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The 'unusual' thing about the Democratic Party platform

Posted July 31

The 2016 Democratic Party platform seeks to expand abortion rights, staunchly defends Israel and takes a firm stance against Republican candidate Donald Trump, mentioning his name 32 times throughout the 51-page document.

Perhaps most notably, the platform includes a proposal to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a provision dating back to 1976 that prevents federal money from being used to pay for the majority of abortion procedures; the law leaves it up to states to decide whether to pay.

Under the Hyde Amendment, though, exceptions are made for the mother's life, incest and rape.

As was previously reported, prior to the release of the finalized platform, pro-life Democrats spoke out against repealing the amendment, saying that it would alienate them from the party. That did little, though, to temper the language in the text.

"We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people," the platform reads. "We will continue to oppose — and seek to overturn — federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman's access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment."

The document drives home the party's committment to "protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice," and pledges to support judges who uphold abortion rights.

On the Israel front, the Democratic platform defends the Jewish state, proclaiming that a "strong and secure Israel" is essential to the U.S., heralding the idea that both countries share common interests and values.

The party pledges to "always support Israel's right to defend itself," specifically extending this support to the country's military operations.

Additionally, Democrats "oppose any effort to delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement," with the party saying that it will work toward a two-state solution in the Middle East to help remedy the chaos and contention between Israel and Palestine.

This latter point is in contrast to the 2016 Republican Party Platform, which dropped its call for a two-state solution.

Another notable difference on Middle Eastern policy is that the Republicans reject the Iran nuclear agreement, while the Democrats embrace it, saying that it cuts that chances that the Middle Eastern country will secure a bomb.

One final "unusual" element in the Democratic platform that has captured some attention this week is the document's prominent mentions of Trump.

FiveThirtyEight contributor Julia Azari noted that the Republican candidate's name appears 32 times in the platform — something that she said is "unusual." The name "Clinton" only appears in the Republican platform five times, with most of the mentions referring to former President Bill Clinton.

"When a party has a president in the White House, the party platform has tended not to focus on the opposing party’s candidate," Azari wrote. "That’s changed a bit recently, and the 2016 Democratic platform solidifies that trend."

The Democratic platform includes lines like, "Donald Trump may talk tough, but he has consistently outsourced his own products" and "Democrats will not stand for the divisive and derogatory language of Donald Trump," among others.

While the Democratic platform doubled down on abortion rights, the Republicans, too, are gaining attention for their opposing stance on the matter, with some calling the GOP document "the most pro-life platform ever."

A new survey commissioned by the Knights of Columbus and conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion found that while 51 percent of Americans called themselves "pro-choice," the majority of respondents supported abortion restrictions.

In fact, 78 percent of respondents said they would limit abortion to the first three months of pregnancy. Even the majority of Americans who called themselves pro-choice — 62 percent — agreed with this proposal. Read more about the results here.

Email: bhallowell@deseretnews.com Twitter: billyhallowell Facebook: facebook.com/billyhallowell

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