Platitude means an overused remark or statement, mostly of a moral nature, but because of its overuse, has very little meaning left. What are some of the platitudes? Well, we get the "Make America Great Again" comment. What does that even mean, right? Is America not great now? If you ask anyone around the world (which is the only meaningful way to ascertain whether America is great or not), they will say that, yes, after 7 years of the Obama administration, America has once again come out on top. We're now clearly the most powerful nation on earth, and Obama's restraint in not profligately slinging arrows at various nations have repaired America's wanton imperialistic image that was forged during the Bush-Cheney error, uh, I mean era.
What are other platitudes? How about the old stand-by, "Abortion is terrible." Well, yes, no one wants to abort, even the woman who conceived through rape or incest. But in many cases, there are medical and other valid reasons to perform the medical procedure. It's a platitude because it's a moral statement that carries no value because those who promote the cause are all the more likely to break that pledge by actually having abortions.
Another platitude is the gem, "Tax cuts for the wealthy will trickle down to everyone else." It's the trickle-down economic theory of Ronald Reagan which has created the worst economic disaster for the United States over the past 30-plus years. Trickle down doesn't work, and tax cuts doesn't work. Look at all the (red) states that have implemented tax cuts: Kansas, Wisconsin, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and others. Each and every one of them have been a miserable failure, all demonstrating, so ever clearly, that the proposed prescription for economic recovery is most definitely NOT tax cuts for the rich.
Plan is bogeyman of the distrusting folks who wish to put candidates into an no-win bind. When candidates propose ideas, doubtful critics resort to demanding a fully written out plan on how to implement the ideas. That is not possible.
When John F. Kennedy proposed, on May 25, 1961, to send a man to the moon within the decade, he most certainly didn't have a plan in mind. There was no way that Kennedy had the details of creating the Mercury missions, the Gemini missions, and then the Apollo missions. He probably had zero knowledge of rocketry or even basic understanding of the calculus involved in determining the energy needed to send the payload into space. In other words, Kennedy most certainly did not have a plan in mind. He just set a goal and let the smarter people formulate a plan.
Even if the candidate has a plan, chances are, that plan will not be the one that will be used. There are many parties to a major project and everyone will have a say on how to make the project succeed. One sure way to get a project to fail is to not get buy-in from even just one party. That neglected party will do its utmost to scuttle the plan because it wasn't included in a positive way.
Thus, those scuttlebutts who demand candidates to offer up concrete plans are basically just blowing smoke and creating a strawman to knock down. Don't ask for plans.
Positions are really what voters should look for. A candidate's position is what voters should only look at. No, not the winning (or not) smile, or the candidate's family, or whether the candidate has any scruples (we all do). The question should always boil down to positions. All debates and town halls should ask candidates to state their positions, and on as many issues as possible.
Does the candidate favor higher or lower taxes for the top income earners? Does the candidate favor a government-run healthcare system or not? Does the candidate favor increased regulations on Wall Street? Of course, the candidates can provide a more nuanced response than yes or no. In many such broad questions, where the candidate rests with his or her answer can tell a lot about the candidate's values. Perhaps the candidate doesn't want the government to be running hospitals. But the candidate wants the government to provide the payment program. Maybe the candidate doesn't want more regulations on Wall Street, but perhaps just better and more enforcement of the existing regulations.
A candidate's position is where voters get to decide, "Yes, I want to back candidate X because (s)he is for the position that I like." That position could be free abortions to zero abortions, or gun-free areas to everybody be packing.
Find where you stand on various positions. Then find the candidate that best fit your positions. Don't listen to platitudes and don't demand a fully formed plan to implement those positions.