Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
As many Americans ponder the prospect of Donald Trump being removed from office, they should take a deep breath and look at what a President Mike Pence and Republican Congress are likely to do if the disrupter-in-chief is sent packing.
Vice-President Pence, along with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are cut from the same far-right cloth of every other Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Trump stood out because he was less of an establishment political animal, but let’s look at what the Republican establishment could actually impose upon America.
It’s worth revisiting the Republican Party platform—its wish list—for what this dismal trio would do. The GOP 2016 platform would make Christianity the official American religion, English the official American language, replace sex education with abstinence-only advice for teenagers, privatize almost all areas of federal services, cut taxes and regulations for the rich and titans of industry and impose a belligerent foreign policy and military build-up.
Here are 50 excerpts from the 2016 GOP platform.
1. Tax cuts for the rich: “Wherever tax rates penalize thrift or discourage investment, they must be lowered. Wherever current provisions of the code are disincentives for economic growth, they must be changed… We propose to level the international playing field by lowering the corporate tax rate to be on a par with, or below, the rates of other industrial nations.”
2. Deregulate the banks: “The Republican vision for American banking calls for establishing transparent, efficient markets where consumers can obtain loans they need at reasonable rates based on market conditions. Unfortunately, in response to the financial institutions crisis of 2008-2009, the Democratic-controlled Congress enacted the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, otherwise known as Dodd-Frank.”
3. Stop consumer protection: “The worst of Dodd-Frank is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, deliberately designed to be a rogue agency. It answers to neither Congress nor the executive, has its own guaranteed funding outside the appropriations process… If the Bureau is not abolished, it should be subjected to congressional appropriation.”
4. Repeal environmental laws: “We call for a comprehensive review of federal regulations, especially those dealing with the environment, that make it harder and more costly for Americans to rent, buy, or sell homes.”
5. Shrink unions and union labor: “We renew our call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon law, which limits employment and drives up construction and maintenance costs for the benefit of unions… Although unionization has never been permitted in any government agency concerned with national security, the current Administration has reversed that policy for the Transportation Security Administration. We will correct that mistake… We support the right of states to enact Right-to-Work laws and call for a national law to protect the economic liberty of the modern workforce.”
6. Privatize federal railway service: “Amtrak is an extremely expensive railroad for the American taxpayers, who must subsidize every ticket. The federal government should allow private ventures to provide passenger service in the northeast corridor. The same holds true with regard to high-speed and intercity rail across the country. We reaffirm our intention to end federal support for boondoggles like California’s high-speed train to nowhere.”
7. No change in federal minimum wage: “Minimum wage is an issue that should be handled at the state and local level.”
8. Cut government salaries and benefits: “The taxpayers spend an average of $35,000 a year per employee on non-cash benefits, triple the average non-cash compensation of the average worker in the private sector. Federal employees receive extraordinary pension benefits and vacation time wildly out of line with those of the private sector.”
9. Appoint anti-choice Supreme Court justices: “Only a Republican president will appoint judges who respect the rule of law expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, including the inalienable right to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia.”
10. Appoint anti-LGBT and anti-Obamacare justices: “Only such appointments will enable courts to begin to reverse the long line of activist decisions — including Roe, Obergefell, and the Obamacare cases—that have usurped Congress’s and states’ lawmaking authority.”
11. Legalize anti-LGBT discrimination: “We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”
12. Make Christianity a national religion: “We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and further affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities.”
13. Loosen campaign finance loopholes and dark money: “Freedom of speech includes the right to devote resources to whatever cause or candidate one supports. We oppose any restrictions or conditions that would discourage citizens from participating in the public square or limit their ability to promote their ideas, such as requiring private organizations to publicly disclose their donors to the government.”
14. Loosen gun controls nationwide: “We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle.”
15. Pass an anti-choice constitutional amendment: “We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”
16. End federal funding for Planned Parenthood: “We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare.”
17. Allow states to shut down abortion clinics: “We condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics.”
18. Oppose stem cell scientific research: “We oppose embryonic stem cell research. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. We support adult stem cell research and urge the restoration of the national placental stem cell bank created by President George H.W. Bush but abolished by his Democratic successor, President Bill Clinton. We oppose federal funding for harvesting embryos and call for a ban on human cloning.”
19. Oppose executive branch policy making: “We condemn the current Administration’s unconstitutional expansion into areas beyond those specifically enumerated, including bullying of state and local governments in matters ranging from voter identification (ID) laws to immigration, from healthcare programs to land use decisions, and from forced education curricula to school restroom policies.”
20. Oppose efforts to end the electoral college: “We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College.”
21. Require citizenship documents to register to vote: “We support legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting. We strongly oppose litigation against states exercising their sovereign authority to enact such laws.”
22. Ignore undocumented immigrants when drawing congressional districts: “In order to preserve the principle of one person, one vote, we urge our elected representatives to ensure that citizenship, rather than mere residency, be made the basis for the apportionment of representatives among the states.”
23. No labeling of GMO ingredients in food products: “The intrusive and expensive federal mandates on food options and menu labeling should be ended as soon as possible by a Republican Congress. We oppose the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food, which has proven to be safe, healthy, and a literal life-saver for millions in the developing world.”
24. Add work requirements to welfare and cut food stamps: “Nearly all the work requirements for able-bodied adults, instituted by our landmark welfare reform of 1996, have been removed. We will restore those provisions and, to correct a mistake made when the Food Stamp program was first created in 1964, separate the administration of SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program] from the Department of Agriculture.”
25. Open America’s shores to more oil and gas drilling: “We support the opening of public lands and the outer continental shelf to exploration and responsible production, even if these resources will not be immediately developed.”
26. Build the Keystone XL Pipeline: “The Keystone Pipeline has become a symbol of everything wrong with the current Administration’s ideological approach. After years of delay, the President killed it to satisfy environmental extremists. We intend to finish that pipeline and others as part of our commitment to North American energy security.”
27. Expand fracking and burying nuclear waste: “A federal judge has struck down the BLM’s rule on hydraulic fracturing and we support upholding this decision. We respect the states’ proven ability to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing, methane emissions, and horizontal drilling, and we will end the Administration’s disregard of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act with respect to the long-term storage of nuclear waste.”
28. No tax on carbon products: “We oppose any carbon tax… We urge the private sector to focus its resources on the development of carbon capture and sequestration technology still in its early stages here and overseas. ”
29. Ignore global climate change agreements: “The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution. Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy. We will evaluate its recommendations accordingly. We reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which represent only the personal commitments of their signatories; no such agreement can be binding upon the United States until it is submitted to and ratified by the Senate.”
30. Privatize Medicare, the health plan for seniors: “Impose no changes for persons 55 or older. Give others the option of traditional Medicare or transition to a premium-support model designed to strengthen patient choice, promote cost-saving competition among providers.”
31. Turn Medicaid, the poor’s health plan, over to states: “Moving to a block grant approach would allow for state and local governments to create solutions for individuals and families in desperate need of help in addressing mental illness. We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions.”
32. No increasing Social Security benefits by taxing the rich: “As Republicans, we oppose tax increases and believe in the power of markets to create wealth and to help secure the future of our Social Security system.”
33. Repeal Obamacare: “Any honest agenda for improving healthcare must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare.”
34. Give internet service providers monopoly control: “The President ordered the chair of the supposedly independent Federal Communications Commission to impose upon the internet rules devised in the 1930s for the telephone monopoly… The internet’s free market needs to be free and open to all ideas and competition without the government or service providers picking winners and losers.”
35. Make English the official U.S. language: “We both encourage the preservation of heritage tongues and support English as the nation’s official language, a unifying force essential for the advancement of immigrant communities and our nation as a whole.”
36. No amnesty for undocumented immigrants: “Illegal immigration endangers everyone, exploits the taxpayers, and insults all who aspire to enter America legally. We oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by breaking the law, have disadvantaged those who have obeyed it.”
37. Build a border wall to keep immigrants out: “Our highest priority, therefore, must be to secure our borders and all ports of entry and to enforce our immigration laws. That is why we support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry. The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”
38. Require government verification of citizenship of all workers: “Use of the E-verify program — an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees—must be made mandatory nationwide. We reaffirm our endorsement of the SAVE program —Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements—to ensure that public funds are not given to persons not legally present in this country.”
39. Penalize cities that give sanctuary to migrants: “Because ‘sanctuary cities’ violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, they should not be eligible for federal funding. Using state licenses to reward people in the country illegally is an affront to the rule of law and must be halted.”
40. Puerto Rico should be a state but not Washington DC: “We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state… A [D.C.} statehood amendment was soundly rejected by the states when last proposed in 1976 and should not be revived.”
41. Support traditional marriage but no other families: “Children raised in a two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage. We oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation.”
42. Privatize government services in the name of fighting poverty: “We call for removal of structural impediments which progressives throw in the path of poor people: Over-regulation of start-up enterprises, excessive licensing requirements, needless restrictions on formation of schools and day-care centers serving neighborhood families, and restrictions on providing public services in fields like transport and sanitation.”
43. Require bible study in public schools: “A good understanding of the Bible being indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry, we encourage state legislatures to offer the Bible in a literature curriculum as an elective in America’s high schools.”
44. Replace traditional public schools with privatized options: “We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools.”
45. Replace sex education with abstinence-only approaches: “We renew our call for replacing ‘family planning’ programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. That approach— the only one always effective against premarital pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease—empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception and believe that federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs.”
46. Privatize student loans instead of lowering interest rates: “The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans. In order to bring down college costs and give students access to a multitude of financing options, private sector participation in student financing should be restored.”
47. Restore the death penalty: “The constitutionality of the death penalty is firmly settled by its explicit mention in the Fifth Amendment. With the murder rate soaring in our great cities, we condemn the Supreme Court’s erosion of the right of the people to enact capital punishment in their states.”
48. Dramatically increase Pentagon budget: “Quite simply, the Republican Party is committed to rebuilding the U.S. military into the strongest on earth, with vast superiority over any other nation or group of nations in the world.”
49. Cancel Iran nuclear treaty and expand nuclear arsenal: “We should abandon arms control treaties that benefit our adversaries without improving our national security. We must fund, develop, and deploy a multi-layered missile defense system. We must modernize nuclear weapons and their delivery platforms.”
50. Reaffirm support for Israel and slam sanctions movement: “We reaffirm America’s commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over any and all adversaries…We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier and specifically recognize that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is anti-Semitic in nature and seeks to destroy Israel. Therefore, we call for effective legislation to thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories, in a discriminatory manner.”
Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s democracy and voting rights. He is the author of several books on elections and the co-author of Who Controls Our Schools: How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and the Charter School Industry (AlterNet eBook, 2016).
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