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Robin Smith / Aug. 31, 2020

Suddenly, the GOP's Platform Matters?

The RNC didn't feature a new platform, but Trump has fulfilled previous planks.

Where’s the platform? What does it mean to be a Republican? What are the specific policies instead of the personalities?

After the GOP declined to draft a 2020 platform, instead opting to run again on the 2016 version, these are a few of the questions coming from the professional opinion-writers class.

Suddenly, there’s clamor for a multi-page document that’s rarely reviewed or referenced by elected officials. Because the Republican National Committee convention planners chose to feature individuals whose lives have been positively impacted rather than speeches by elected Republicans whose pedigrees include decades of elected office and stacks of policy papers, the GOP has been declared rudderless and without stated purpose.

And Americans care … how much?

Yes, principles are important. Indeed, policies based on these foundational principles are critical. Yet, if history serves as a guide, the platform would almost be an ignored relic the moment it was published.

There’s one exception: President Donald Trump has actually worked to accomplish many of the planks of previous platforms.

Ronald Reagan’s theme was to “end the scourge of communism and slay the bureaucratic dragons of Big Government.”

The Trump administration has declared Communist China to be America’s primary economic and military threat. The administration has taken corresponding actions to remedy our dependence on a global entity working to undermine U.S. interests and safety while enriching itself with stolen intellectual property and committing major violations of civil rights.

Trump’s commitment to untangle bureaucratic regulation that chokes job creation has proven successful. Regulations under Trump have been 40% less in number than under George W. Bush and almost half that of Barack Obama, with the average American saving an estimated $3,100 each year from the hundreds of regulations ended in just three and a half years. For every significant rule issued by the Trump administration, more than seven rules have been cut or terminated.

In 2000 and 2004, Bush’s party platform “aimed to project compassion and fortitude, educating poor Americans,” while working to stop “the advance of Islamic terrorism.”

The Trump Department of Education has devoted unparalleled time, energy, and resources to rescuing children in schools that are year after year listed as underperforming or failing, particularly by making school choice a priority.

Regarding the advance of Islamic terrorism, it’s the dramatic change from “leading from behind” to, well, leading. No appeasement, no cash payments or other such failed approaches. Trump and his foreign relations team has established a clear stance that Americans are not safe when terrorists have power. Hence, the Trump response to terrorists is punishment through sanctions on harboring nations and killing terrorist leaders like Qasem Soleimani.

The 2008 RNC Platform for failed GOP presidential nominee John McCain was focused on national defense with a large section devoted to “Reforming Government to Serve the People.”

What has Trump done on these points? Rebuilding the drained military after the “sequester” budget has been a priority for Trump, as he also works to bring our men and women home from extensive deployments to Afghanistan. Furthermore, fulfilling his executive order to “buy American and hire Americans” has been just one part of an unheard-of confrontation on trade with China and other trade partners whose treasuries have become fattened off the backs of Americans losing their own jobs. That sounds like policy that serves its people.

Mitt Romney’s 60-page platform, entitled “We Believe in America: 2012,” was aimed at restoring the U.S. economy, creating jobs, and establishing energy independence.

Remember the pre-COVID economy: full employment, wage growth, and energy independence as America has become an exporter of natural resources, not just a consumer tethered in reliance to the very unstable Middle East.

The 2016 RNC Platform is still the governing document of the GOP. As noted in its unanimously approved resolution, the Grand Old Party remains committed to “Restoring the American Dream,” while taking the media to task for “outrageously misrepresenting the implications” of continuing the embrace of constitutional and American ideals found in the 56-page writing.

Yet National Review’s Michael Brendan Dougherty complains, “There is no principle this party, particularly as led by Trump, is capable of defending.” And columnist Jeff Jacoby proclaims, “There are no core values or philosophical convictions” beyond Trump’s reelection.

The Trump administration has accomplished many of the promises made throughout the GOP years of Reagan and Bush and even the ones made by McCain and Romney. Rather than decry the lack of a 2020 platform full of hopes and dreams, it’s worth remembering the work Trump has accomplished.

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