The GOP Platform

As most readers of this blog undoubtedly know, David  Frum was a speechwriter for George W. Bush. These days, he is a “Never Trumper” who contributes to  The Atlantic, and he has weighed in on the GOP’s decision to  forego a platform in 2020.

Frum says  that, despite their reluctance to publish a document outlining  where the party stands, there is, in fact, wide agreement among party members on a number of policies.

The Republican Party of 2020 has lots of ideas. I’m about to list 13 ideas that command almost universal assent within the Trump administration, within the Republican caucuses of the U.S. House and Senate, among governors and state legislators, on Fox News, and among rank-and-file Republicans.

As Frum sees it, the question isn’t why the GOP lacks  policies to put in a platform. The question is, why is the party so reluctant to publish the policies that virtually all today’s  Republicans support?  The answer  to that question becomes pretty obvious  when Frum lists the thirteen areas of substantial Republican agreement.

1. The first–no surprise–is reducing taxes on the rich. (That  seems to be the  sum total  of  Republican economic policy.)

2. Cutting taxes has been Republican policy for many years; Frum’s second “plank,” however, is  new. The GOP overwhelmingly subscribes to the belief that the coronavirus is a “much-overhyped problem” that will soon burn itself out. Since  it’s overhyped and “just  a flu,”states should reopen their economies as rapidly as possible. (The casualties that  ensue are a cost worth paying.) And wearing masks is useless.

3.Speaking of “overhyped”–Republicans overwhelmingly believe that climate change isn’t a real problem. They doubt that it is happening, but even if it  is,  they’re confident  that  it will be countered by the technologies of tomorrow. Meanwhile,” regulations to protect the environment unnecessarily impede economic growth.”

4.. China is our enemy, and our relations with China should be  assessed as “zero  sum.” “When China wins, the U.S. loses, and vice versa.”

5. Speaking of foreign policy, our longstanding alliances are outdated.

The days of NATO and the World Trade Organization are over. The European Union should be treated as a rival, the United Kingdom and Japan should be treated as subordinates, and Canada, Australia, and Mexico should be treated as dependencies.

6. Health care is a consumer good,  and people should make their own best deals. The government shouldn’t be involved in making rules  for the insurance market. People who can  pay more should get more, and people who can’t pay  will just  have  to rely on Medicaid, accept charity, or go without.

7. Voting isn’t a right;  it’s a privilege.

States should have wide latitude to regulate that privilege in such a way as to minimize voting fraud, which is rife among Black Americans and new immigrant communities. The federal role in voting oversight should be limited to preventing Democrats from abusing the U.S. Postal Service to enable fraud by their voters.

8. Racism is no longer a real problem, but “reverse racism” is.

9. The courts should  eliminate the notion that a woman has a constitutional right to sexual privacy, or control over her own body.

10. The post-Watergate ethics reforms were too strict, and conflict-of-interest rules simply keep wealthy, successful businesspeople from entering public service. The Trump administration has met all reasonable ethical standards.

11. Build the wall! If immigrants do  manage to enter the country, delay citizenship  as  long as possible.

12. Aside from a few  “bad apples,”  the policeman is your  friend. Lawlessness is a  result  of  groups  like Black Lives Matter.

13. In the face of the “unfair onslaught” against President Donald Trump by the media and the “deep state,” his “occasional” excesses should be excused as pardonable reactions.

Frum  says that this tacit platform works–to the extent it does– by motivating Trump supporters, exciting  the remaining Republican  base. If it were  to be spelled out,  however, even in an abbreviated form, as I have done above, it would invite backlash among a  majority of Americans.

As Frum  says,  “This is a platform for a party that talks to itself, not to the rest of the country. And for those purposes, the platform will succeed most to the extent that it is communicated only implicitly, to those receptive to its message.”

Unbelievable  as it  is, a substantial minority of  voters find these positions rational,  even inspiring. That minority will work for the  election of candidates  wedded to these positions, and  they will vote. Those of us who see  this  “platform” as appalling absolutely  must  turn out in great numbers. We have to defeat the efforts  to  suppress our votes. We  have  to vote  early,  vote absentee,  or mask up and march to our  polling  places  on election  day–whatever it takes.

Get out the vote has never been more important. America’s  future  depends on turnout.


  1. The public 2020 GOP campaign platform is whatever thought flits through the mind and out of the mouth of Trump. He could not remember a set of specific issues as his platform because he changes the subject when asked questions because he has no one point of view except to blame the Democrats and call all information “fake news”. On second thought; maybe that IS Trump’s campaign platform.

    The administration appears via David Frum’s list to have a platform but no candidate to take it to the people who wouldn’t accept it if they did. Whatever the situation within the Trump administration and Trump’s on-going and escalating mental imbalance as evidenced in speeches and responses in interviews; I fear he will remain in the White House to complete the job he began on January 20, 2017. To destroy the United States government and replace it with his personal business tactics, leading us to another Trump bankruptcy.

    “Get out the vote has never been more important. America’s future depends on turnout.”

  2. There may indeed be wide agreement among Republican party members about policies, but that does not make a platform. What the decision to forgo a platform for their party does say to the American voter is that “anything goes”.
    You want leaders to lie to you to make you feel good? You got it. You want to beat up people you don’t like? You got it. You want excitement in government every day? You got it as we provide non-stop chaos. You want to keep the yacht and the summer home and the big bank roll but watch the chaos from a safe distance? You got it. You want to practice unbridled capitalism, cheat and lie and steal to your heart’s desire? Just follow the president’s lead. You want to turn our democracy into a theocracy? You got it.
    They have no plan for the economy. They have no plan for the pandemic. They have no plan for racial justice. They have no plan except for that tired old cry from the rich, “I got mine, too bad about you.”

  3. The history of republicanism has always defined governance in defiance of the absurdities of the monarchy. It is difficult for me to fathom today’s GOP as the standard bearer of republicanism when they support the incumbent with flawed character and demeanor so antithetical of what it means to be a true republican. The GOP lost an historical opportunity to reposition to its own enduring legacy and take a line from their apparent idol: “You’re fired!”

  4. None of these 13 “planks” should surprise anyone who has paid any attention to what the Republicans have been trying to do since Reagan/Regan became President. The broken record: Lewis Powell’s call to arms of corporate/banking America to purchase the government and the education of our citizens beginning in 1971 is the root cause for this platform describing the collapse of American democracy and, ultimately, the economic concept of capitalism. Fascism, like slavery, is the ultimate goal of the American corporatist. They are simple people with simple goals and ideas: TAKE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN AS FAST AS YOU CAN FROM AS MANY OTHER PEOPLE AS YOU CAN.

    Yes, the Democrats have been partially complicit, because it takes so much money to run an election at any level. The lack of Federally funded elections and the Citizens United v. FEC debacle has created this playing field for the most corrupt among our politicians: REPUBLICANS.

    Donald Trump is merely the blunt instrument these greedy and unprincipled bastards have always wanted. If the Republicans stay in power and Trump manages to cheat enough to get re-elected, you will see the draconian laws that destroy the Constitution, the Democratic party and any constraints on the whims of a psychopath.

    This is our just reward for 92 million people not voting in 2016 – and in every election where less than 60% of the eligible voters show up. Well done, citizens. You must be so proud of your sloth.

  5. “Trump warned of Molotov cocktails and frozen bottles of water being hurled at police. He then said that cans of soup were weaponized, adding quickly that “bags of soup” were used as well.”

    Is their anything to document this idiocy by our Idiot in Charge? Is the GOP letting him hang himself by turning him loose on the country? How can they believe this will benefit the Republican party or keep them in their elected positions of power? Are they possibly trying to force Congress to act to remove him from office to replace him with Pence this late in the game? How can the 2020 Republican party hope to attain their “list of 13 ideas” as a political platform with the “Soup Nazi” on tour to publicize more bizarre figments of his imagination to add to the chaos as Americans continue to die in this Pandemic at the highest rate in the entire world?

    Vernon nailed it with these comments; “This is our just reward for 92 million people not voting in 2016 – and in every election where less than 60% of the eligible voters show up. Well done, citizens. You must be so proud of your sloth.”

    “Get out the vote has never been more important. America’s future depends on turnout.”

    We have forgotten our watchwords; VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO

  6. Knowing the issues, Analyzing and Evaluating the Political Data and Facts from Spurious Equivocation and Voting this year could mean a new President in 2021.

  7. 2nd verse same as the first. That would be continued divisiveness, racism, erosion of the middle class, ignorant policies that deny global warming, voter suppression, continued alienation of our allies, cozying up to dictators, and trade wars.


  8. People who read and think, know what Trump is. They’ve known for a long time. Few voters are being swayed at this point. The effort for the next 60 days MUST BE GET OUT THE VOTE. Every single vote.

  9. The average age of folks on this blog is….near 70 or more? 50% of eligible voters are under 40 and are the ones least likely to vote and/or vote for 3rd parties. We are “woke” – what will it take to get them to vote? They claim they are against racism. They claim they are concerned about the future of the planet. They march; they tweet. But…..guess they don’t care about their children/grandchildren…too busy partying.

  10. Lester, you’ll need to provide a link to your stats because I believe they are incorrect. The younger generation does support third parties because they know the two-party system in the USA is both pigs from the same capitalistic farm. One pig is just itself while the other pig wears makeup.

    As for the GOP platform, Frum must still be working for the Republican Party has a dupe because all one has to do is go to the policy-makers behind the scenes. It’s 2020 folks, do you think the two parties are working for ‘we the people’? Haven’t you witnessed enough by now?

    While you’re shaming registered voters for not voting and shaming GOP voters for endorsing Trump and his ilk, please take a pause and look at what you are supporting. Has the Democratic Party done anything for the people? Aren’t they just the pig with lipstick?

    For those wanting to know the platform for the GOP, go to the source of all their funding:

  11. Theresa nailed it this morning. “Anything goes.”

    The looting in the streets by the poor is a blip on the plot of looting in DC by the wealthy. Trump is leading the pack.

    There’s a new book coming out by the event planner for Trump’s coronation in 2017. His gang raised over $100M for festivities that mostly fizzled and about half of that is unaccounted for. The planner was told by Melania who she considered her best friend, sorry but you have to take the fall. She did, and now she’s telling all both to us and prosecutors.

    Nothing in the book will surprise those whose lives have spanned the time Trump has claimed celebrity. It’s greed gone wild and unrestrained.

    The prosecution of crimes surrounding the Trumps has turned into a prosecutorial cottage industry and as soon as Barr is back on the streets the legal profession will have to re-earn their reputation by demonstrating accountability once again.

  12. Todd – perfect should not be the enemy of the good. As bitter a pill as it might be to you, it’s gonna be Donny or Joe. It is self-evident that “a little better” is to be preferred over the nightmare of a continued Trump “presidency.”

  13. Spot on Todd!!!

    However, I think we are at a critical juncture in time with this election. I am voting Biden with the hope that MORE Progressives will be voted inn down the ballot. Hell, look how long it took just to get someone like AOC in Congress!

    Unfortunately we are at a place where it takes time to change what the GOP started in 1972 with Powell’s “call to arms” letter. They have had a 50 year jump on this re-structuring of our politic. Unfortunately, we also have NO TIME with the Health and Climate Crisis (they are tied together folks, “look at the science,” as Gretta says!) exponentially increasing year to year with the “window” of survival on this planet quickly shutting.

    ALL OF US should be seeking out those non-voters among our households and communities!!!

    They need to know that they have been JUSTIFIED on giving up on a system that threw them under the bus decades ago! Nonetheless, they also need to know that ANY chance of creating a better government that would actually SERVE and SUPPORT ALL THE PEOPLE (as The Constitution ideally expresses in its grand vision) is on the precipice of destruction. They need to know that NOT voting (or voting 3rd party) is begging for things to get MUCH worse in the months and years ahead.

    Yes, this election stinks to high heaven (as they have since Reagan was elected). But as bad as it reeks, it may smell damn good compared to what will happen if Biden and company are not elected. This is where we are. Period.

    Time to act, get to work, get on the phones with your grand kids or children who may have not voted! Now or never boys and girls.

  14. I like David Frum, but I don’t agree with him at all. On any one of those issues, if Trump were to take a contrary position, the “base” would go with him and so would virtually every GOP elected official in the country. The GOP has become a personality cult. It’s not a party of ideas, even bad ideas. If “Dear Leader” is for X policy, they are for X policy.

    The one thing that doesn’t work is for Trump to go in one direction and then, under pressure, reverse his position. Trump’s minions won’t follow that change of direction b/c they don’t believe it’s sincere. That’s why Trump shifting his position to pro-mask didn’t move the needle.

  15. At it’s core the Trumpet and his now his wholly owned subsidiary the Republican Party has one over riding message FEAR. FEAR of anyone who is Black, Brown, Asian, Liberal Whites, etc., is the theme of The Trumpet and the GOP.

    Arlie Hochschild has an excellent article in The Guardian:

    The secret to Donald Trump’s electoral strategy? Emotion, not policy. All of Trump’s incoherence leads some analysts to conclude Trump has no strategy. But he does – and it works like magic.

    Incoherence leads some analysts to conclude Trump has no strategy. But he has one. It’s an emotional strategy and it works like magic. Its aim is to evoke or suppress a range of emotions – fear, depression, anger at “fake Americans”, love of “real Americans” and, above all, awe of himself. In pursuit of this strategy, emotion is everything.

    Trump strongly identifies with his chosen target audience – white, fearful, resentful, humiliated. Trump uses the truth itself as a dramaturgical tool. He treats reality – climate change, Covid-19 – as just another switch one can turn off or on, like starting the music or cueing the fireworks.

    The key targets of his strategy, and the most susceptible to it, are white, older, non-college-educated, evangelical and male. They live in economically declining rural, rust belt or blue-collar suburban America.

    Meanwhile, on that final evening on the South Lawn, 1,500 of the president’s elite supporters, dazzled by the spectacle, sat mostly maskless, unprotected from a virus against which the second amendment is no help. Trump threw all caution to the wind. Don’t feel afraid of Covid-19 like those timid scientists, he seemed to say. Be bold. Be fearless. Take your Covid-19 like a man.


    It is understandable the Rabid -Neo-Confederate Camouflage Gun Toting wing of the GOP would eschew masks and social distancing, after all they are Real Men and of course god is on their side.

    The suburban GOP want low taxes. Paying taxes is for suckers.

    The 1,500 of the Trumpet’s elite gathered on the White House, without masks and no social distancing, had to prove their loyalty, even if it means they get Corona. After all The Trumpet has promised one magical cure after another. I suppose in a way it is like the people during the Black Death in the 14th Century who thought you could pray the plague away and gathered in churches.

  16. Let’s face it, the only thing that Republicans have to run on are lies about the Democrats/liberals/left wing.

    Some people who fall for them interpret them as evidence that both parties are the same which is a huge victory for Republican propaganda.

  17. It finally occurred to me this morning in view of Trump’s accelerating loss of coming to grips with reality that this upcoming election is misnamed; that it is not Biden v. Trump but rather Biden v. Pence, and why? Because Trump cannot physically and/or mentally survive another four years if elected, and perhaps at the present rate of descent not even till November 3. No one has the guts to initiate a 25, so we are having an “election” between Biden and a plainly insane man on the edge of the cliff who is too narcissisti to know that he is the pulling guard running interference for the running back, Pence. Welcome to prayer meetings in Pastor Pence’s Oval Office, supplanting the old golf runs down to Mar-a-Lago, from fore! to Amen! Evangelicals win. Falwell for ethics chief. Fauci to the dungeon etc.

    As per topic today, kudos to Theresa and Frum’s list is good but only a start of “planks” in a non-existent GOP “platform” which, upon reflection, is not a bad political tactic per se since if you have nothing to live up to you are immune to attack.

  18. Lester asks, “So you are just fine with Trump winning because DEMs are “pigs”? And you love our country? And your ends justify your means?”

    You’re frustrated because the Oligarchs have given you two unappealing choices for one of the most powerful positions in the world. I don’t blame you. I am sure I can come up with 4-5 choices within my small community who I’d rather see as POTUS.

    As for loving my country, I would challenge you to point out any evidence that it is OUR country. I would point out that the owners have always controlled this country. It was established that way and I’ve not found anytime in history saying otherwise.

    I have no “ends” and neither do you.

    Both party’s loyalists think they have the answer but they don’t. They want others to participate in the scam but they don’t offer anything. Once elected, those who are closest to the party get paid positions with the government. Everybody else gets nothing. It’s a sad game to watch over and over again. First the republicans, and then the democrats.


  19. Too many Americans confuse half a thought with a thought. I hear successive
    Republicans say that Trump is terrible but they will vote for him anyhow because of the “good” things he does. These are never mentioned or explained. If you can’t think critically and have no analytical ability, how can you distinguish psychobabble from policy? Trump’s pathogenic personality appeals to a frightening number of people who can’t understand that the Republicans humiliated themselves through their inability to produce a platform or to muster a defense against the coronavirus or to chalk up any successes in foreign affairs. Some confuse the quiz he brags about acing at Walter Reed for an intelligence test when, in reality, it was a simplistic way to ascertain whether his mind had been impaired by mini-strokes.

    So Republicans have a solid platform: (1) give more money to wealthy people; (2) disabuse women of their misconception that they should control their own lives; (3) mock science if it gets in the way of politics; (4) all power to white people; (5) build a wall around anything or anyone that challenges your infallibility.

    If Donald prevails in the November elections, he will kill more people by ignoring climate change than he has by ignoring Covid-19. He has a death wish, but it’s not for himself. It’s directed toward anyone who isn’t part of his family or who isn’t currently living up to the standards he requires of his sycophants. Death cults have proven to be a flimsy legacy.

    More mystifying and of greater concern are people like Pompeo and Mnuchin whose I.Q.s, one would think, would preclude their association with one of america’s least informed sociopaths. How that might someday prove beneficial to them is beyond my understanding. Nor have they received a fair price for selling their souls to an awesomely corrupt president. I propose re-introducing shame as a human emotion that redounds to the disadvantage of those who disgrace their heritage.

  20. It’ll be an easy decision by election time, Biden is already dropping in the polls. It’s WHITE against BLACK, who do you think is going to win that contest in the good ole “exceptional” U.S.A.?

  21. I can understand why most are willing to forego a future for their family and themselves by standing idly by as Trump and his “buddies” march triumphantly toward America’s new brand of FUTURCIDE, but I’m just not constructed that way. I, surely don’t want the CURSE OF CAIN across my forehead for my family to remember me by.

  22. I wonder how many of those “planks” Frum and friends have supported in the past, especially #1 and #6 — also half of #8 – racism has been taken care of, but not buying into the reverse racism argument

    Then I read what Paul had to say, and I think he has a point – the Neo-Republican leadership may support this platform, but for the rank-and-file voter, it is whatever Glorious Leader says — just like their excuse for a platform this year stated.

  23. Oh, my goodness. Every potential voter needs to read this in its entirety!! I, for one, will distribute copies but I can only “hope” they will be read.

  24. Well, Sheila, you stirred up another fire storm in the choir loft. The caffeine in your coffee always a good morning wake up. But I wonder if Biden really needs to harp on his strong platform to win the election. All he has to do now is let Trump walk the plank of his own making before soon he says Whoops! Let him walk the forbidden plank nine times speak only once. Geez! Yesterday, 17 times! As James Brown sings: “Please ! … Please ! …. Please!”

  25. Norris; did you watch the DNC roll call with Bernie Sanders, who dropped out and asked all to support Joe, was still on the ballot and got more than 1,000 delegate votes? There are still posts on Facebook supporting Bernie; there are also those who tell people who don’t want to vote for Biden to vote for Libertarian or Green party. YES, YES, YES Biden does need to continue to harp on what WE know is a strong platform but there are still those who; as in 2016 didn’t want to vote for Hillary, voted Green and Libertarian. Joe needs to harp and we need to support him; this is NOT about Joe and Bernie, this is an election to save this country from Trump being reappointed by the Electoral College. It is also a local and state election to hopefully clean out the the House and the Senate of those who are helping Trump. Barr and McConnell complete their “deconstruction” of our government.

    Trump’s people are united, organized, louder and have more money; they are also the ones who are steering this Titanic government dead at that iceberg on November 3rd.

  26. By all means, get out and VOTE!!!! If you don’t we will have four more years of Donald HITLER Trump.

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