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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Party Platformscomment (0)

October 18, 2012


Every election cycle the nation’s leading political parties outline their respective visions for America through their party platforms. Following are excerpts on selected moral and ethical issues taken directly from the Democratic platform called “Moving America Forward” and the Republican platform titled “We Believe in America.” The information is provided to help readers compare the positions of each party on these important issues so readers will be better informed when they cast their ballots Nov. 6.

Democrat

Health Care

We believe accessible, affordable, high-quality health care is part of the American promise, that Americans should have the security that comes with good health care and that no one should go broke because they get sick.

Soon working families will finally have the security of knowing they won’t lose health care or be forced into bankruptcy if a family member gets sick or loses their job. And soon insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Medicaid will cover more working families. Those who don’t get insurance at work will be able to shop in new exchanges and will be eligible for new tax credits. As a result, all Americans will have access to health care.

We refuse to go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your health policy, deny you coverage or charge women more than men. 

We remain committed to eliminating disparities in health and will continue to make sure families have access to mental health and substance abuse services. We will strengthen Medicaid and oppose efforts to block grant the program, slash its funding and leave millions more without health insurance. We will continue to invest in our public health infrastructure — ensuring that we are able to respond to emergencies and support community-based efforts to prevent disease. The Recovery Act and the health reform law made historic investments in Community Health Centers, and Democrats will continue to support these valuable institutions.

 

Social Security

We believe every American deserves a secure, healthy and dignified retirement. America’s seniors have earned their Social Security through a lifetime of hard work and personal responsibility. President Obama is committed to preserving that promise for this and future generations.

During their working years Americans contribute to Social Security in exchange for a promise that they will receive an income in retirement. Unlike those in the other party, we will find a solution to protect Social Security for future generations. We will block Republican efforts to subject Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market through privatization. We reject approaches that insist that cutting benefits is the only answer. President Obama will also make it easier for Americans to save on their own for retirement and prepare for unforeseen expenses by participating in retirement accounts at work. 

Medicare

Democrats believe that Social Security and Medicare must be kept strong for seniors, people with disabilities and future generations. Democrats adamantly oppose any efforts to privatize or voucherize Medicare; unlike our opponents we will not ask seniors to pay thousands of dollars more every year while they watch the value of their Medicare benefits evaporate. Democrats believe that Medicare is a sacred compact with our seniors. Nearly 50 million older Americans and Americans with disabilities rely on Medicare each year, and the new health care law makes Medicare stronger by adding new benefits, fighting fraud and improving care for patients. And, over 10 years, the law will save the average Medicare beneficiary $4,200. President Obama is already leading the most successful crackdown on health care fraud ever, having already recovered $10 billion from health care scams. We will build on those reforms, not eliminate Medicare’s guarantees. The health care law is closing the gap in prescription drug coverage known as the “doughnut hole.” More than five million seniors have already saved money — an average of $600 last year — and the “doughnut hole” will be closed for good by 2020. 

Immigration

Democrats are strongly committed to enacting comprehensive immigration reform that supports our economic goals and reflects our values as both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. Our prosperity depends on an immigration system that reflects our values and meets America’s needs. But Americans know that today our immigration system is badly broken — separating families, undermining honest employers and workers, burdening law enforcement and leaving millions of people working and living in the shadows. The country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship. We need an immigration reform that creates a system for allocating visas that meets our economic needs, keeps families together and enforces the law. Today the southwest border is more secure than at any time in the past 20 years. Unlawful crossings are at a 40-year low, and the Border Patrol is better staffed than at any time in its history. We are continuing to work to hold employers accountable for whom they hire. The Department of Homeland Security is prioritizing the deportation of criminals who endanger our communities over the deportation of immigrants who do not pose a threat, such as children who came here through no fault of their own and are pursuing an education. President Obama’s administration has streamlined the process of legal immigration for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, supporting family reunification as a priority, and has enhanced opportunities for English-language learning and immigrant integration. When states sought to interfere with federal immigration law by passing local measures targeting immigrants, this administration challenged them in court.

Education

Public education is one of our critical democratic institutions. We are committed to ensuring that every child in America has access to a world-class public education so we can out-educate the world and make sure America has the world’s highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. This requires excellence at every level of our education system, from early learning through post-secondary education. It means we must close the achievement gap in America’s schools and ensure that in every neighborhood in the country, children can benefit from high-quality educational opportunities. Democrats are committed to working with states and communities so they have the flexibility and resources they need to improve elementary and secondary education in a way that works best for students. The Democratic Party understands the importance of turning around struggling public schools. We will continue to strengthen all our schools and work to expand public school options for low-income youth, including magnet schools, charter schools, teacher-led schools and career academies. We Democrats honor our nation’s teachers, who do a heroic job for their students every day. We also believe in carefully crafted evaluation systems that give struggling teachers a chance to succeed and protect due process if another teacher has to be put in the classroom. We also recognize there is no substitute for a parent’s involvement in their child’s education.

Faith

Faith has always been a central part of the American story and a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history. We know that our nation, our communities and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires. Faith-based organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world — from domestic and global poverty to climate change and human trafficking. People of faith and religious organizations do amazing work in communities across this country and the world, and we believe in lifting up and valuing that good work and finding ways to support it where possible. We believe in constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships with faith-based and other nonprofit organizations to serve those in need and advance our shared interests. There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country.

Same-sex ‘marriage’

We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference. 

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.

Poverty

Too many Americans live without hope for a better future or access to good, family-supporting jobs. Fifteen percent of our fellow citizens live in poverty, and one in five families struggles with food insecurity. Many of these families work but are unable to pay the bills. The economic crisis has hit low-income American families particularly hard, but merely restoring our country to where it was before the economic crisis is not enough. We must make ending poverty a national priority. We must raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation. We will continue to fight for equal pay for equal work, a strong labor movement and access to a world-class education for every child. We understand that poverty disproportionately affects communities of color and we are committed to working with those most affected by poverty. We will continue the improvements in refundable tax credits for low-income families to encourage work and education while lifting families out of poverty. To enhance access and equity in employment, education and business opportunities we encourage initiatives to remove barriers to equal opportunity that still exist in America. We will expand the Promise Neighborhoods Program to prepare more students for college.

Combating Human Trafficking

Some 27 million women, men and children around the world are victims of human trafficking. Trafficking in persons is both an affront to our fundamental values and, as a source of funds for transnational criminals and terrorist organizations, a threat to national and international security. The administration has used bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeted foreign assistance, training programs, public outreach and law enforcement to combat trafficking in persons across the globe. And the administration has provided technical assistance to improve law enforcement and grants to support grassroots prevention efforts around the world targeting sex and labor trafficking, child sex tourism, forced child labor and other abuses. The administration also is committed to taking action at home to fight trafficking, including the sex trafficking of young girls. 

Public Safety, Justice and Crime Prevention

In the last four years rates of serious crimes like murder, rape and robbery have reached 50-year lows, but there is more work to do. Democrats are fighting for new funding that will help keep cops on the street and support our police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians. We support efforts to ensure our courageous police officers and first responders are equipped with the best technology, equipment and innovative strategies to prevent and fight crimes. We support local prison-to-work programs and other initiatives to reduce recidivism, making citizens safer and saving the taxpayers money. We understand the disproportionate effects of crime, violence and incarceration on communities of color and are committed to working with those communities to find solutions. We believe that the death penalty must not be arbitrary. DNA testing should be used in all appropriate circumstances, defendants should have effective assistance of counsel and the administration of justice should be fair and impartial. We will continue to nominate and confirm judges who are men and women of unquestionable talent and character and who will always demonstrate their faithfulness to our law and our Constitution and bring with them a sense of how American society works and how the American people live. 

We must help state, local, territorial and tribal law enforcement work together to combat and prevent drug crime and drug and alcohol abuse, which are blights on our communities. We will continue to expand the use of drug courts. We support the rights of victims to be respected, heard and compensated.

Environment

Democrats are committed to protecting our natural resources while creating jobs, preserving habitats and ensuring that future generations can enjoy our nation’s outdoor heritage. Significant strides have been made to cut pollution and advance public health — protecting our children and communities from harmful pollution by restoring and advancing safeguards for clean air and water and by working to reduce carbon pollution. Democrats will continue to stand up to polluters in the interest of environmental and public health. We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits. We have developed historic fuel efficiency standards that will limit greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history, made unprecedented investments in clean energy and proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants. We will continue to support smart, energy-efficient manufacturing. Democrats pledge to continue showing international leadership on climate change while working toward an agreement to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers. We understand that global climate change may disproportionately affect the poor, and we are committed to environmental justice. Democrats will continue to work with local communities to conserve our publicly-owned lands and dramatically expand investments in conserving and restoring forests, grasslands and wetlands across America for generations to come. We will ensure that our national parks are protected while expanding opportunities for Americans to visit and experience these national treasures. We will continue working to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming and fishing by supporting initiatives that restore our rivers, oceans, coasts and watersheds. We will preserve landscapes and ecosystems and open more lands and waters for hunting, fishing and recreation.

Abortion

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.

The Middle East 

The Democratic Party maintains an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security. Despite budgetary constraints, the president has worked with Congress to increase security assistance to Israel every single year since taking office. The administration has also worked to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. And we have deepened defense cooperation to help Israel address its most pressing threats, including the growing danger posed by rockets and missiles emanating from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Iran. The president’s consistent support for Israel’s right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage are further evidence of our enduring commitment to Israel’s security. 

It is precisely because of this commitment that the Democratic Party seeks peace between Israelis and Palestinians. A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state. President Obama will continue to press Arab states to reach out to Israel. We will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel’s right to exist, reject violence and adhere to existing agreements.

Nuclear Weapons

Despite the two decades that have passed since the end of the Cold War, large stockpiles of nuclear weapons persist and more nations are interested in acquiring them. Nuclear testing and black-market trade in sensitive nuclear materials continue. And terrorists remain determined to buy, build or steal the ultimate weapon. 

The Democratic Party is committed to preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons and to eventually ridding the planet of these catastrophic weapons. It will require patience, perseverance and the steady accumulation of concrete actions. The Obama administration has moved away from Cold War thinking by reducing the prominence of nuclear weapons in America’s national security strategy and has urged others to do the same. As long as these weapons exist the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee the defense of our allies. To reduce our warheads and stockpile, lower the threat of a nuclear exchange and lay the foundation for future progress, President Obama negotiated and signed the landmark New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, producing cuts in each side’s deployed nuclear stockpiles and launchers and allowing us to monitor and verify Russia’s arsenal. The President will work with Russia to achieve additional reductions in stockpiles and nuclear delivery vehicles, including tactical and nondeployed nuclear weapons. We will also seek a new Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty that prohibits the production of fissile materials intended for use in nuclear weapons. The Democratic Party is also committed to strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the bedrock of international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional countries. As we work to uphold our obligations under the treaty by reducing stockpiles and recognizing the rights of all rule-abiding states to peaceful nuclear energy, we will insist that countries without nuclear weapons comply with their obligations not to develop them and will ensure that violators face real consequences. 

 

 

Republican

Health Care

Congressional Republicans are committed to repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — Obamacare; and a Republican president, on the first day in office, will use his legitimate waiver authority under that law to halt its progress and then will sign its repeal. Then the American people, through the free market, can advance affordable and responsible health care reform that meets the needs and concerns of patients and providers. We believe that taking care of one’s health is an individual responsibility. Chronic diseases, many of them related to lifestyle, drive health care costs, accounting for more than 75 percent of the nation’s medical spending. To reduce demand and thereby lower costs, we must foster personal responsibility while increasing preventive services to promote healthy lifestyles. We believe that all Americans should have improved access to affordable, coordinated, quality health care, including individuals struggling with mental illness. Our goal is to encourage the development of a health care system that provides higher quality care at a lower cost to all Americans while protecting the patient-physician relationship based on mutual trust, informed consent and privileged patient confidentiality.

To return the states to their proper role of regulating local insurance markets and caring for the needy, we propose to block grant Medicaid and other payments to the states.

Social Security

While no changes should adversely affect any current or near-retiree, comprehensive reform should address our society’s remarkable medical advances in longevity and allow younger workers the option of creating their own personal investment accounts as supplements to the system. Younger Americans have lost all faith in the Social Security system, which is understandable when they read the nonpartisan actuary’s reports about its future funding status. Born in an old industrial era beyond the memory of most Americans, it is long overdue for major change, not just another legislative stopgap that postpones a day of reckoning. To restore public trust in the system, Republicans are committed to setting it on a sound fiscal basis that will give workers control over, and a sound return on, their investments. The sooner we act, the sooner those close to retirement can be reassured of their benefits and younger workers can take responsibility for planning their own retirement decades from now.

Medicare

The Republican Party is committed to saving Medicare and Medicaid. Unless the programs’ fiscal ship is righted, the individuals hurt first and the worst will be those who depend on them the most. We will save Medicare by modernizing it, by empowering its participants and by putting it on a secure financial footing. This will be an enormous undertaking, and it should be a nonpartisan one. We welcome to the effort all who sincerely want to ensure the future for our seniors and the poor.

Despite the enormous differences between Medicare and Medicaid, the two
programs share the same fiscal outlook: their current courses cannot be sustained. The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined contribution model. This is the only way to limit costs, restore consumer choice for patients and introduce competition; for in health care, as in any other sector of the economy, genuine competition is the best guarantee of better care at lower cost.

 

Immigration

Our highest priority is to secure the rule of law both at our borders and at ports of entry. In this country the rule of law guarantees equal treatment to every individual, including more than 1 million immigrants to whom we grant permanent residence every year. That is why we oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it. We support the mandatory use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (S.A.V.E.) program prior to the granting of any state or federal government entitlements or IRS refunds. We insist upon enforcement at the workplace through verification systems so that jobs can be available to all legal workers. When Americans need jobs, it is absolutely essential that we protect them from illegal labor in the workplace. That is why we support Republican legislation to give the Department of Homeland Security long-term detention authority to keep dangerous but undeportable aliens off our streets, expedite expulsion of criminal aliens and make gang membership a deportable offense. We will create humane procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily while enforcing the law against those who overstay their visas. State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked. The pending Department of Justice lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina and Utah must be dismissed immediately. The double-layered fencing on the border that was enacted by Congress in 2006 but never completed must finally be built. In order to restore the rule of law, federal funding should be denied to sanctuary cities that violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, and federal funding should be denied to universities that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens in open defiance of federal law. While we encourage the retention and transmission of heritage tongues, we support English as the nation’s official language.

Education

We support options for learning, including home-schooling and local innovations like single-sex classes, full-day school hours and year-round schools. School choice — whether through charter schools, open enrollment requests, college lab schools, virtual schools, career and technical education programs, vouchers, or tax credits — is important for all children, especially for families with children trapped in failing schools. We support the promotion of local career and technical educational programs and entrepreneurial programs that have been supported by leaders in industry and will retrain and retool the American workforce, which is the best in the world. We support its concept of block grants and the repeal of numerous federal regulations that interfere with state and local control of public schools. We support putting the needs of students before the special interests of unions when approaching elementary and secondary education reform. Because parents are a child’s first teachers, we support family literacy programs, which improve the reading, language and life skills of both parents and children from low-income families. To ensure that all students have access to the mainstream of American life, we support the English First approach and oppose divisive programs that limit students’ ability to advance in American society.

 

Faith

Faith has always been a central part of the American story and a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history. We know that our nation, our communities and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires. Faith-based organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world — from domestic and global poverty to climate change and human trafficking. People of faith and religious organizations do amazing work in communities across this country and the world, and we believe in lifting up and valuing that good work and finding ways to support it where possible. We believe in constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships with faith-based and other nonprofit organizations to serve those in need and advance our shared interests. There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country.

Same-sex ‘marriage’

A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order is an activist judiciary. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several states. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values. We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of states that have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other states to do so. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, and are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.

Poverty

Welfare reforms enacted in 1996 changed the standard for policy success from the amount of income transferred to the poor to the number of poor who moved from welfare to economic independence. We took the belief of most Americans — that welfare should be a hand up, not a handout — and made it law. ... Instead of undermining the expectation that low-income parents and individuals should strive to support themselves, benefit programs like food stamps must ensure that those benefits are better targeted to those who need help the most. For the sake of low-income families as well as the taxpayers the federal government’s entire system of public assistance should be reformed to ensure that it promotes work. Each year this system dispenses nearly $1 trillion in taxpayer funds across a maze of approximately 80 programs that are neither coordinated nor effective in solving poverty and lifting up families.
 

Combating Human Trafficking

As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by the first Republican President Abraham Lincoln, we are reminded to be vigilant against human bondage in whatever form it appears. We will use the full force of the law against those who engage in modern-day forms of slavery, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children and the forced labor of men, women and children. We call for increased diplomatic efforts with foreign governments to root out complicit public officials who facilitate or perpetrate this evil. We highlight the need for greater scrutiny of overseas labor contractors to prevent the imposition of usurious terms on temporary foreign workers brought to the United States. Our government must address the increasing role of vicious drug cartels and other gangs in controlling human smuggling across our southern border. 

Public Safety, Justice and Crime Prevention

Our national experience over the last several decades has shown that citizen vigilance, tough but fair prosecutors, meaningful sentences, protection of victims’ rights and limits on judicial discretion can preserve public safety by keeping criminals off the streets. We support mandatory prison sentencing for gang crimes, violent or sexual offenses against children, repeat drug dealers, rape, robbery and murder. We support a national registry for convicted child murderers. We oppose parole for dangerous or repeat felons. Courts should have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases. Prisons should do more than punish — they should attempt to rehabilitate and institute proven prisoner reentry systems to reduce recidivism and future victimization. Government at all levels should work with faith-based institutions that have proven track records in diverting young and first-time, nonviolent offenders from criminal careers. We endorse state and local initiatives that are trying new approaches to curbing drug abuse and diverting first-time offenders to rehabilitation. Public authorities must regain control of their correctional institutions. We cannot allow prisons to become ethnic or racial battlegrounds. Breaking the cycle of crime begins with the children of those who are prisoners. Deprived of a parent through no fault of their own, these youngsters should be a special concern of our schools, social services and religious institutions. We call on the states to make it a bipartisan priority to protect the rights of crime victims, who should also be assured of access to social and legal services. Federal criminal law should focus on acts by federal employees or acts committed on federal property — and leave the rest to the states. Then Congress should withdraw from federal departments and agencies the power to criminalize behavior, a practice which, according to the Congressional Research Service, has created “tens of thousands” of criminal offenses.

Environment

The environment is getting cleaner and healthier. The nation’s air and waterways as a whole are much healthier than they were just a few decades ago. However, we need a dramatic change in the attitude of officials in Washington, a shift from a job-killing punitive mentality to a spirit of landowners and the public. Legislation to restore the authority of states in environmental protection is essential. We encourage the use of agricultural best management practices among the states to reduce pollution. The Republican Party believes in the moral obligation of the people to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country and bases environmental policy on several common-sense principles. We believe people are the most valuable resource, and human health and safety are the most important measurements of success. A policy protecting these objectives, however, must balance economic development and private property rights in the short run with conservation goals over the long run. Also, public access to public lands for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing and recreational shooting should be permitted on all appropriate federal lands. Science allows us to weigh the costs and benefits of a policy so that we can prudently deal with our resources. This is especially important when the causes and long-range effects of a phenomenon are uncertain. We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research.

Abortion

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations that perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion coverage. Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted states to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on health care providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended.

The Middle East 

Israel and the United States are part of the great fellowship of democracies who speak the same language of freedom, justice and the right of every person to live in peace. The security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States; our alliance is based not only on shared interests, but also shared values. We affirm our unequivocal commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that it maintains a qualitative edge in military technology over any potential adversaries. We support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states — Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine — living in peace and security. For that to happen, the Palestinian people must support leaders who reject terror, embrace the institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law. We call on Arab governments throughout the region to help advance that goal. Israel should not be expected to negotiate with entities pledged to her destruction. We call on the new government in Egypt to fully uphold its peace treaty with Israel.

Nuclear Weapons

We recognize that the gravest terror threat we face — a nuclear attack made possible by nuclear proliferation — requires a comprehensive strategy for reducing the world’s nuclear stockpiles and preventing the spread of those armaments. But the U.S. can lead that effort only if it maintains an effective strategic arsenal at a level sufficient to fulfill its deterrent purposes. The United States is the only nuclear power not modernizing its nuclear stockpile. The current administration has systematically undermined America’s missile defense by abandoning the missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, reducing the number of planned interceptors in Alaska and cutting the budget for missile defense. A strong and effective strategic arsenal is still necessary as a deterrent against competitors like Russia or China. But the danger in this age of asymmetric or nontraditional warfare comes from other quarters as well. With unstable regimes in Iran and North Korea determined to develop nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the United States, and with the possibility that a terrorist group could gain control of a nuclear weapon, it is folly to abandon a missile shield for the country.

EDITOR’S NOTE — To read the full versions of the platforms, visit assets.dstatic.org/dnc-platform/2012-National-Platform.pdf and whitehouse12.com/republican-party-platform. To hear the candidates express their stands on hunger, watch the videos available at www.bread.org.

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