What are political parties’ platforms – and do they matter?

Political parties’ platforms – their statements of where they stand on issues – get little respect. President Donald Trump mused recently that he might shrink his party’s platform from 66 pages in 2016 to a single page in 2020. Even as far back as 1996, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole claimed he had never read his party’s platform. Nor do Democratic Party platforms – such as the draft released July 22 – usually make the best-seller list.