Here’s What to Expect from the Republican & Democratic Platforms

Politicos will convene to set their parties’ agendas going into the election season but how much do they really matter in the long-term?

By Rhonda FanningJuly 14, 2016 2:34 pm

Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for their national conventions in the next two weeks. The GOP just released its list of speakers, including Donald Trump’s family members, celebrities like Tim Tebow, and politicians including former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, and U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas.

As those details are ironed out, the party delegates have been finalizing their platforms. Sean Theriault, a government affairs professor at the University of Texas at Austin, says the Republican platform is one of the most conservative he’s seen in years.

“The Republican Party has written a platform that’s going to appeal to its base,” Theriault says. “It’s not going to appeal to the independent voters that are going to decide the election.”

But a shift to more extreme views isn’t just happening on the Republican side.

“Before we think that this is too unique, the platforms have been trending this way,” Theriault says. “Both the Democrats becoming more liberal over time and the Republicans more conservative, but this (Republican) platform is certainly a step in that more conservative direction.”

The Democratic platform is still being written, but Theriault says we can expect it to be much more liberal.

“We’re still a ways away from the Democratic convention, but there’s talk of the minimum wage plank, which is much more strident than in years past,” he says. “And it looks like there might be a pretty serious plank regarding trade, and that would be a step in the more liberal direction too.”

Theriault says that ultimately, the platforms aren’t absolute. While leaders will use them in discussion in the near future, come election time they won’t matter as much.

“They certainly matter for today, and they’re gong to matter for next week, but these are really only kind of stories of the day,” he says. “(The platforms) set a benchmark in the sand. So, in four years, they’ll return to the Republican Party platform from this time, the Democratic platform, those will be the starting points for the writing of the documents for the elections in 2020.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.

Post by Alexandra Hart.