The death penalty is not mentioned in the President Trump’s vague bullet points that replace the usual platform for the Republican Party in an election year. However, the restoration of federal executions this year confirms the party’s support for capital punishment.
The lethal injections that have so far killed seven federal inmates use secretly acquired drugs, which are not approved for use in executions. Victims’ families have been sidelined, leading sometimes to their retraumatization; defense teams have been kept insufficiently informed; a Native American prohibition against the death penalty was ignored; and the preparation for a federal execution has led to a prison outbreak of Covid-19.
On the other hand, the Democratic Party is clear in its abolitionist stance: “Democrats continue to support abolishing the death penalty.” This position was originally adopted in 2016:
“We will abolish the death penalty, which has proven to be a cruel and unusual form of punishment. It has no place in the United States of America. The application of the death penalty is arbitrary and unjust. The cost to taxpayers far exceeds those of life imprisonment. It does not deter crime. And, exonerations show a dangerous lack of reliability for what is an irreversible punishment.”
If you oppose the death penalty, as Willie Manning has every reason to, it is clear which way you should vote.*
*The Libertarian Party and Green Party also oppose the death penalty; the Republican Party and Constitution Party support it.