I chuckled at the whimsical notion propounded by John Fitzgerald’s “Readers’ Views” letter. It curiously and fantastically opined, “A recent submission outlined a Democrat Party platform while stating Republicans have published none. This is an error as the Republican Party platform is widely published: It is called the Bill of Rights.” That, sir, is ridiculous and quite untrue.
The Bill of Rights is an elegant document, whereas the Republican Party platform of 2020 is a vile, venomous “document” of hate. Every four years — since 1840 for the Democrats, 1856 for the Republicans — each of the two major parties has issued a platform setting out its positions on the issues of the day. Before the 2020 Republican Convention began, the RNC issued a one-page resolution saying it will not adopt a platform until 2024. The resolution, adopted in the dead of night by a small committee, includes a single phrase relating to policy: “RESOLVED, That the Republican party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.” As a guide to what, specifically, that agenda might include, the RNC appended a copy of its 2016 platform, which, combined with the president’s agenda, became the de facto 2020 platform.
That position — embodying a party in a person rather than in policies — is unique in U.S. presidential politics but is not unique globally. Among the major powers it shows strong parallels with current practices in Russia and China.
Although the RNC resolution says the party will not adopt another platform “until” the 2024 convention, it doesn’t promise it will adopt one. Whether the Republican Party continues as America’s first platform-free major party remains to be seen. Republicans nationwide bemoaned the regurgitation and reuse of the dated, hateful 2016 platform, itself unpopular at the time. It repeated five times that gay marriage was wrong and that the “official Republican position” is that marriage is only between one man and one woman, despite the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage. It proffered racist and misogynistic solutions to abortion, immigration, voting rights and the economy. It insulted our political allies. It was, quite simply, the old, rich white man’s wish list, not worthy of discussion, not needing update, with views not usually spoken aloud without looking around to see who might be offended. And indeed, not presented for debate or vote or otherwise reviewed at the party convention.
Tempered only by whatever Trump decided to throw against the wall during his rallies, the official Republican platform became whatever Trump wanted, based on old evangelical Christian doctrine. This is why it was never “published.” It never really existed. It bounces around in history now. They can just call it the Trumpian agenda. Look for it to come around again in 2024.
Mike Staley, Carmel