How the Republican Party found a platform small enough to stand on.
In the run-up to the RNC, the Republican Party released a one-page resolution in lieu of a platform.
The original plan, prior to this, had been to re-adopt the 2016 platform in total. The 2016 platform had been used by Trump running as an outsider, a “change agent” against the claimed and perceived failures of President Obama, and so of course if they had done this, they would have had a platform full of references to “the president” as a failure and his policies as obstacles to be overcome.
Many media personalities pointed this out, and so the current resolution is full of “WHEREAS the media is a bunch of LIARS who said that the 2016 platform wouldn’t work…”
The conclusion? They’re for whatever Trump’s for and against whatever he’s against. Which they hardly need to announce. For the entire length of his nominated candidacy through his tenure in office so far, Donald Trump has turned every issue into a loyalty test, requiring anyone who wants to remain in good standing with the Republican party machinery to agree with him not just on policy issues but to co-sign any inane and ridiculously untrue statement he makes.
If you’re not willing to agree with him that up is down, freedom is slavery, and 2+2=5, then you’re not a Republican. He applies this test to politicians, to civil servants, to military leaders. His minions on Twitter apply it to the rank-and-file everyday Republican voters.
The Republican Party’s problems preceded Trump and gave rise to him, but he has used his ascension to remake the party over completely in his own image.
Tim Alberta went in-depth on this in the pages of Politico, where he tried and failed to find anyone on the right side of the aisle who could and would articulate an actual principled stance or guiding ethos for Republicanism beyond “owning the libs”:
The first night of the RNC showed this effect in full force. Trumpism is the Republican Party and the Republican Party is Trumpism, and they are both a cult of personality and the court of a vainglorious king where the only acceptable path to power is to suck up to the fountainhead of that power. Power flows from Trump, truth flows from Trump.
Confronted with growing evidence that their ideas don’t appeal to enough of the voting populace for them to ever win a fair election on a national scale or in most states, the Republican Party has fully given up on any notion of being a party of ideas or ideals. It now nakedly and openly seeks power for power’s sake. They openly pursue power to control who votes, the power to control who gets to speak on the airwaves or on social media, all in service of political power.
Donald Trump has signaled so many times and in so many ways that if he gets a second term he will fully unleash the “magical authorities” he believes he’s entitled to, and he will never give them up.
And a Republican Party that is faced with either changing with the times and finding a way to make their principles appealing to more people has decided to instead drop all pretense of those principles and change into a party of despotism and desperate tyranny.
It has never in our lifetimes been more important for a major US party to be defeated roundly and soundly at the ballot box and at every level. “Democracy is on the ballot” maybe trite and perhaps overused, but in this case, it’s trite and true. The republic is on the ballot.
If we cannot save it in November, we may not be able to save it at all.
But the situation is far from hopeless. The Republican Party has fully retreated to the inside of Trump’s colon not because that is a position of strength, but because the party is weak and has been exposed. It knows it is teetering on the precipice of oblivion, and that is why it is willing to endanger the whole nation to keep its stranglehold on power. The nation is not worth preserving in any form to them if it’s not a form they can rule, and they see the window for securing that rule narrowing.
They wouldn’t be trying so hard to dismantle the election apparatus and dissuade people from voting if the results didn’t matter, if they were fully confident of their ability to bluff and bluster their way past a clear loss.
Just voting them out won’t be enough. Simply turning out won’t be enough. Nothing about this situation is either just or simple, and we have a long, hard road ahead of us even if we win.
Like the old Simpsons gag says: “We’ve tried nothing, and we’re all out of ideas.” The Republican Party, having tried nothing, is now willing to try anything… anything except fair play, decency, and making a clear and honest case to the voting public what they can actually do for (rather than to) us.
We have to be ready for anything. We have to be ready to vote. We have to be ready to protest. We have to be ready to fight.
Cry havoc, and unleash the dogs of civic participation.