TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM
Texas Democrats believe government exists to achieve together what we cannot achieve as individuals; and government must serve all people. A representative democracy is only truly representative if every single citizen is guaranteed the inalienable right to vote in fair and open elections.
PREAMBLE, TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM
EQUALITY & FREEDOM
Texas Democrats believe in equal opportunities and freedom for all human beings no matter a person’s race, disability,
religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic or immigration status.
Texas Democrats believe in a fair criminal justice system serving all people; robust public and higher education opportunities
are critical for our future; and our economy must benefit all Texans.
A HEALTHY TEXAS
Texas Democrats believe healthcare is a right; women’s rights are human rights; we owe future generations a clean and healthy planet; and a strong social safety net creates opportunity for all Americans.
Principles of the Texas Democratic Party
Texas Democrats believe democratic government exists to achieve as a community, state, and nation what we cannot achieve as individuals; and that it must serve all its citizens.
We believe every Texan has inalienable rights that even a majority may not take away:
the right to vote;
the right to fair and open participation and representation in the democratic process;
the right to health care; and
the right to privacy.
We believe in freedom:
from government interference in our private lives and personal decisions;
from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression or any other improper grounds;
to exercise civil and human rights; and
of religion and individual conscience.
We believe in responsibility:
that religion and individual conscience can never serve to excuse hatred and discrimination;
that people are responsible for their actions;
that we, who have benefited so greatly from our state and country, have a responsibility to support and give back to all our communities and public institutions; and
that corporations are not people and should not be used to shield individuals from the responsibilities of their actions.
We believe in equal rights:
guaranteed in Section 3 of the Texas Bill of Rights;
equality under the law guaranteed in Section 3a of the Texas Bill of Rights; and
that no state may deny any person equal protection of the laws or due process under the law as guaranteed in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
We believe in equal opportunity:
to receive a quality public education, from childhood through college;
to find a good job with dignity;
to buy or rent a good home in a safe community;
to breathe clean air and drink clean water; and
to have our voices heard and not be drowned out by the power of unlimited money to influence or buy elections and legislation.
We believe a growing economy should benefit all Texans:
that the people who work in a business are as important as those who invest in it;
that every worker should be paid a living wage of at least $15-an-hour;
that good business offers a fair deal for customers;
that regulation of unfair practices and rates is necessary;
that the burden of taxes should be fairly distributed;
that government policy should not favor corporations that seek offshore tax shelters, exploit workers, or pollute our environment; and all people, including those with disabilities.
We believe that our lives, homes, communities and country are made secure:
by appropriately staffed, trained and equipped military, law enforcement and emergency services;
by retirement and pension security;
by responsible gun ownership;
by encouraging job security where it is possible and providing appropriate assistance and re- training when it is not;
by the preservation of our precious natural resources and quality of life;
by ensuring that families have easy access to good food with clear understanding of the food quality and source, so they may make informed decisions on their family’s health and well-being;
by compassionate policy that offers a safety net for those most vulnerable and in need; and
by family values that are promoted through policies that value all our families.
We believe in America:
made stronger by the men and women who put their lives on the line when it is necessary to engage our military to secure our nation; and
made more secure by competent diplomatic leadership that uses the moral, ethical, and economic assets of a powerful, free nation to avoid unnecessary military conflict.
We believe in Texas:
made stronger by the individual strengths of our diverse population;
blessed with opportunities provided by agriculture, “old” and “new” energy sources, renowned medical and research institutions and high tech industries;
and we believe in the need for an honest, ethical state government that serves the public interest, not the special financial interests of those who “pay to play.”
Texas Democrats believe that a healthy democracy is based on free, fair, and transparent elections; that our constitutional right to vote should be protected at all costs by elected officials who exhibit ethical public service.
Voting Rights & Fair Elections
We must adopt policies to eliminate the barriers to voting and encourage full participation in elections. As Texas Democrats, we support:
repeal of the highly restrictive Texas photo Voter ID law;
automatic voter registration upon age 17 years and 9 months for all persons who meet Texas voter registration requirements;
same day voter registration;
online voter registration;
voter outreach and education efforts, especially for youth and underserved communities;
existing voter protection policies under the federal Voting Rights Act and the Texas Voting Rights Act, and restoration of the federal preclearance policies in the Voting Rights Act that were overturned by the S. Supreme Court;
protect extended early voting periods;
instituting no excuses vote by mail for all elections, federal state and local;
public ownership of all election processes, software and equipment;
the creation of a nonpartisan redistricting commission to end gerrymandering in our redistricting process;
robust auditing procedures that include absentee ballots; and
a constitutional amendment to eliminate the electoral college and award the presidency to the winner of the nationwide popular vote, and failing that, urge all states to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, so that candidates must campaign everywhere and not just in swing states.
Campaign Finance Reform
Texas Democrats believe money should not determine who wins and loses elections. Campaign spending limits and keeping corporate money out of politics is essential to a healthy, responsive democratic system that can be trusted by voters. We support:
overturning, by Constitutional Amendment if necessary, the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission that allows corporations to give unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns, and to clarify that corporations are not persons and constitutional rights are for natural persons only, and to end the doctrine that money is speech;
legislation to move towards public campaign and election financing;
full disclosure of funding sources for political advertisements, including the largest major funders of all political television, radio, print, slate mailer, and online advertising for ballot measures, independent expenditures, and issue advocacy; and
the reinstatement of the federal Public Service and Equal Time requirements, so that companies given monopoly use of public television and radio frequencies cannot limit access to only candidates that can afford the high costs of advertising.
In a healthy democracy, officeholders must adhere to the highest ethical standards and be accountable to taxpayers by avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest. No elected official is above the law. We believe that:
state employees should be free to do their job free of political considerations and oversight with only the public good in mind;
Texas officials should not be exploiting public funds to pay for personal or political activities;
corporations should not be writing legislation as proxy to legislators, as occurs, for example, with the American Legislative Exchange Council;
we should end the double-dipping of retirement for elected officials;
the abuse of personal leave policies and bonuses by state officials should be eliminated; and
too often, political considerations outweigh sound policy, violating ethical standards in contracting and the use of public funds.