With Donald Trump now the confirmed presidential nominee for the Republican Party, his planned policies have influenced the GOP to form a new platform that pushes to the right, yet contradicts they rhetoric of their presidential nominee. However, many of the traditional conservatives and moderate Republicans are not very pleased with this shift on the political spectrum.
The platform begins by claiming that President Barack Obama has had recurring failed policies and stood against the free market. Of course, there are many who would disagree. The platform does indicate that the economy, under Obama, has not progressed as rapidly as they hoped for, and poverty levels have still increased. Job growth has been steadily increasing under Obama, but the GOP aims to take it further by using isolationist and protective policies in order to renegotiate trade deals, and return outsourced jobs.
However, the opposition towards these trade deals counter the free market idealism that President Reagan sponsored in the 1980s.
When it comes to taxes, it states a tax code that demanded lower taxes in order to promote larger investments. By this they mean to lower taxes for wealthy and large corporations. The idea is that, with money saved from taxes, they will invest more and potentially create more jobs. It is a basic concept of trickle-down economics. The platform does not go into detail on tax reform for the middle class, and regressive tax systems seems to be their continued idea for funding the government.
Reducing the federal debt has been a constant concern of both parties. The GOP platform indicates austerity measures to pay back trillions of dollars in debt. Understanding the need for a stronger economy, their solution is to “accelerate the repayment” and limit the government’s spending. It was noted that a “strong economy” was important for this to happen, but it practical terms, it simply meant to increase taxes once the economy was stable. In European countries that practiced austerity, taxes were either increased or redirected even when the economy was down while cutting several social programs and government jobs.
The platform states that the GOP “denounce[d] bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance,” but with the rhetoric their presidential nominee has presented and the endorsements he’s been given by extremist organizations, that quote is up to anyone’s interpretation.
The platform took a firm stance against the current judiciary. It considered judicial activism to be a “critical threat.” It mandated that “only a Republican president” is capable of appointing proper judges on the Supreme Court. By proper, it simply means one that shares strong conservative values as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia. With conservative justices on the court, the platform aimed for a reversal of Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges, and the Obamacare cases. Through these reversals, the GOP platform is aiming to outlaw abortion and same-sex marriage, and repeal the Affordable Care Act.
As expected, the platform has a focus on the Second Amendment. The solution is to make sure a conservative judge is placed on the bench to make sure liberal policies on gun regulation are not to be passed. The platform supports constitutional carry statutes, and generally opposes any regulation on firearms.
Citing the Fourth Amendment, the platform discusses protecting individual’s communication rights. It stands against the surveillance tactics used during the Bush Administration, but it did discuss that company’s had to surrender their encryptions in order for the government to access vital information. The platform also discusses that Americans with overseas bank accounts should have the same domestic rights on the financial information even with offshore bank accounts.
When it came to issues concerning the Bill of Rights, the Republican’s general solution was to have a conservative judge on the bench and overturn every Supreme Court case they disagree with.
The Republicans energy policy meant only to modernize the current status-quo. By this, it means to continue using oil and coal. The platform did recognize that oil was being used heavily, and suggest plans to use and reserve it better. Their solution for energy endeavors is to continue using and producing coal, oil, and natural gas, and generally scraping clean energy initiatives.
On government reform, the platform is generally to the center. It speaks about balancing the budget, preserving Medicare and Medicaid, protecting Social Security, and protecting internet freedom. However, these notion are very contradictory from what many of their leaders have stated including their presidential nominee. To some, there is a focus to abolish those social programs, and many want to monitor the internet to target terrorism.
Immigration reform was directly in concurrence with Trump’s proposed plans. The platform supports a decision to build a wall covering every piece of the southern border. It also supports tougher laws against illegal immigration and a more flexible use for deportations. With immigration, it supports major changes towards refuge and asylum. It aims to reduce the flow of refugees by mainly protecting a few through political asylum. Doing this would mean toughening the vetting process for the sake of national security. Generally, it means to be very strict on refugees and give judgment based on the conflict zones they originate from. With conflict zones currently being nations affected by Islamic terror, countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are the ones they don’t want to accept refugees from.
The direct goal on marriage is reverse the ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, but after the reversal, the platform continues to show interest in a constitutional amendment that defines marriage based on their definition, one man and one woman.
On education, the platform is not very detailed on higher education, but more on the junior level. The platform was critical of common core and wanted school districts to have more freedom on the curriculum they want to teach. It also suggest lessons on religion be allowed in public schools. The platform gave a direct intention by stating the Bible. Towards colleges and universities, the platform is against “safe zones” and criticized them as “zones of intellectual intolerance.” President Obama has also been critical of these places as they have a potential to hinder students from exchanging ideas. The platform did not have much of a solution for college costs. It did recognize that costs have been increasing tremendously and students are beginning their lives with harsh debts. The platform suggested to open student loans outside of the government and allow the private sector a chance at financing students.
When it came to foreign policy, the platform was similar to the actions taken by the Obama Administration. They platform aims to stand firmly against Russia, and recognize full Ukrainian sovereignty. The platform also aims to protect and defend NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies in the region. The largest difference is the criteria of a “Reagan-era” size military in order to do so.
However, the plans listed on foreign policy, again, contradict what their leaders are proposing. Trump has stated to create a very large and powerful military, but only to combat the Islamic State. He was vocal in partnering with Vladimir Putin and distancing the US from NATO.
The Republicans and the conservative movement have been on the losing end when it came to social issues. Currently, the solution fix to these dilemmas is to reverse court rulings that were not in their favor. Because of this, and the court cases they target, the Republicans have now moved firmly to the right, but this is causing a problem within the party itself. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, refused to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention, and many of Trump’s opponents have refused as well. Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, was also very adamant against Trump and some of his hardline Republican colleagues. Rumors are circulating that former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., was planning to endorse Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.
At the RNC itself, the delegates and visitors were divided in factions: Trump supporters, Trump’s opposition, and anti-Democrats. The demographic representation at the RNC was distinctively Caucasian, and that has already been given much criticism. Many of the Republican leaders are not only hoping to win this November, but also putting Hillary Clinton (D) in prison even after investigations found nothing criminal on her. The Republicans are pushing firmly to the right, but not in a comfortable or unitary fashion, and for many American conservatives, this could be more troubling than a Clinton presidency.