Election 2020

Conventions Reveal Stark

Difference Between 

Candidates, Parties

Voters Asked To Choose Between Competition Visions

By James Grandone 

   There is a difference between political parties and if you think there is not, you have not been paying attention.

Jim Grandone

    We once had a two-party system in the U.S.A. I know because I studied it at the University of Illinois Springfield where I graduated with a B.A. in political science. Grand theories were expounded about how people chose one party or the other. It was, however, fairly predictable how the result of one or the other party would govern, but both were moderately liberal or conservative. Until Reagan, that is. Reagan said government is the problem and from then on, one party ran against government and its regulations on business and perceived assaults on personal freedom.

   In August, we had two political party conventions, or rather one political party convention and a four-day Trump rally. The Democrats adopted a party platform, while the Republicans adopted an oath of loyalty to Trump. A party platform is designed to tell voters how a party plans to govern for the next four years.

   The Democrats adopted a 92-page comprehensive document that addresses healthcare, climate change, racial injustice and falls short of endorsing the Green New Deal and Medicare for all.

   The Republicans adopted a one-page resolution. The Trump campaign announced a 50-bullet-point document titled “Fighting for You.” As part of the pledges in the document, the campaign included holding China accountable for allowing the novel coronavirus to spread around the world, a manned mission to Mars and “Getting Allies to Pay their Fair Share.”

   The contrast is stark. Democrats are looking to a future of ideas that will improve individual lives while Republicans are recycling their 2016 platform.

   But the most important change is that the Republican Party is now the Trump Party. It stands for whatever the president says it does. This is not a positive development for the republic or the Republican Party. It is the stuff of “Cult of Personality,” not representative democracy.

Trump has shown himself to be light on intellectual discourse and heavy on impulse. It is an authoritarian style of governance that he has exhibited and the GOP has adopted whole.

   In contrast, the Democratic Party has taken on the difficult issues that affect working men and women. Issues like the minimum wage increase, healthcare access and the environment. Broad initiatives that represent real ideas. As President Kennedy said 60 years ago, Democrats are choosing to do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard …”

   We see in the Democratic Platform a road map for the next four years in terms of domestic policy and international relations. It is a contract between a party and a people, rather than a resolution to support the policies of one man, whatever he chooses them to be at the moment.

   America has suffered in its reputation internationally because we are not perceived as dependable by our allies and our adversaries. This presidency has alienated our allies around the world and our global leadership has been lost because of it. Domestically, we have suffered not only because COVID-19 has ravaged our people but because it could have turned out differently with better leadership. The same is true with racial injustice and the immigrant situation on the southern border.

   So, it is clear that one party wants to forge ahead into the future with a plan that is transparent and clearly understandable, while another party is comfortable with government by impulse with no clear idea of what it stands for.

   This year, we are being asked to decide between those conflicting visions. Choose wisely.

Jim Grandone is a long-time resident of Edwardsville, Ill. He was the architect of the 'East County...If You Only Knew' marketing campaign promoting the Metro East to businesses in St. Louis in the 1990s. Grandone holds a BA in political science from the University of Illinois at Springfield and was a Coro Fellow and serves on a variety of boards. He lives in Leclaire with his wife, Mary.

Reprinted with permission. This article originally ran in the Edwardsville Intelligencer
Posted on RP News, Sept 15, 2020