Republicans have long been guilty of governing far differently than how they campaigned, but in the era of Trump, their entire ideology is in shambles.
By David Todd McCarty | Friday, October 18, 2019
We wanted to look at what the official platform of the Republican Party is, and how it compares to the reality of how Donald Trump governs. There is no current platform that we could find, and it’s understandable that having one would be useless when it comes to the current administration, so we looked at the official party platform from 2016, which is still proudly displayed on the GOP website. The following is the official, unedited 2016 Republican Party Platform. You can download the PDF here. It’s a crazy read given where we are today, so let’s go through it bit by bit.
With this platform, we the Republican Party reaffirm the principles that unite us in a common purpose:
- We believe in American exceptionalism. We believe the United States of America is unlike any other nation on earth.
This isn’t surprising but it is telling that the Republicans lead with this idea of exceptionalism because like Trump, the idea of greatness isn’t reliant on any supporting facts in their worldview. The idea that America is “as exemplar of liberty for the world to see” is equally as delusional as Trump and the GOP have gone out of their way to subvert the concept of liberty in many factors of public life in America.
- We affirm — as did the Declaration of Independence: that all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It’s hard to swallow that Republicans believe that all are created equal and deserve life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. When they say this, they are imagining white, christians being able to maintain all their own fears, hate and prejudices. They do not believe that refugees are endowed with inalienable rights at all. In fact they don’t believe they have any rights, because they are not citizens, which is a willfully ignorant reading of the Declaration.
- We believe in the Constitution as our founding document. We believe the Constitution was written not as a flexible document, but as our enduring covenant.
It’s ironic that a political party that believes so strongly in certain amendments, doesn’t believe that the Constitution was written as a flexible document. The founders went to great care and detail to make it just that. Most constitutional scholars would point to that as its greatest strength.
- We believe our constitutional system — limited government, separation of powers, federalism, and the rights of the people — must be preserved uncompromised for future generations.
The idea that Republicans hold any claim to constitutional purity is laughable given that they have constantly violated both the letter and the spirit of the law, and have stood silently by while the President has defiled his office with corruption, abuse of power, and obstruction of Congress. They are trying to rewrite history in front of our very eyes, even while we’re watching them do it on live television.
- We believe political freedom and economic freedom are indivisible. When political freedom and economic freedom are separated — both are in peril; when united, they are invincible.
Income inequality has increased dramatically during this administration despite a robust economy because of tax breaks for the rich and stagnant wages. Economic freedom isn’t within reach when most people can’t even manage economic security. The freedom they’re talking about is simply unfettered greed and corporate lust.
- We believe that people are the ultimate resource — and that the people, not the government, are the best stewards of our country’s God-given natural resources.
Meaning I guess that wealthy ranchers should be able to make a profit by using public lands for free and that mining and logging companies should be able to profit from public lands without paying for it, and irregardless of environmental concerns for public safety.
- As Americans and as Republicans we wish for peace — so we insist on strength. We will make America safe. We seek friendship with all peoples and all nations, but we recognize and are prepared to deal with evil in the world.
America’s foreign policy has never been so random, or our chance of a disastrous war been so high in modern times. Trump operates on the world stage like an angry toddler with nuclear weapon.
- Based on these principles, this platform is an invitation and a roadmap. It invites every American to join us and shows the path to a stronger, safer, and more prosperous America. This platform is optimistic because the American people are optimistic. This platform lays out — in clear language — the path to making America great and united again. For the past 8 years America has been led in the wrong direction.
Well, it might invite every American to join them, but it is not concerned with anyone who isn’t a Republican. It’s not only partisan, it’s insulting to at least half the country and assumes that America was not great under the one Black President we’ve ever had.
- Our economy has become unnecessarily weak with stagnant wages. People living paycheck to paycheck are struggling, sacrificing, and suffering. Americans have earned and deserve a strong and healthy economy.
Our economy was nearly destroyed by two costly wars and near economic catastrophe due to poor policy decisions by the Bush administration and was rebuit by the Obama administration.
- Our standing in world affairs has declined significantly — our enemies no longer fear us and our friends no long trust us. People want and expect an America that is the most powerful and respected country on the face of the earth.
At maybe no point in our country’s history has our standing been so low, our reputation so tarnished, our allies less secure and our enemies more delighted. We might have a powerful military still but we have lost the respect of the world.
- The men and women of our military remain the world’s best. The have been shortchanged in numbers, equipment, and benefits by a Commander in Chief who treats the Armed Forces and our veterans as a necessary inconvenience.
It’s funny that now that they’re in power, the Commander in Chief treats the Armed Forces as his own private army and asks them to do his bidding, not for national security reasons, but for personal political gain.
- The President and the Democratic party have dismantled Americans’ system of healthcare. They have replaced it with a costly and complicated scheme that limits choices and takes away our freedom.
The Republicans had eight years of bitching about Obamacare to come up with their long-promised replacement that was going to be better and cheaper. Nearly three years into the Trump presidency and they still don’t have a clue how to fix it. All they’ve done is try to hurt it.
- The President and the Democratic party have abandoned their promise of being accountable to the American people.
These just keep getting better. No one has been less accountable than President Trump and his allies in Congress. They aren’t even following their oaths of office.
- They have nearly doubled the size of the national debt.
The rise in the national debt was the cause of the Bush presidency. By the time Obama left office, he had cut the deficit in half. Since Trump took office he has added over $2 trillion to the national debt. Based on the CBO’s projections, Trump will have accumulated $3.73 trillion in new debt by the end of the 2020 fiscal year
- They refuse to control our borders but try to control our schools, farms, businesses, and even our religious institutions. They have directly attacked the production of American energy and the industry-related jobs that have sustained families and communities.
Trump single-handedly created a humanitarian crises simply to stroke his own ego about an inconsequential campaign pledge. The Trump administration has tried to prop up coal and oil, while placing damaging tariffs on solar and wind power.
- The President has been regulating to death a free market economy that he does not like and does not understand. He defies the laws of the United States by refusing to enforce those with which he does not agree. And he appoints judges who legislate from the bench rather than apply the law.
Again, could this be any more ironic? Was this written with Trump in mind?
- We, as Republicans and Americans, cannot allow this to continue. That is why the many sections of this platform affirm our trust in the people, our faith in their judgment, and our determination to help them take back their country.
Who were they taking their country back from? Black people? Gay people? Muslims? Immigrants?
- This means removing the power from unelected, unaccountable government.
Who was this exactly? Which government did they believe was unelected? Is this to infer that Obama was an illegitimate President?
- This means relieving the burden and expense of punishing government regulations. And this means returning to the people and the states the control that belongs to them. It is the control and the power to make their own decisions about what’s best for themselves and their families and communities.
Code for letting corporations rape and pillage the land, while giving white evangelicals the cover to use their fear to fight for religious exceptionalism.
- This platform is many things: A handbook for returning decision-making to the people. A guide to the constitutional rights of every American. And a manual for the kind of sustained growth that will bring opportunity to all those on the sidelines of our society.
They didn’t follow hardly any of the manual.
- Every time we sing, “God Bless America,” we are asking for help. We ask for divine help that our country can fulfill its promise. We earn that help by recommitting ourselves to the ideas and ideals that are the true greatness of America.
I don’t see a lot of asking for divine help. In fact, I’ve never seen a more secular Republican Party in my life. But here they’re asking for God to bless their actions because they are the party of the Christian God, and of making America’s white men, great again.
The Republican Party is not the party of small government and fiscal responsibility. That was a hoax all along. Just a nice talking point that harkens back to how they criticized FDR and his New Deal. Nor are they the party of strong foreign policy. They have never represented the working class, and all their policies favor the rich.
But it’s good to look at what they say they’re for, and then remember how they act in reality.