Political parties’ platforms are statements claiming their position about different socially relevant issues. Each national coalition has a committee writing platform for them. Writers combine values, attracting supporters to the party with notions that are able to make more people loyal to its policies. The text always includes the most important moments, such as national defense, availability of healthcare to all people, and a good educational system. However, the parties’ leaders are not always aware of the content of their platforms. In the United States, candidates are not obliged to follow the written instructions as the modern electoral system of the country includes candidate-centered, and not party-centered, campaigns. Using party labels U.S. candidates tell voters about their positions on important issues. Platforms are necessary for parties, and not for their leaders. They are useful because they provide the present and future members of the coalition with something to bargain over. Without the document, it would be almost impossible to define the values and policy intentions.
Texas Republicans and Democrats update their platforms every two years, establishing goals and main principles of their parties. The documents include many statements proving that representatives of these two parties see the future of Texas differently. One of the most important issues concerning the citizens is weapon control. Democrats claim that they support “Reducing gun violence while preserving our second amendment right to bear arms” (Texas Democratic Party, 2020, para. 106). Republicans’ position is in support of “constitutional carry legislation through any legislative means so law-abiding citizens may carry any legally owned guns openly or concealed while maintaining the option of a permit for reciprocity purposes only” (Ahmed et al., 2018, para. 4). After the shootings at high schools, both parties expanded the sections explaining their positions on the guns issue. The Republicans’ platform now allows the temporary removal of firearms from people presenting an immediate danger. The Democrats added a section permitting law enforcement to confiscate weapons from suspects charged with crimes such as domestic violence, stalking, or human trafficking.
Another important point requiring extra attention of the parties is their position about LGBT and the necessary changes which are demanded in order to guarantee their rights. Democrats’ position is protecting the U.S Supreme Court decisions “which guaranteed marriage equality and the full benefits of marriage to all couples” (Texas Democratic Party, 2020, para. 82). Republicans are of the opposite opinion, they are against homosexual marriages, although they “softened their language opposing homosexuality and same-sex marriage in this year’s platform” (Ahmed et al., 2018, para. 12). It follows that Republicans remain conservative about the issue, and this fact raises many negative reactions.
One of the most controversial topics which are always discussed is the legalization of marijuana. Democrats in Texas support the idea of making holding and use of cannabis legal, while Republicans plump for the decriminalization of having small amounts of the drug in possession. The issue of marijuana legalization has been a major point for debates between representatives of the two parties for a long time. Recently, everyone noticed a serious shift in the positions on this question, especially among Republicans. According to Mark Ramsey, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, “the bottom line is that if something changes, it is because the grassroots activists and delegates wanted it to change” (Samuels, 2018, para. 14). Marijuana is the subject that is going to be discussed further, and it is already obvious that certain changes would occur at this point.
In their platforms, both parties have many negative points which can be used against them. For Republicans, it is their intransigence on problems worrying young generations, reflected, for example, in the party’s position about the minorities, opposing the idea of homosexuality. Another controversial idea of the party includes a prohibition for future lockdowns of the people in Texas, implying it violates human rights. This position may be heavily critiqued as it restricts the government from taking necessary measures in order to save the lives of the citizens. In addition, there is another controversial position regarding medical issues, their attitude toward vaccination as Republicans support the idea of voluntary immunization without government interference. This point of view conflicts with the idea of herd immunity as a big percentage of refusals from vaccination may lead to outbreaks of terminal illnesses posing a threat to thousands of other people. These are a few sections that may cause many debates, and make the voters doubt the rightfulness of the party’s statements.
Democrats’ platform has certain weak points which could be criticized, as well. First of all, many measures offered by the party members involve huge expenses. Such initiatives as the increase of minimum wage, making the health program Medicare available to all the citizens, and giving the imprisoned people the right to vote to involve many investments. It is unclear where they plan to find necessary resources for all of those ideas realization. Moreover, due to this approach, the Democrats are often being accused of red ideas propaganda. The representatives of the party are often noticed in striving to justify the totalitarian regime and it is a significant negative point, which always causes many arguments.
In conclusion, a party’s platform is an essential tool providing major statements explaining their policies to the voters. Experts argue that this document is necessary as candidates are often not aware of its content. However, it is acknowledged that the platform is for the party and for its future members as it clarifies the values this coalition promotes. Each platform is not perfect and leaves many issues for debates, which is reasonable because it allows candidates to build their positions on the basis of the competitor’s faults.
Ahmed N., Pollock C. & Samuels, A. (2018, July). How the Texas Democratic and Republican party platforms compare. The Texas Tribune. Web.
Samuels, A. (2018). As more states legalize pot, advocates see signs suggesting Texas may move that way. Web.
Texas Democratic Party. Texas Democratic party 2020 – 2022 platform. Web.