A party’s “platform” is its official statement of beliefs and values. Most members of a political party – including its elected officials – have never read their party’s platform. A widely-held view among campaign professionals and political consultants is that a party’s platform can never help its candidates, but can hurt them if it contains provisions that are considered controversial by swing voters. Your professor’s view is that party platforms are generally written by the most conservative Republicans and the most liberal Democrats – since those are the only party members devoted enough to hang around party conventions long enough to argue and vote on the platform provisions. Do party platforms really mean anything? Is there really any difference? Look at the websites of the two major national political parties and find the 2016 party platform of each: •http://www.gop.com/ (Links to an external site.) •www.democrats.org/ (Links to an external site.) Write a 2-5 page essay. Describe the similarities and differences in the two documents. Most importantly, tell me what you would use from each party’s platform in a campaign AGAINST its candidates if you were working for the other side.
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