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A Platform for Consensus on Tech, Competitiveness & Job Growth

Robert is blogging from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, where he’s attending innovation-focused events and policy discussions throughout the week. 

 The official acts of the first full day of the 2012 Republican National Convention were marked by the formal nomination of Governor Mitt Romney to be the next president of the United States and the formal approval of the Republican Party platform.  So, it’s official – we know who the Republicans are standing by, and what they are standing for.

In reviewing the substance of the platform and discussing its contents with delegates and other convention participants here in Tampa, there is plenty that will likely be echoed in the platform that the Democrats will unveil and approve in Charlotte.  That may seem strange, because a platform is often used to distinguish one party from another to help voters make a choice.

Yet, as I report from this three-day partisan pep rally, it is reassuring to know that there are issues in the platform that should not divide, but unite the country.  It is even more reassuring to know that many areas of potential consensus are those that are important to the tech industry, and those that are essential to American economic restoration and revitalization. 

This spring, we at TechElect outlined our own six-part platform on issues ranging from tax reform to trade promotion, arguing that ours was not a partisan platform, but a consensus platform focused on measures to fuel innovation, competitiveness and domestic job growth.  We’re pleased to see elements of our platform reinforced in the Republican platform.  The Republican platform also included, at the request of several leading technology trade associations, a call for the preservation of the existing multi-stakeholder model on Internet governance.

So, within what is billed as a partisan document, the Republican platform gives new life to bipartisanship, particularly current bipartisan initiatives, including:

  • Bipartisan efforts to enact Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia;
  • Green card reform efforts to encourage more science, tech, engineering and math graduates from US colleges and universities to innovate and start businesses in the U.S.;
  • Bipartisan tax reform that reduces the corporate rate, moves toward a market-based system, and establishes permanent investment incentives, like R&D; and,
  • Initiatives to invest long-term in math and science education, and also basic research in the university system.

(Check out the comparison between the TechElect priorities and the GOP platform.)

We look forward to seeing how these important ideas are reflected in the Democratic Party platform.  After all, a chance for platform consensus improves the chance that we can achieve policy consensus on these issues in Washington.