Analysis of the National Democratic and Republican Political Platforms

Click here to read the entire platform analysis.

A political party’s platform is perhaps the best reflection of the party’s values as illustrated in the public policy it promotes.  It lays out their goals, their priorities, and their core beliefs.  Both the Democratic and Republican platform committees held hearings in 2012 to gain insight into the priorities of different constituencies.  Both parties considered testimony from a broad spectrum of individuals and groups including the NAACP, reviewed common and contrasting views, mixed them with historical party priorities as well as long-standing party goals and beliefs, and came out with a final product – the party platform.  Both parties unveiled their platform proposals just prior to their national conventions earlier this summer.  The platforms were then considered and ultimately ratified by the entire body of voting delegates to the conventions from across the Nation. 

The NAACP submitted written testimony to both the Democratic and Republican platform committees (the Republican party calls the committee which designs its platform its “Resolutions Committee”) and asked that our priorities for the Nation, specifically the issues which fall into our 5 game changers (economic development, criminal justice, education, health care and voting rights / civic engagement) be incorporated into their final product.  Our testimony was drawn from our legislative public policy priorities, which is available on the NAACP website at www.naacp.org, under the Washington Bureau section.  You can view copies of the written testimony to both the Democratic and Republican platform committees by clicking the hyperlinks.

The final document, which is then voted on by the delegates to the convention, reflects the goals and public policy priorities of the party for the next 4 years.  Because this is a national, party-wide decision, it is also illustrative to look at the composition of the delegates themselves.  According to a study recently released by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, at this year’s Republican convention, there were 47 African American delegates out of 2,286, comprising 2.1% of the total, compared with 1,452 (26.2%) black delegates at this year’s Democratic Convention (1,452 out of 5,527) .  The Republicans’ convention committees had few black members and no leaders, whereas there are black co-chairs of all the Democrats’ convention committees, Credentials, Platform and Rules.  The good news is that the percentage of African American delegates to both conventions grew from 2008 to 2012:  2.1% of the delegates at the Republican convention were African American in 2012, compared to 1.6% in 2008(39 out of 2,380); the Democrats went from 24.3% in 2008 ( 1,079 out of 4440) to 26.3% in 2012.  

What is printed on the following pages are passages, reprinted verbatim, from the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms (with the specific pages noted in the footnotes).  The issues that are included here reflect policy priorities of the NAACP as established either by the National Board of Directors and through the NAACP national convention resolutions process.  To review the party platforms in their entirety, members of the public are encouraged to go to each party’s website – http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform and http://whitehouse12.com/republican-party-platform/  Of course, the NAACP Washington Bureau is also always happy to answer any questions or take any comments you may have at (202) 463-2940 or washingtonbureau@naacpnet.org.