Party platform

A political party platform or platform is a formal set of principal goals which are supported by a political party or individual candidate, in order to appeal to the general public, for the ultimate purpose of garnering the general public's support and votes about complicated topics or issues. "Plank" is the term often given to the components of the political platform – the opinions and viewpoints about individual topics, as held by a party, person, or organization. The word "plank" depicts a component of an overall political platform, as a metaphorical reference to a basic stage made out of boards or planks of wood. The metaphor can return to its literal origin when public speaking or debates are actually held upon a physical platform.

A party platform is sometimes referred to as a manifesto[1] or a political platform. Research on American politics suggests that platform positions offer an important clue to the policies that U.S. parties will enact. Over the past 30 years, Democratic and Republican members of the United States Congress voted in line with their respective party platforms 74% and 89% of the time, respectively.[2]


The first known use of the word platform was in 1535. The word platform comes from Middle French plate-forme, literally meaning "flat form".[3] The political meaning of the word to reflect "statement of party politics" is from 1803, probably originally an image of a literal platform on which politicians gather, stand, and make their appeals.[4]

Famous political platforms

Example of a printed platform in pamphlet form: the 1912 U.S. Progressive Party platform

See also


  1. "Manifesto". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  2. Stein, Jeff (2016-07-12). "We asked 8 political scientists if party platforms matter. Here's what we learned.". Vox. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  3. "Platform". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  4. "Platform". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-11-07.

External links

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