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If you’re watching the Republican National Convention this week, you might hear some things about Democrats that are hard to believe.
That’s because they’re not true.
For example, as a Democrat, I can attest to the fact that we aren’t trying to abolish the suburbs. We don’t want North Korea — or Iran or Saudi Arabia — to get nuclear weapons. Nor do we want war without end.
In fact, the Democratic Party has laid out the policies and ideas that it supports in its national platform. The platform is aspirational, for sure, and a lot of the policy prescriptions paper over substantive differences among members of the party.
For example, I support a Medicare for All health care expansion that begins by reducing the age at which people become eligible. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is the Democratic nominee for president, advocates for building on the Affordable Care Act by offering a public option and increased subsidies to make health insurance more affordable.
Here’s what the Democratic Party platform, in part, says about health care: “Democrats believe that health care is a right, not a privilege … Americans should be able to access public coverage through a public option, and those over 55 should be able to opt in to Medicare.”
The ultimate platform goal is universal health care coverage.
Democrats want to make sure everyone has access to affordable health care — even if the way we want to get there might diverge.
The Democrats also lay out their guiding principle, “We’re stronger together,” which is included in the platform’s preamble.
Then the platform talks about broad topics, each with multiple subcategories of policy initiatives.
Democrats’ platform includes raising incomes and restore economic security for the middle class, creating good-paying jobs and fighting for economic fairness and against inequality.
They also want to remove barriers to opportunities, protect voting rights and fix the campaign finance system while also fighting climate change, building a clean energy economy and securing environmental justice.
Other top of the ticket items are p roviding quality education, e nsuring the health and safety of all Americans and confronting global threats and protecting our values.
The platform was developed by members of the party and through negotiations between the diverse coalition that makes up the Democratic Party. It’s a value statement and a roadmap to the country that Democrats would like to see.
While there are real and legitimate differences between Republicans and Democrats on how these goals could be achieved — heck, there are real and legitimate differences in Democrats’ opinions on how to get there — the platform makes clear that what the Democratic Party wants is to improve the lives of American families through smart and thoughtful public policies.
By comparison, the Republican Party official “platform” could have been written on a bar napkin after a three-martini lunch ( which the GOP would like to make tax deductible).
Instead of a statement of ideas or principles, the Republican Party instead issued an oath to President Trump: “The Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.”
The statement attacks the media — pre-emptively claiming bias — while stating clearly that “the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform.”
No ideas. No policy goals. No statements on the direction of the country.
Instead, the Republican Party has now fully embraced the Trump cult of personality and replaced any discussion of policies or priorities with fidelity to Dear Leader.
This week the Republican National Convention is putting on an alternative reality show, where Democrats are a menace, COVID-19 is under control and the economy is booming.
None of those things are true.
Democrats don’t want to “steal your liberty” or “your freedom.”
They want you to have access to quality, affordable health care, to bring COVID-19 under control and make the country fairer. Oh, the horror.
David Farmer is a public affairs, political and media consultant in Portland, where he lives with his wife and two children.