leaflet available as a pdf on the FRC website: FRC Party Platforms 2016-2020.
A leaflet listing the above-quoted excerpts from the party platforms documents is available as a pdf from the Priests for Life website, Priests For Life - 2016 Party Platforms
The Republican Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Republican Party Platform
The Democratic Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Democratic Party Platform

Education

The Republican Party Platform states:
“We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools. We especially support the innovative financing mechanisms that make options available to all children: education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits.” (page 34)

“We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.” (page 34)

Further Clarification of the Republican Party’s Position:
- will “fight for school choice” and “local control.”
- recognizes that “parents,” not the government, “are a child’s first and foremost educators, and opposes Common Core.”
- supports home-schooling, private or parochial schools, vouchers, and tuition tax credits, etc.
- encourages teaching the Bible as an elective in public schools.
- supports “sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.”
- opposes the Obama administration’s Title IX transgender bathroom edict, since it is “at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues,” and -“impose[s] a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories.”

DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM:

The Democratic Party Platform states:
“Democrats are also committed to providing parents with high-quality public school options and expanding these options for low-income youth. We support great neighborhood public schools and high-quality public charter schools, and we will help them disseminate best practices to other school leaders and educators. Democrats oppose for-profit charter schools focused on making a profit off of public resources.” (page 34)

“We recognize that quality, affordable comprehensive health care, evidence-based sex education, and a full range of family planning services help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.” (page 37) (Note: “family planning” is a reference to methods of preventing pregnancies, effectively enabling students to have sexual relations.)

Further Clarification of the Democratic Party’s Position:

  • promotes condom-based sex education
  • supports the Obama administration’s redefinition of “sex discrimination” in Title IX to mandate transgender bathrooms and showers in public schools and universities through “the continued development of sex discrimination law to cover LGBT people.”
    Silent on school choice.
  • “We believe a strong public education system is an anchor of our democracy” for “all children”.


“Further Clarification” content is copied from the Family Research Council (FRC) “Party Platform Comparison”, a leaflet available as a pdf on the FRC website: FRC Party Platforms 2016-2020.
A leaflet listing the above-quoted excerpts from the party platforms documents is available as a pdf from the Priests for Life website, Priests For Life - 2016 Party Platforms
The Republican Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Republican Party Platform
The Democratic Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Democratic Party Platform

Health Care

The Republican Party Platform states:
“Any honest agenda for improving healthcare must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare…. To simplify the system for both patients and providers, we will reduce mandates and enable insurers and providers of care to increase healthcare options and contain costs.” (page 36)

DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM:

The Democratic Party Platform states:
“Thanks to the hard work of President Obama and Democrats in Congress we took a critically important step towards the goal of universal health care by passing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has offered coverage to 20 million more Americans and ensured millions more will never be denied coverage on account of a pre-existing condition.” (Page 34)


“Further Clarification” content is copied from the Family Research Council (FRC) “Party Platform Comparison”, a leaflet available as a pdf on the FRC website: FRC Party Platforms 2016-2020.
A leaflet listing the above-quoted excerpts from the party platforms documents is available as a pdf from the Priests for Life website, Priests For Life - 2016 Party Platforms
The Republican Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Republican Party Platform
The Democratic Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Democratic Party Platform

The Military

The Republican Party’s Position:

“We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept or continue attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness.” “Military readiness should not be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.”

- “Support[s] the religious freedom of all military members, especially chaplains, and will not tolerate attempts to ban Bibles or religious symbols from military facilities.”

- Opposes the “Selective Service registration of women for a possible future draft.”

DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM:

The Democratic Party’s Position:

  • Supports the “repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
  • Claims “our military is strongest” when it includes “people of all … sexual orientations and gender identities,” such as by paying for transgender sex change operations and allowing men with gender dysphoria to use women’s showers, barracks, and bathrooms.
  • Pushes to include elective abortion coverage in military and veterans’ benefits.


“Further Clarification” content is copied from the Family Research Council (FRC) “Party Platform Comparison”, a leaflet available as a pdf on the FRC website: FRC Party Platforms 2016-2020.
A leaflet listing the above-quoted excerpts from the party platforms documents is available as a pdf from the Priests for Life website, Priests For Life - 2016 Party Platforms
The Republican Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Republican Party Platform
The Democratic Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Democratic Party Platform

Foreign Assistance

The Republican Party Platform states:
“The integrity of our country’s foreign assistance program has been compromised by the current Administration’s (i.e. the Obama/Biden Administration of 2008-2016) attempt to impose on foreign recipients, especially the peoples of Africa, its own radical social agenda while excluding faith-based groups -“ the sector with the best track record in promoting development -“ because they will not conform to that agenda. We pledge to reverse this course….” (page 52)

Further Clarification of the Republican Party’s Position:
Opposes the federal government funding abortion overseas and calls for restoring the Mexico City Policy, to bar federal money from going to foreign organizations which “provide or promote abortion,” or are complicit in China’s one-child policy. (Note: On January President Trump restored the Mexico City Policy that had been revoked by the Obama/Biden Administration.) The Presidential Memorandum can be reviewed at the White House website: Mexico City Policy

DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM:

The Democratic Party Platform states:
“We will support sexual and reproductive health and rights around the globe. In addition to expanding the availability of affordable family planning information and contraceptive supplies, we believe that safe abortion must be part of comprehensive maternal and women’s health care and included as part of America’s global health programming.” (page 46)

Further Clarification of the Democratic Party’s Position:

• Calls for funding abortion on demand overseas by repealing the Helms Amendment, which bars U.S. foreign money for abortion.
• Will “ensure America’s foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people around the world … including combating efforts by any nation to infringe on LGBT rights or ignore abuse.”


“Further Clarification” content is copied from the Family Research Council (FRC) “Party Platform Comparison”, a leaflet available as a pdf on the FRC website: FRC Party Platforms 2016-2020.
A leaflet listing the above-quoted excerpts from the party platforms documents is available as a pdf from the Priests for Life website, Priests For Life - 2016 Party Platforms
The Republican Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Republican Party Platform
The Democratic Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Democratic Party Platform

Climate Change

The Republican Party Platform states:
“We firmly believe environmental problems are best solved by giving incentives for human ingenuity and the development of new technologies, not through top-down, command-and-control regulations that stifle economic growth and cost thousands of jobs.” (page 22)

DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM:

The Democratic Party Platform states:
“Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time…. We believe America must be running entirely on clean energy by mid-century.” (page 27)


“Further Clarification” content is copied from the Family Research Council (FRC) “Party Platform Comparison”, a leaflet available as a pdf on the FRC website: FRC Party Platforms 2016-2020.
A leaflet listing the above-quoted excerpts from the party platforms documents is available as a pdf from the Priests for Life website, Priests For Life - 2016 Party Platforms
The Republican Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Republican Party Platform
The Democratic Party Platform document can be found on the party website:
Democratic Party Platform