Jessica: At the Democratic National Convention, leaders here will be pointing out the differences between their platform, and the Republicans’.
A platform is an outline of where each party stands on the issues.
During their convention, Republicans passed what analysts say is one of the most conservative platforms in decades. It includes support for laws that require photo identification for voting, tougher illegal immigration laws, like those in Arizona, and no amnesty (forgiveness) for immigrants here illegally.
Also in the platform Republicans oppose laws that restrict gun ownership. And they support a complete ban on all abortions.
The two parties are as divided as ever.
This week, Democrats are expected to agree to a platform which includes support for laws like the Dream Act, which give undocumented immigrants who came here as children a way to live here legally, and some regulation on gun ownership.
The Democrats also want an overhaul of how candidates can finance their campaigns, including a requirement that groups reveal their big money donors.
And their platform opposes restrictions on abortions.
Another big difference between the two platforms: same-sex marriage.
Republicans support laws outlining marriage as between a man and a woman only. But Democrats are expected to support same-sex marriage in their platform – the first time a major political party has ever done that.
And it’ll happen here in North Carolina, where voters recently passed a ban on same-sex marriage.
The presidential candidates don’t always agree with the party platforms. For example, both Mitt Romney and President Obama have more moderate views on abortion. Romney would allow abortion in certain cases, like rape, or to protect the health of the mother. And President Obama has said states should be able to outlaw abortions in the last months of pregnancy. But the platform does set the tone for the party as a whole.
And just last week a poll from the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans say they’re more interested in the party platforms than in what the two presidential candidates say while accepting their nominations.