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Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Republican platform may be more conservative than any time in decades, but that wasn’t Donald Trump’s choice.

Evangelical Republicans are celebrating a victory as their party’s platform falls far to the right of its usual stances on key social issues — and even further right than Trump’s more moderate views on things like gay rights and abortion.

This odd discord between the candidate and the platform isn’t yet a sign of resurgent movement conservatism in the GOP, but rather owes itself to an unusually distant approach to policy from the nominee. Rather than pushing his own views onto the platform, as in past elections, Trump’s campaign instead looked to rally the Christian base so he could secure the nomination despite murmurs of mutiny.

Without a strong presence from Trump, social conservative Tony Perkins — who leads the anti-gay, pro-life Family Research Council — was able “to show his hands in dozens of amendments,” the New York Times’ Jeremy Peters reported. Notably, Trump has had a rocky relationship with Perkins and other evangelical political influencers, hundreds of whom met with him at a daylong conference in May to “seek mutual understanding.”

On gay rights, for instance, Perkins and other evangelicals squashed any liberal impulses in the platform, which now supports gay conversion therapy and opposes marriage equality. The president of the Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative gay group, called it the “most anti-LGBT platform” in the party’s history.

Even a proposed amendment that sought to recognize gays as targets of ISIS was shot down with the rationale that it would be playing into identity politics and inappropriately singling out a specific group, according to Peters’ Times story.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Peters explained that — along with his choice of judges and running-mate — the platform was one of a few ways Trump could rally the evangelical base and affirm his (sometimes questionable) credentials as a conservative.

“This is the most socially conservative platform the Republican Party has ever adopted, and that’s in no small part because Donald Trump and his campaign did not take much of an interest in the social aspects of this,” he said. “Now you have a platform that is basically — I mean, I described it to one person the other day, as Tony Perkins’ platform.”

Notably, the GOP’s platform also supported restrictions that would force trans people to use the bathrooms for gender they were assigned at birth instead of their identified gender, in step with North Carolina’s HB2 legislation. Trump has vocally expressed the opposite view, saying that he would allow Caitlyn Jenner, a trans woman, to use the women’s bathroom at Trump Tower — as indeed she has. 

And the platform condemns all types of abortion, though Trump has stated his support for the choice in cases of rape, incest, or health complications, NBC News reported.

A proposed amendment on medical marijuana — another policy that Trump said he supports — was shut down by socially conservative delegates, one of whom even suggested that “all of the mass killings that have taken place… they’re all smoking pot,” according to a CNN report.

In short, the conservatives’ victory in the platform committee is perhaps less significant than it may seem: The platform only ended up so far to the right because Trump needed to draw support from evangelical leaders. As with Democrats, Republican elected officials are not bound by the language in the platform. But it does set the tone for the months ahead.

Currently, when it comes to the polls themselves, Trump doesn’t need to go any further right.

Unlike their political leaders, most evangelical voters — a whopping 78 percent, according to a recent Pew study — have already committed to voting for Trump, despite his more centrist views on abortion and gay rights. (A Christian news site reporting on the same study has nonetheless declared that evangelical voters “will vote Trump, but not for Trump“.)

The unusually conservative Republican platform, then, seems like it’s more a ploy to get leadership including Perkins and likeminded delegates (like Mary Frances Forrester, who successfully pushed for an amendment calling porn a “public health crisis”) onboard — at least through the end of the weekend.

Photo: Tony Perkins via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

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Copyright 2016 The National Memo

13 Responses to Why Donald Trump Will Campaign On The Most Conservative Republican Platform In Decades

  1. The Republican anti-gay and anti-abortion stands are neither unprecedented nor something the party is trying to disguise. Republican Governor and state legislatures have been passing state laws to support their ultra conservative views for decades, and their discourse leaves little doubt regarding where they stand, and what they are doing or plan to do.
    This is part of the socio-political divide that exists in the USA, and one of the most important objectives for the vicious and libelous tactics being used by the GOP to win the 2016 election, at a time when ideological control of the Supreme Court is at one of its most vulnerable points in modern history. In addition to having a vacant seat, there are at least two more potential vacancies in the not too distant future, at least one of them a Justice with a clear liberal record on social issues.
    Whether or not Trump is beholden to the evangelicals is immaterial. His detached style of management, which borders on recklessness, would produce an administration controlled by the most radical elements in our society. An administration that, by their own account, plan to take us back, and that they will do if The Donald is elected.

    • Trump has indicated that he believes he can run his “huge business enterprise” and be President, is the blind trust used by other Presidents not codified? If Trump’s attention is so devided Pence will not need Trump’s ear or respect to wield enormous power and outsized influence.

      • It should be obvious to everyone that, in today’s political climate, there are two standards: one applies to Trump, the other applies to everyone else regardless of party affiliation.
        Precedent means nothing to him. Maturity, fairness, and honesty means nothing to him. In his mind, there is absolutely no reason why he should ignore his business endeavors to devote his time and energy to mundane issues, such as governance. The same goes for releasing his tax returns. A glimpse into his mindset can be found by analyzing his proposal to build the tallest wall in the world to separate us from the criminals and rapists South of the border…and making Mexico pay for it.

  2. Although one would be hard pressed to find a Right Winger that admits to liking George W. Bush today. Even as Bush was in his day, a near carbon copy of everything they claim to be so in love with Trump for now. Bush remember was the outsider, the anti-politician, the, “compassionate-conservative,” that literally told the base voters anything his handlers figured out they want to hear. And those same voters helped him become President. They won’t cop to this, but it’s clearly the same terms of the Trump deal they’re signing onto now. And to make things worse, it’s basically the same man, only the man is worse. Trump, like Bush, a political neophyte, an incurious ideologue. Both born into wealthy well connected families. And both, the near perfect figurehead dupes for career political operatives like Dick Cheney, or Mike Pence, who can, and will do the day to day running of the country, while The Donald enjoys bringing the President Trump show to town. Riding in gloriously on Air Force One, boldly, and often referring to himself as the Commander In Chief, the “great decider,” while basking in the intense limelight of the Presidency, like a moth to flame. Something for inner reasons like Bush, Trump may not fully understand himself, has been a life long addict. Most likely along the painful personal lines often explored on the Dr. Phil Show. Do you finally love me now Daddy? Now that I’m President of the United States? Here’s hoping we don’t have to do that again. I don’t believe we can continue to pay for that kind of rich boy, failed man, therapy.

    • I hadn’t taught about it but Trump is very much like Bush only with a load mouth. Both are business men who had to be bailed out a number of times. Bush is better educated but neither is really all that smart.

    • Although I think Lucy Van Pelt is more of a psychologist than Dr. Phil is, President Trump can just go on the Dr. Phil show regularly to work things out. Maybe that’ll help. If Trump does win in November, a lot of voters are going to have the voice of Dr. Phil in their head later saying, “what were you thinking?” Later still the voice will change to, “how’s that working for you?”

  3. It’s good that they put so many social planks into the platform. Now they can detail how they’re going to find all of the police to detail to enforce the laws they’re going to enact, and how they’re going to pay for it.
    Cops in doctor’s offices listening in to make sure abortion isn’t discussed, police at restroom doors to make sure that the “wrong” people don’t go in, cops in every bedroom to make sure that gay sex doesn’t happen. The “law and order” party sure seems amped up to spend a few trillion bucks hiring police. I guess they’ll be the party in charge of all the new H1B visas to get the manpower they need.

    • Sure, it’s all about their, ” very socially conservative, low tax, balanced budget, agenda. With that teeny weenie, itsy-bitsy government they’re always taking about. (Wink, wink.) That’s going to round up 11-12 million undocumented people, sort them, and deport them to their respective countries. Build a 2000 mile long wall, ban all Muslim entries, question those Muslims already here including U.S, Citizens, to see if they qualify to stay. Ramp up police surveillance on Mosques, and majority Muslim neighborhoods. Initiate a tough law and order crack down on inner cities, Enact, then enforce an entirely new set of laws, regulations, and reporting requirements surrounding the criminalization of the abortion procedure. Revisit the marriage equality provisions with a different Supreme Court. Rewrite, or reinstate previous laws banning the recognition of such same sex unions. Then we mustn’t forget the promised disassembling of the Affordable Care Act. Then we can expect amazing action by a newly energized Congress, to either replace it with something else, or just put the health insurance cartel, big Pharma, and hospital corporations back in charge. Whichever seems easier in light of what will be a very busy schedule, as the Trump Administration forges ahead by kicking off his secret plan to defeat ISSL, and end international terrorism. As he promised, “Very, very, quickly, I can tell you that!”

  4. Don’t my fellow liberals realize the reason Republican Candidates keep losing elections is they aren’t running “conservative enough” candidates? Shock and aghast that somehow the party of Lincoln has not yet managed to pick someone who makes John C. Calhoun look like a screaming liberal!

  5. So much for the bullshit small government crap they always claim to want eh? They just want it small enough to fit in your damn vagina, your bathroom, your bedroom…

  6. “…A Christian news site reporting on the same study has nonetheless declared that evangelical voters “will vote Trump, but not for Trump…“.

    Say what? How does one “vote Trump” but not “FOR Trump?” Such idiotic gymnastics by WingNuts is one of myriad signs of the beginning of the end of political conservatism via a further evisceration of an already decaying carcass.

    “Behold the confusion of the tribes of the defeated…” is a statement that reflects the unraveling of the “Christians in Name Only” tribe. The jihadists are undergoing a similar dissolution as clearly seen by events here and abroad.

  7. Yes, that’s the kind of leadership I’m looking for in a President. “You guys go ahead and do what you want with that platform thing. Im busy looking up insults to use in my acceptance speech …I’m going to ignore it any way.”

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