Here’s a quiz. Identify the party whose national platform called for changes to the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act to “more effectively protect the rights of labor unions” and to “assure equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.”
Hint: The same platform advocated for federal assistance to low-income communities; for protecting Social Security, providing asylum for refugees, extending the minimum wage and improving the unemployment benefits system so that it would cover more people.
The Republican Party I joined 50 plus years ago was absolutely nothing like the collection of fanatics and lunatics who will gather in Cleveland this week to endorse a narcissistic blowhard atop a radically right-wing platform.
In this year’s platform, economic prescriptions are unremittingly anti-union. They include “a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote greater economic liberty” and a promise to “aggressively enforce the recent decision by the Supreme Court barring the use of union dues for political purposes without the consent of the worker.” (Nothing about barring corporate use of proceeds that would otherwise fatten dividends without the consent of shareholders…).
The platform promises to reduce “marginal tax rates by 20 percent across-the-board in a revenue-neutral manner” and to “eliminate the taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains altogether for lower and middle-income taxpayers.” (Because you know how many low-income taxpayers have interest, dividend and capital gains income.) They’ll also end the “death tax” that makes it more difficult for the uber wealthy to transfer all of that wealth to their children.
And then there’s the “values” part of the platform, which “reaffirms our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” and includes affirmations of what we used to call “state’s rights” (more accurately, the right of states to ignore federal anti-bias laws).
There are pious endorsements of efforts to protect “electoral integrity”–aka voter suppression tactics. In this section, the previous calls for “state’s rights” give way to a list of things that states should not be permitted to do: vote by mail, or get together to eliminate the electoral college.
Those pesky “good government” efforts get short shrift too; the platform promises to
“ support repeal of the remaining sections of McCain- Feingold, support either raising or repealing contribution limits, and oppose passage of the DISCLOSE Act or any similar legislation.”
Just in case we missed it, the platform lets us know in no uncertain terms that the GOP is God’s party. It opposes the “war on religion,” advocates for a national RFRA modeled upon Indiana’s version, and wants the bible and prayer back in public schools.
“We pledge to respect the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard the independence of their institutions from government. We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and of our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage, and we affirm the right of students to engage in prayer at public school events in public schools and to have equal access to public schools and other public facilities to accommodate religious freedom in the public square. We assert every citizen’s right to apply religious values to public policy and the right of faith-based organizations to participate fully in public programs without renouncing their beliefs, removing religious symbols, or submitting to government-imposed hiring practices. We oppose government discrimination against businesses due to religious views. We support the First Amendment right of freedom of association of the Boy Scouts of America and other service organizations whose values are under assault and condemn the State blacklisting of religious groups which decline to arrange adoptions by same-sex couples. We condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights.”
In addition to opposing discrimination against those poor beleaguered Christians, the party also reminds us that God loves Guns and the Second Amendment.
We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense. We call for the protection of such fundamental individual rights recognized in the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago affirming that right, and we recognize the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration. We support the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be..
You might think that this support for your right to blow people away is a bit inconsistent with the party’s purported reverence for life, but that’s because that reverence only persists until the little bugger emerges from the womb.
We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.
Republicans oppose flag desecration, support keeping “Under God” in the Pledge, and oppose any judicial reference to foreign or international law–the platform even opposes “the adoption or ratification of international treaties that weaken or encroach upon American sovereignty.” (Since all binding agreements, including treaties, “encroach” upon “sovereignty,” I assume the GOP–like Trump–wants America to go it alone.)
There was much, much more.
When I parted ways with the GOP, I said I hadn’t left the Party, the Party had left me. If you want to see how far today’s Republicans have moved from the responsible center-right party that they used to be–and that America still needs–you need only compare the platforms of the 1950s and 1960s with the doctrinal, delusional document they will adopt this week in Cleveland.