The 2012 Democratic National Convention kicks off today in Charlotte, with three days of policy and political events serving as a precursor to the final stretch of campaigning for President Obama and Governor Romney. While much of we see from the podium is scripted or pre-produced, conventions serve as an opportunity for parties to formally unveil their platforms. Last week, we highlighted those points in the GOP platform that overlapped with our own agenda to grow the economy. Today, the Democratic convention delegates will formalize forth their platform, and we are encouraged to see them, much like the GOP, identify steps that would spur innovation, help to create jobs, and grow the economy.
In the Democratic platform, the party stressed the need to:
- Out-educate the rest of the world and close the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) gap;
- Seek to encourage foreign-born, advanced-degree STEM graduates of U.S. universities to stay in the U.S. in order to create new businesses and jobs;
- Make the research and development tax credit permanent and lower the corporate tax rate;
- Open foreign markets for American manufacturers through initiatives like permanent, normal trade relations with Russia and free trade agreements;
- Promote clean energy technology;
- Protect the nation’s critical infrastructure through a comprehensive cybersecurity plan; and
- Preserve the multistakeholder model of Internet governance.
Often, conventions are opportunities for the parties to differentiate themselves from one another, and that may hold true on some issues. Fortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case in the innovation arena. Both party platforms have underscored the need to find avenues that will spur innovation. While the parties may disagree about a point here or there, their platforms contain a number of common areas of fundamental agreement that can serve as the basis for consensus for future legislation, including on tax reform, trade policy, STEM education, and skilled immigration. Make no mistake, these are significant points, and at a minimum, should serve as conversation starters between the two parties.
As the convention season moves ahead and we shift to the debates, we’re anxious to hear more from President Obama and Governor Romney on the innovation front. Neither candidate might want to admit it, but there is a great deal of agreement on a few key points that matter to our industry and our economy. Let’s stop drawing lines in the sand and realize that the numerous ideas out there to create jobs might not be all that different.
For more on the TechElect priorities and the Democratic platform, click here.