I know very few people who are familiar with the platform of their political party of choice. In fact, the majority of voters I speak with have never even thought to examine their party’s stance on the issues that are so important to us all. If this political ennui doesn’t stop, we risk becoming a nation of uninformed voters.

The three main political parties, i.e., Republican, Democrat and Libertarian parties, have stated goals and these are presented in the form of a party platform. These platforms differ greatly from party to party and in some respects bear little resemblance to the platform of the other parties. Also, there are other parties besides the three just mentioned, and these have their own platforms, the Green Party being one example.

Further, while national parties have national platforms, state parties also have their own, distinctive platforms. Republican and Democrat parties of Maine each have their Maine party platform. I was unable to find a specific Maine party platform for the Libertarian party, but the federal platform is available for all to see and it is presumed that Maine Libertarians hold to their party’s national platform.

Maine Republican platform

It is interesting to note that the Maine Republican party platform, two and a half pages long, is the shortest of all. The Democrat party platform covers nearly eight pages and the Libertarian party platform goes on for about six pages.

So as Mainers, it behooves all of us to be familiar with our state party platform. As a conservative, I find that the Maine Republican party platform very closely reflects my own political views. In fact, the proposed new platform (to be voted upon in May) is the ideal platform for any conservative and I don’t see how anyone could state it better, especially with so few words.

I personally disagree with much of the Democrat party platform and am somewhat ambivalent regarding the Libertarian platform, particularly their stance on national defense.

The differences between these platforms are so great that I foresee me taking two separate columns to fully illustrate the vast chasm between the parties, most particularly between the Republican and Democrat platforms. And so for this installment, I will outline some of the more striking differences between Maine Republicans and Democrats. And for those who have not read their own party platforms, prepare for some shocking revelations.

Opening statements

The Republican platform opens by thanking and honoring all those who have served the state and nation while in uniform. It points out how our constitutional republic is endangered by failure to follow our founders’ directions. It points out that restoring the principles of liberty is the only way to thwart the current moral and economic collapse.

The Democrat party platform opens by saying that Maine Democrats believe in promoting sustainable communities (don’t know what that means? Neither do I), fairness and opportunity for all, investment in Maine’s future, economic opportunity and security and universal access to quality education and healthcare, good government, fair taxes, safety and national security, human rights, environmental protection and international cooperation.

The Democrat party platform includes in its opening, an allegiance to the principals outlined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a man with strong socialist leanings.

Comparing the two opening statements, it is immediately obvious that the Republican stance is simple, clear, and concise. It contains no equivocation and makes no use of modern buzz-words such as “sustainable” and “universal.” The Democrat platform, on the other hand, seems too all-inclusive and indicative of a preference for a “nanny state.”

Line items

The Republican platform sets out a number of specific line items for its agenda. The following statement, taken directly from the platform, illustrates the need for these line items: “The government of Maine exists to preserve and protect certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights endowed by our Creator for the benefit, protection and security of all citizens and future generations.”

The first three line items in the Republican platform resolve to “Defend the individual’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Maine and U.S. Constitutions, Defend states rights through support of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and to defend the sovereignty of the United States."

Here are the fourth through the seventh line items in the Republican platform. They are preceded by this statement: “The strength of Maine and the United States lies with the rights and responsibilities of the individual.”

These four line items are:

"The expression of religious faith must not be excluded from the public forum.

"The profits of an individual’s efforts and accumulation of private property belong to the individual.

"The platform supports the assimilation of legal immigrants into Maine society.

"The platform affirms English as the official language of the State of Maine."

It is as good for me rather than paraphrase, to simply offer as written the first nine line items of the Democrat party platform. The platform says that Maine Democrats support a government that:

"Upholds the right of all people to participate fairly in our economy and earn equitable rewards for their contributions.

"Counters the trend of economic inequality through effective regulation, progressive taxation and responsible spending.

"Keeps markets free from predatory practices.

"Commits itself, nationally, and as states, to the fundamental principle of fiscal responsibility."

Regarding economic security, the Democrat party platform says that economic security in Maine means:

"Decent jobs with livable wages — a minimum wage high enough to raise a worker out of poverty — for all who can work.

"Affordable, warm housing and access to transportation.

"A strong, public Social Security program, unemployment compensation, rigorous regulation of all pensions, and protection of workers’ pension funds.

"Public services provided without profit motive.

"Protection from the repercussions of natural disaster."

I’ll leave it to the reader to peruse and compare these line items and decide which seem workable and reasonable and which do not. As you can see, the two platforms differ greatly regarding what they consider important. Next time, I’ll delve into some of the differences and offer my opinion and thoughts.