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Lightfoot: Comparing the political parties

Jim Ross Lightfoot

Jim Ross Lightfoot

It’s no secret we are in a political firestorm.

Both of the presidential candidates have good personal points as well as a few that make them a bit questionable to serve as the leader of our great Republic.

However, we are not voting for a man, President Donald Trump for the Republicans and former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democrats. We are voting for the political platform that will govern our Republic in the future.

Got that? We are not voting for a man, but for the political agenda that will guide our country for at least four years until the next presidential election.

In an effort to be fair and balanced, as I was trained in journalism many years ago, I have selected the following comparison between the two major political parties as it seems the fairest I have seen. It is borrowed from the website, which compares everything from soup to nuts and always has seemed to be without bias.

Economic ideas

Democrat: Minimum wages and progressive taxation, i.e., higher tax rates for higher income brackets. Born out of anti-federalist ideals but evolved over time to favor more government regulation.

Republican: Believe taxes shouldn’t be increased for anyone (including the wealthy) and that wages should be set by the free market.

Social and human ideas

Democrat: Based on community and social responsibility.

Republican: Based on individual rights and justice.


Democrat: Decreased spending.

Republican: Increased spending.

Gay marriage

Democrat: Support (some Democrats disagree).

Republican: Oppose (some Republicans disagree).


Democrat: Should remain legal; support Roe v. Wade.

Republican: Should not be legal (with some exceptions); oppose Roe v. Wade.

Death penalty

Democrat: While support for the death penalty is strong among Democrats, opponents of the death penalty are a substantial fraction of the Democratic base.

Republican: A large majority of Republicans support the death penalty.


Democrat: Progressive (high-income earners should be taxed at a higher rate). Generally not opposed to raising taxes to fund government.

Republican: Tend to favor a “flat tax” (same tax rate regardless of income). Generally opposed to raising taxes.

Government regulation

Democrat: Government regulations are needed to protect consumers.

Republican: Government regulations hinder free market capitalism and job growth.

Health care

Democrat: Support universal health care; strong support of government involvement in health care, including Medicare and Medicaid. Generally support the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Republican: Private companies can provide health care services more efficiently than government-run programs. Oppose Obamacare provisions such as requirement for individuals to buy health insurance or pay a fine and required coverage of contraceptives.


Democrat: There is greater overall support in the Democratic Party for a moratorium on deporting — or offering a pathway to citizenship to — certain undocumented immigrants. e.g. those with no criminal record, who have lived in the U.S. for five-plus years.

Republican: Republicans are generally against amnesty for any undocumented immigrants. They also oppose President Barack Obama’s executive order that put a moratorium on deporting certain workers. Republicans also fund stronger enforcement actions at the border.

Now I will insert my opinion. No one, from either party, has a plan for reducing the incredible debt our country is struggling under. What is our future if we become bankrupt?

Trump will fight for conservative values as he has demonstrated in office. Biden will fight for the liberal values and platform he fought for under the Obama administration.

Remember, you are not voting for a man, but for a political platform from which to govern the United States the next four years.

Most important of all, be a good citizen and vote.

— Jim Ross Lightfoot, a resident of White Oak, is a retired member of the U.S. House of Representatives who served Iowa from 1985 to 1997. He is an occasional contributor to the Saturday Forum.

Today's Bible verse

“Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us ...”

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