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Knowing the platforms presidential candidates are running on and how they are put together can be important in deciding who to vote for.

Kevin Banda, assistant professor of the Texas Tech Department of Political Science, said platforms are put together by the people who are a part of the party’s organization and the people who attend the political party’s convention. It is important to know that most of the people who attend the conventions are not high political elites.  

Platforms are designed to reflect the preferences of the various groups that make up parties, Banda said. In other words, they are coalitions at any given time, which is why they are done every election cycle.  

“In theory, the preferences of those groups change between cycles,” Banda said. 

The Democratic platform endorses universal healthcare for little to no cost, attempts to combat climate change, wants to raise the minimum wage to $15, wants more federal gun control and wants to reform the criminal justice system, according to NPR.

The platform document includes providing borrowers relief from student debt, making higher education affordable and accessible, protecting and enforcing voting rights and leveling the economic playing field, according to NPR.

The Republican Party has rolled over their platform from 2016, which includes creating new jobs and increasing the number of small businesses, ending the U.S. reliance on China and providing education to every child and more, according to Ballotpedia.

Republicans have added eradicating COVID-19 to their platform, according to Ballotpedia. This includes creating a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020, returning to normal by 2021 and refilling stockpiles and preparing for future pandemics. Additionally, they have added defending the police, including fully funding and supporting the police force.

The Libertarian Party consists of advocating for freedom of expression and the opposition of government censorship, advocating for privacy and government transparency and leaving government out of the argument of abortion to name a few, according to the Libertarian Party website.

Additionally, the Libertarian platform includes repeal of the income tax and the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service, support of the free market system and a free market healthcare system, according to the Libertarian Party website. Securing liberty is the last section of the platform, and includes things such as, supporting the maintenance of a sufficient military, the removal of government impediments in free trade and a foreign policy that seeks an America at peace with the World. 

What makes this cycle different is that the Republican Party did not create a new platform, Banda said, rather they rolled over the 2016 election platform.  

Seth McKee, former associate professor in the Tech Department of Political Science, said President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are pushing the law and order message, which comes from all the demonstrations and rioting occurring throughout the U.S. He said former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic party are in a difficult position, as they want to uphold the law but also recognize that most demonstrators are peaceful. 

Additionally, McKee said the pandemic will be a make or break issue for this election, as well as healthcare.  

“The parties are so far apart on some things,” McKee said. 

In addition, Banda said the general proposals for the Democratic Party are to move more policy to the left, a very unexpected aspect of the platform. 

“It reflects the will of the people who are in the coalition,” Banda said. 

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