GOP Platform: collapsing inward and to the extreme right

NewandImprovedRemember the RNC  “autopsy” report after the 2012 election?

The report, formally called the “Growth and Opportunity Project,” laid out an extensive plan the RNC believed would lead the party to victory with an extensive outreach to women, African-American, Asian, Hispanic and gay voters.

Yeah, that autopsy report was immediately filed in the waste basket. After every electoral defeat, the GOP listens to its propaganda ministers in the conservative media entertainment complex: the party must become more conservative, more radical, more extreme. Appeal to the hardcore foaming-at-the-mouth conservative base.

This is analogous to the process of The Death of a Star: once the core of the star has cooled and “turned to iron, it can burn no longer. The star collapses by its own gravity and the iron core heats up. The core becomes so tightly packed that protons and electrons merge to form neutrons. In less than a second, the iron core, which is about the size of the Earth, shrinks to a neutron core with a radius of about 6 miles (10 kilometers). The outer layers of the star fall inward on the neutron core, thereby crushing it further. The core heats to billions of degrees and explodes (a supernova), thereby releasing large amounts of energy and material into space.”

The RNC is collapsing into a supernova, and the death of the Grand Old Party.

The Republican platform turns 2013 RNC autopsy on its head:

The platform that has emerged over several days of deliberations here this week reinforced some of the party’s most conservative planks, rejected efforts to appeal forcefully beyond the GOP’s traditional base and, to the extent that it reflects the thinking of Donald Trump, is most noteworthy for including language to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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[T]he party convening here in Cleveland is putting its emphasis on sending messages to constituencies far different than those highlighted in the autopsy report. With Trumpian language on trade and immigration, the platform document reflects the concerns of socially conservative Americans and of white working-class voters who have responded to Trump’s nativist and protectionist messages.

The 2016 platform turns much of what was recommended in the autopsy document on its head. Rather than reaching out, it draws the party inward, particularly on social and cultural issues and on immigration.

Trump’s wall sends a loud and clear message to the Hispanic community that is the opposite of what the 2013 RNC-sponsored autopsy report proposed. That report called for enactment of comprehensive immigration reform.

The possibility of enacting comprehensive reform, though still favored by some Republicans, died long before the 2016 campaign began. But in the presidential campaign, Trump, with his harsh talk about Mexicans and his determination to erect a border wall, moved the party ever farther from meaningful outreach to Hispanics.

By inscribing Trump’s proposal in the party platform, the party has acknowledged the strength of his core appeal as a candidate. But it also has taken the risk of building a rhetorical and policy wall between the GOP and the Latino community that could last for years. A newly released Univision survey shows Trump with the support of just 19 percent of Hispanic voters, lower even than the 27 percent Romney won in 2012.

In the time since the RNC’s autopsy report was issued, the politics of same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues moved dramatically. Today, same-sex marriages are legal, thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling. Transgender issues have risen to prominence, and with that change has come a backlash. The Republican platform takes clear stands on these issues — in opposition to the changes taking place.

Public opinion on same-sex marriage has moved significantly over the past few years, and one thing that’s clear from all the survey research is that younger voters support such unions in higher numbers than older voters. That’s true across the population, regardless of party. Nonetheless, every effort to soften the platform language on LGBT issues was rebuffed, both at the subcommittee level and later in the full committee’s deliberations.

The rejections came despite a plea for understanding from Rachel Hoff, an openly gay delegate from the District of Columbia. Hoff, a member of the platform committee, told other delegates that she was not asking for the party to change its position opposing the high court’s decision on same-sex marriage, only to find a way to acknowledge more clearly that there were differing views within the party.

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The document that has emerged from the platform committee’s deliberations now reflects views of the two candidates who finished one-two in the nominating process — Trump and his cross-cutting, white, working-class supporters, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and his religious and social conservative loyalists.

Both the Trump and Cruz constituencies are important to the party’s hopes in November and to its future. But so, too, are those groups that were highlighted in the 2013 autopsy. The delegates to the 2016 convention did not find a way to reconcile the two. That remains unfinished business for a fractured Republican Party.

Additional reporting from the Washington Post, GOP moves closer to the base, and away from the broader public, in party platform:

The Republican Party on Tuesday moved closer to firmly embracing a series of staunchly conservative positions on abortion, gay rights, gun rights and immigration reform in a platform document that takes sharp aim at Obama administration policies and reinforces long-standing party orthodoxy on major issues.

Among the specific policies the platform committee endorsed here is a “border wall” that would cover “the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

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The final draft of the platform will be presented at the convention early next week for ratification.

“From the beginning, we said this was going to be a conservative platform and it was going to be about the things that really unite us in terms of jobs, the economy, national security — things that people are worried about,” said Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), who chaired the panel.

There was widespread agreement on the party’s position on economic and national security issues and the tougher stance on social issues reinforced the party’s conservative view despite Trump’s calls for relaxed abortion restrictions and his support for some rights for gay and transgender Americans.

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On abortion, the committee added the full text of the Hyde Amendment — which bans the use of federal funding for all forms of the procedure — to the platform. The panel also included support for “religious freedom” laws and made changes to reinforce its support for traditional marriage.

Those changes came at a time of increasing support for abortion rights as well as gay and transgender rights.

Approval of legal abortion jumped from 51 percent to 58 percent in 2015 and support climbed among Democrats and Republicans, according to Associated Press-Gfk polling. A record-high six in 10 Americans support same-sex marriage and a similar share say individual states should not be allowed to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, according to Washington Post-ABC News polling last year. A CNN/ORC poll released in May found that a majority of Americans don’t agree with so-called bathroom bills, such as the one passed in North Carolina, that restrict which restrooms transgender people can use.

On border security, there is declining support for a wall, but majority support for fencing. Just 34 percent of Americans favored walling off the entire U.S.-Mexico border, according to a Pew Research Center poll published in April.

Regardless, few members of the platform committee spoke in opposition to any of the proposals.

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Although most of the platform goes untouched from year to year, delegates used the document to acknowledge more recent developments. They added language supporting law enforcement officers in the wake of recent attacks and toughening the party’s opposition to China’s aggressive engagement across the South China Sea — a move made just hours after an international body ruled that the country has no legal or historical basis to its recent claims.

Without debate, the committee expressed opposition to a proposed ban on AR-15 assault rifles and restrictions on the size of ammunition magazine clips. And the panel added language calling for “special scrutiny” of people from “terror-sponsoring” countries seeking to enter the United States.

Public support for a national assault weapons ban jumped sharply last month after a gunman used a semiautomatic assault rifle to kill 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. According to a new CBS News poll conducted days after the massacre, 57 percent of Americans said they support a national ban. That’s a 13-point jump from a similar poll in December.

On military issues, delegates formally expressed opposition to requiring women to join the draft and rejected language that would have softened the party’s opposition to women serving in military combat roles. But an overwhelming majority of Americans support having women fight in combat and more see improved military effectiveness as a result of the change, according to polls taken in recent years by The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center.

On foreign policy, the committee rebuffed a series of proposals from libertarian committee members, including one critical of the U.S. policy supporting a regime change in Syria; and another to soften the party’s opposition to restarting diplomatic relations with Cuba.

“Trump was barely mentioned by the 112-member platform committee, composed mostly of longtime conservative activists. The candidate and his team had little presence during the discussions, ceding the details of the platform to party faithful.” Because Trump does not care what is in the platform. It is all about him, always.

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