Too little attention, and press coverage, is given every time our two major political parties adopt their platforms. That is unfortunate because nothing better defines Republican and Democratic core beliefs.

On April 22, in Bangor, the strongest believers and most active members of Maine’s Republican Party met in convention, and delivered their platform. I invite you to review selected highlights from that document while comparing Maine Republicans’ views with yours. I plan to do a similar column after Democrats hold their state convention this weekend in Portland.

In the 2016 Republican Party platform preamble a philosophy is stated: “Today our Constitutional Republic is threatened by a failure to adhere to the principles put forth in our founding documents. It is only by restoring the principles of Liberty that we can prevent the moral and economic collapse currently unfolding.”

In platform point No. 1 it is further stated, “The constitutions, both the U.S. and state of Maine, are the framework to which all legislation must adhere. Progressive principles are incompatible with the principles of the Republican Party of the State of Maine.”

These quotes explain why constitutional conservative presidential candidate Ted Cruz garnered almost all national delegates during the state convention. Pouring through the remainder of the document I selected highlights that I believe define much of the differences between Maine Republicans and Democrats.

From the Maine Republican Platform:


• Defend the individual’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Maine and U.S. Constitution.

• The expression of religious faith must not be excluded from the public forum and U.S. military.

• Support the assimilation of legal immigrants into Maine society.

• Capitalism and the free market system encourages individual initiative and a prosperous economy. Sub-context continues: Promote economic prosperity through sound investment opportunity and a positive business climate.

• Eliminate Maine’s income tax.

• Enact right-to-work laws to better stimulate economic growth.


• Provide health care through free market solutions. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

• To maintain the safety net for Maine’s most vulnerable, we support comprehensive welfare reform.

• Support the restoration of local control in education as specified in the Maine Constitution.

Promote family values:

• Marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman.

• Prohibit the use of state funds for abortions or activities that run counter to the sanctity of human life.


• Work to reduce spending at all levels of government, federal, state, county and local, to ensure fiscal stability and minimal debt for future generations.

• We encourage all Republican candidates to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes and fees.

• Abbreviated: Reduce regulations; mandatory minimum sentences to protect the innocent and victims of crime; photo identification to vote in Maine.

• Secure the U.S. borders in accordance with federal law.

• Repeal taxpayer funding for political campaigns.

From the platform close: “For too many years, Americans have trusted that our elected officials were working to protect and defend our interests. Without persistent vigilance by the people, this trust is often misplaced. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to stay informed and involved in the American experiment of self governance.”


Maine Republicans are expected to support most of these principles, not necessarily all, as they run for House and Senate seats in this 2016 presidential election year.

The GOP is led by an unpopular governor, Paul LePage, in an off-year election, and Donald Trump, one of the most controversial presidential candidates in history, will be the Republican nominee.

With Trump at the top of the ticket and LePage a millstone around many Republican candidates’ necks, 2016 could be a disastrous year for Maine Republicans. The party could lose the Senate, leaving an impotent conservative governor with a dominant Democratic Legislature.

The growing possibility of a progressive/liberal takeover of our state and national political landscape looms on the horizon. Elections have consequences, and issues matter. Personalities should not be substituted for character.

As an independent, I find a lot to like in the Republican platform, especially the economic growth, pro-business, family values tone. I like compassionate conservative Republican candidates, but not extremists. There are investments worth making and there is a limited role for which government is suited.

It is unfortunate for the Grand Old Party that Gov. LePage and presidential candidate Trump are irrational, divisive leaders.

But no reasonable Republican legislator deserves to lose in November just because of LePage and Trump. There are still many Republicans to be proud of, like Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Washington, and Sen. Roger Katz in Augusta.

Don Roberts, a former city councilor and former vice chairman of the Charter Commission in Augusta, is a trustee of the Greater Augusta Utility District.

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