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How does Trump’s 2nd-term agenda compare with the 2020 Democratic platform?

How does Trump’s 2nd-term agenda compare with the 2020 Democratic platform?

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks to employees and guests Thursday, June 25, 2020, at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wis. | Official White House Photo/Tia Dufour

The Trump campaign released on Sunday its second-term agenda, a set of policy priorities that will stand in place of a traditional Republican platform and offer a distinctly different vision than the 2020 Democratic platform released last week. 

The Republican National Committee unanimously voted to forgo a party platform, according to a resolution released by the committee Sunday night. Instead, the Republican Party will back President Donald Trump’s conservative “America-first” agenda and will go without adopting a new party platform until the 2024 convention. 

The decision comes as the Republican National Committee “significantly scaled back” the size of this year’s convention for safety reasons during the pandemic. 

While the 2020 Democratic Party Platform, released last Tuesday, was over 90 pages long and the Republican 2016 platform was 58 pages long, Trump’s second-term agenda released yesterday consists of policy proposals outlined in 50 short bullet point sentences that represent “core priorities” for a second term. 

The entire agenda document is under 4,000 words and claims to offer a “stark contrast to the gloomy vision of America projected by Joe Biden and Democrats.”

Trump plans to expand on his second-term agenda during his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday night and also in the coming weeks through policy-focused speeches on the campaign trail. 

Trump’s second-term agenda is broken down into 10 sections: “jobs,” “eradicate COVID-19,” “end our reliance on China,” “health care,” “education,” “drain the swamp,” “defend our police,” “end illegal immigration and protect American workers,” “innovate for the future,” and “America first foreign policy.” 

Meanwhile, sections of the Democratic platform call for the building of a “stronger, fairer” economy, “achieving universal, affordable, quality health care,” and “healing the soul of America” by protecting LGBTQ+ rights and rights of other groups. It also seeks to repeal many of the Trump administration’s pro-life policies and narrow the view of religious freedom to eliminate “discrimination.”

Police 

Amid calls from Black Lives Matter activists to defund police departments, Trump is calling for the full funding of and the hiring of more police and law enforcement officers. 

As riots and violence have taken place in some cities nationwide, Trump also wants to bring “violent extremist groups like Antifa to justice,” up the penalties for assaults on police officers and end cashless bail. 

Trump’s agenda also calls for the prosecution of drive-by shootings as “acts of domestic terrorism.”

While there have been calls for the defunding of police by protesters nationwide since the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day as they want to transfer that money to fund organizations that help marginalized communities, the Democrat platform does not call for the defunding of police departments. 

However, the platform stresses that “we need to overhaul the criminal justice system from top to bottom” and called police brutality “a stain on the soul of our nation.” 

As Biden has been criticized for his support of the 1994 “tough-on-crime” bill, Democrats seek to “end the era of mass incarceration and dramatically reduce the number of Americans held in jails and prisons while continuing to reduce crime rates.” 

Biden's campaign website vows to invest $300 million into a program created by the 1994 crime bill that would fund the hiring of additional police officers and training on "how to undertake a community policing approach."

Democrats also support eliminating the use of cash bail and “believe no one should be imprisoned merely for failing to pay fines or fees.”

“This is the moment to root out structural and systemic racism in our criminal justice system and our society, and reimagine public safety for the benefit of our people and the character of our country,” the platform reads. 

The Democrats also seek to “reinvigorate community policing approaches” and “improve accountability and transparency” by ensuring compliance with the use of body cameras. Democrats will also seek to limit the sale and transfer of surplus military weapons to domestic law enforcement agencies, a “policy President Trump reversed immediately upon taking office.”

“We cannot create trust without holding those in power accountable for their actions. Democrats will reinvigorate pattern-or-practice investigations into police misconduct at the Department of Justice, and strengthen them through new subpoena powers and expanded oversight to address systemic misconduct by prosecutors,” the platform states. “Far too often, the law has shielded police officers who stand accused of heinous violations of civil and human rights.”

COVID-19

One of Trump’s second-term goals is to develop a coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2020 and foster “a return to normal in 2021.” 

Trump also wants to “make all critical medicines and supplies for healthcare workers” in the U.S. and “refill stockpiles and prepare for future pandemics.”

The coronavirus was also a major focus of the Democratic platform and convention last week as the party cast blame on “Trump’s abject failure to respond forcefully and capably to the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The party also cast blame on the president for the economic impact the pandemic has had by using the term “Trump’s recession” on several occasions in the platform. 

The platform goes as far as to say that Trump’s “failure to lead” makes him “responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans.” However, the platform doesn’t acknowledge some of the missteps of Democratic officeholders. 

The Democratic platform calls to make COVID-19 testing “widely available, convenient and free for everyone.” Democrats seek to increase funding to states that are conducting contact tracing. 

The platform also supports making an eventual COVID-19 vaccine free to everyone “regardless of their wealth, insurance coverage or immigration status.”

Democrats also want to make grants and loans available to small businesses. Democrats believe that the federal government “should pick up 100 percent of the tab for COBRA insurance” to keep people in their employer-sponsored plans if they have lost their job during the pandemic. 

Immigration

Trump is seeking to build on his staunchly conservative immigration policies in a second term. He famously promised during his 2016 campaign to build a wall on the U.S. southern border. 

With construction in progress, the president and his administration seek to “end sanctuary cities” and “block illegal immigrants from becoming eligible for taxpayer-funded welfare, healthcare, and free college tuition.”

Trump’s document states that the administration would seek to require “new immigrants to be able to support themselves financially.” Earlier this year, the Supreme Court backed a Trump administration rule that makes it harder for immigrants to apply for visas and green cards if they use government assistance such as food stamps, housing benefits or Medicare.

Trump also wants mandatory deportation for “non-citizen gang members” and vows to “dismantle human trafficking networks” that are smuggling people in through the U.S. border. He vows to bar U.S. companies from replacing U.S. citizen employees with lower-cost immigrant workers. 

The Democratic platform criticizes “exclusionary immigration policies” and calls for creating a “21st-century immigration system.” It calls to rescind Trump’s national emergency and stop funding for the “ineffective wall on the southern border.”

Additionally, Democrats will “terminate the Trump Administration’s discriminatory travel and immigration bans” and “support legislation to ensure that no president can enact discriminatory bans ever again.”

The Democrats will also reinstate and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that the Trump administration has tried to end that provides deportation protections for immigrants who came to the country illegally as children. 

Democrats also oppose a Trump administration policy, which was struck down by a court earlier this summer, that would require asylum seekers to first seek asylum in countries they passed along the way before seeking asylum in the U.S.

“We will reverse Trump Administration policies that prevent victims of gang and domestic violence, as well as LGBTQ+ people who are unsafe in their home countries, from being eligible to apply for asylum,” the platform reads. 

Religious freedom 

Trump’s second-term agenda document doesn’t specifically address the topic of “religious freedom” even though the president and administration have touted themselves as champions of religious freedom at home and abroad. 

In the 2016 campaign, Trump promised Christian conservatives that he would protect the religious freedom rights of individuals and organizations to uphold traditional stances on marriage and sexuality that oppose homosexuality. 

Over the last four years, the Trump administration has enacted guidance instructing federal agencies to promote religious freedom as much as reasonably possible under the law. The Trump administration has upheld a broader view of religious freedom rights as highlighted under the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In the Democratic platform, Democrats seek a more narrow view of religious freedom as several cases have been fought in recent years against Christian business owners and organizations accused of discriminating against LGBT individuals as they tried to uphold policies that reflect their religious convictions. 

“Democrats believe that freedom of religion and the right to believe — or not to believe — are fundamental human rights. We will never use the protection of that right as a cover for discrimination,” the platform reads. 

The Trump administration has been supportive of exemptions for religious organizations that partner with governments to provide crucial services that would allow those businesses to operate following their religious convictions. 

Meanwhile, the Obama administration enacted policies making it harder for faith groups to be federal contractors if they enforced employment policies that discriminate against LGBT individuals.  

The Obama administration also enacted policies that mandated organizations to provide birth control in their healthcare plans and required faith-based hospitals, doctors and insurance providers to accommodate patients seeking transgender surgeries. 

“We condemn the Trump Administration’s discriminatory actions against the LGBTQ+ community, including the dangerous and unethical regulations allowing doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies to discriminate against patients based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the platform reads. “Democrats will reverse this rulemaking and restore nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS in health insurance, including coverage of all medically necessary care for gender transition.”

“We will also take action to guarantee that LGBTQ+ people and those living with HIV/AIDS have full access to needed health care and resources, including by requiring that federal health plans provide coverage for HIV/AIDS testing and treatment and HIV prevention medications like PrEP and PEP, gender confirmation surgery, and hormone therapy,” the platform adds. 

Abortion 

While the Trump second-term agenda does not specifically mention the issue of abortion, the Democratic Platform has a section titled “Securing Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice.”

“Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice,” the platform reads. “We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should be able to access high-quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion.”

Trump has been touted by pro-life movement leaders as “the most pro-life president” in U.S. history and became the first president to attend and give a speech at the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., in January. 

His administration has passed several pro-life friendly policies that have restricted the promotion of abortion overseas and domestically. 

Among many things, the Democratic platform calls for the repeal of the Title X rule enacted by the Trump administration that bans Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics that receive Title X family planning funding from referring patients for or providing abortions.

As a result of the rule, the nation’s largest abortion provider announced last August that it would leave the Title X program rather than alter its policies. 

The Democratic Party Platform also seeks the repeal of Trump’s expanded Mexico City Policy, which prohibits federal funding to nonprofit organizations that perform and promote abortions overseas as a form of family planning. 

It also calls for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a decades-old rule that prohibits tax dollars from being used to fund abortions. Presidential nominee Joe Biden reversed his longstanding support for the rule last year. 

The platform also opposes Food and Drug Administration restrictions to medical abortion pills that the party claims are “inconsistent with the most recent medical and scientific evidence and that do not protect public health.”

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