July 2018 – Remember in November
The primary election is over and now is the time to focus on the November election so you can decide which candidates or party is most likely to meet your needs. As I have said many times in this column, the majority of us, left, right and center, value the same things: religious freedom, cost effective healthcare, a representative government and individual human rights to name only four essential values. We never argue about these common goals, only about how to achieve them. Both the Maine Republican and Democratic Party platforms support these core values but differ on how to achieve them.
What matters to most of us is having a Governor and a Legislature that represents the collective will of the people. Remember in November which candidates have represented the will of the people in the past and which current party platform looks like it has a plan to achieve those goals in a way that is important to you.
The Maine Republican Party Platform supports religious freedom by: allowing everyone to impose their religious beliefs on abortion, same-sex marriage and who they choose to serve as customers onto everyone else. The platform wants to develop a cost effective healthcare system by: repealing the increasingly popular Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion; and advocating for a profit driven, employer based private healthcare system that denies coverage for preexisting conditions. The Maine Republican Party Platform also promotes a representative government by: repealing the majority based Ranked Choice Voting law in favor of a voting system that can elect candidates with only a small plurality of the votes; repealing Clean Elections that helps keep unlimited and anonymous dark money out of politics allowed by Citizens United; and requiring a separate state issued photo ID to vote. As far as human rights is concerned the Maine Republican Party Platform plans to insure that everyone’s human rights are respected by: defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, in direct opposition to the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage; forcing every pregnant woman, with few exceptions, to give birth; and forcing every terminally ill person to endure the indignities of pain and suffering until they die of “natural causes”.
The Maine Democratic Party Platform supports religious freedom by: defending everyone’s freedom of speech regardless of political or religious beliefs; defending everyone’s right to their freedom from religion; and defending the separation of church and state clause in the First Amendment. The platform supports a cost effective healthcare system by: defending the Medicaid expansion law; advocating for a universal healthcare plan that includes a woman’s right to make her own informed reproductive healthcare choices; and the right of everyone to determine their own end of life care. The Maine Democratic Party Platform also provides for a truly representative government by: defending the Ranked Choice Voting law that requires candidates to have support from more than 50% of the voters; defending the people’s Maine Constitutional right to use citizen initiatives and referendums to petition their government; supporting nonpartisan redistricting; and opposing Citizens United that allows unlimited and anonymous dark money in politics. The platform also has a plan to ensure everyone is guaranteed their human rights by: supporting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that gives constitutional equality to women and men; supporting equal pay for equal work; defending current laws that protect people of all orientations and gender identities; and protecting employees against unfair and arbitrary dismissal.
There are of course many other common values supported by both party platforms that could not be included here. Because no one knows right now how any candidate will interpret their party’s platform, let alone how they plan to implement those goals, it is up to you to get in touch with your core values and vote for the candidate and / or party that you feel meets your needs.
This article is not about telling you which candidate or what party to vote for, only you can decide that. It is about making clear, at least on four values common to most people, how each major Maine political party platform plans to meet the goals that you consider important. I urge you to vote your values in November.
Tom Waddell is President of the Maine Chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation and can be reached at President@ffrfmaine.org