“We the People” are the beginning words of the U.S. Constitution. They speak to the guiding principles of our country. Similarly, political parties create platforms to express the values that guide them. The new platform adopted by the Idaho Republican Party should concern all Idahoans. It spells out a deeply dangerous and unpopular agenda that is far out of step with the majority of Idahoans.

The Idaho GOP’s stance on reproductive freedom is particularly alarming. Two years ago, we were shocked that Idaho Republicans endorsed a platform to ban abortion care even when the woman faces death. This year, they went even further by seeking to criminalize in-vitro fertilization.

The extremism doesn’t end there. The platform opposes funding for education after high school, targeting LAUNCH scholarships, public universities, and community colleges. Additionally, the platform calls for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which would mean loss of coverage for people with preexisting conditions, young Idahoans who use their parents’ insurance plans, people who rely on tax credits to buy coverage, and others. It calls for costly school voucher schemes when the state isn’t adequately funding our public schools and certainly cannot afford to subsidize a shadow private school system. And it doubles down on absurd ideas like returning to the gold standard, repealing the 17th Amendment to have U.S. senators appointed rather than elected, and privatizing Social Security.

Most startling, the platform opposes any government function not expressly mentioned in the Constitution. This would end subsidies that protect our agricultural sector from ups and downs, Veterans Services, Medicare and Medicaid, libraries, parks, broadband infrastructure in rural areas, and much more.

One may be tempted to ignore this laundry list of dangerous ideas. But with the hardline ideologues running the party, led by the newly reelected chair Dorothy Moon, this isn’t a document that sits on a shelf. Rather, it’s a tool the Idaho GOP uses to intimidate elected officials directly, do an end-run around voters, and even try to prevent certain candidates from running. They have empowered local party bosses to use tribunals and censures when they decide elected Republican lawmakers have strayed from the party platform. In sum, they want elected officials to serve the party, not the voters they are purported to represent.

This weekend, Idaho Democrats from every corner of the state will come together to craft our party’s platform. I anticipate it will stand in stark contrast and speak to a vision of shared prosperity for Idahoans where all families can thrive.

We must reject this out-of-touch and harmful agenda at the ballot box this November. By standing together, we can ensure a future that reflects Idahoans’ broadly shared values and aspirations.


Lauren Necochea
Idaho Democratic Party Chair