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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

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Wow, what a surprise! Have you seen the Republican Party's official platform?

Perhaps, like me, you would have expected it to be a mishmash of Trumpian miasma, laissezfairyland corporate economics, QAnon lunacy, police state authoritarianism and all the other wackiness that today's GOP has been embracing. But, no. Astonishingly, this 18-page policy statement flat-out rejects the elitism, knownothingism and nutballism coming out of the White House and the mouths of nearly every Republican Congress critter.


For example, instead of the GOP's usual claptrap about the moral superiority of "wealth creators," the platform unequivocally hails the egalitarian ethic of the Common Good: "Our government was created by the people for all the people, and it must serve no less a purpose," proclaim the Republicans who wrote this policy document. ALL the people! Moreover, the platform issues an in-your-face rebuttal to the orthodox Republican policies of inequality: "America does not prosper unless all Americans prosper," it states.

And, believe it or not, the platform writers provide the means for a shared prosperity, declaring, "The protection of the right of workers or organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy" of the party. Moreover, these Republicans forthrightly profess solidarity with America's working class, quoting President Eisenhower: "Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in the country — they are America."

Holy Woody Guthrie, let's all join hands, form a circle and sing "This Land Is Your Land." With Republicans finally espousing the principle that we actually are all in this together — even committing it to writing as formal policy — we could become one nation again and join in building a little-d democratic society based on fairness, justice and equal opportunity for all.

But is this document a fake, a plant, a joke? No, it's what the party was before it lost its mind. It's the national Republican platform of 1956.

With our national election less than three months away, someone needs to put up "lost dog" signs in every neighborhood saying, "Missing: Republican Party Platform."

Voters won't find it, though, for this so-called major political party has decided not to produce a specific statement of what it stands for this year, nor will it offer to voters an itemized set of policies its public officials would try to enact if elected. Indeed, the GOP hierarchy has doubled down on its disdain for the electorate by issuing a one-page formal declaration that the party would not present a platform until 2024. Yes, four years after the election! Wait, it gets more bizarre: The party bosses even extended their fear of real public discourse to their own grassroots delegates, decreeing that any attempt by them to adopt new platform proposals at this week's national Republican convention "will be ruled out of order."

Instead of a political party, the GOP of 2020 has become a pathetic puppet show of weakling officials and sycophantic subordinates being jerked around by the maniacal whims of a bloated ego with despotic fantasies. Thus, the once-respectable Republican National Committee "unanimously voted to forego" a platform, ceding its authority, duty, respect and relevance to a single unhinged authoritarian. In essence, they're saying that the platform — and the party itself — is one word: Trump.

Whatever the wondrous wizard of wizardry says today, whomever he attacks tomorrow, whichever fantastical conspiracy he embraces next week is what the GOP says it represents, agrees with and will march in lockstep to achieve. Republican senators, governors, captains of industry, elders and others who once had power, prominence, some prestige and maybe even a little pride now meekly wear his brand and kowtow to his conceits, leaving an entire party with a sole operating principle: "What he said" (even when they can't figure out what he's actually saying ... or why).

That's not a party. It's a national embarrassment.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Viktor Orban

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Nobody should still pretend to be shocked that the Conservative Political Action Conference, an entity no longer "conservative" in any meaningful sense, would feature an appearance by an authoritarian leader like Viktor Orban. The Hungarian autocrat is the idol of the international far Right. He has repeatedly enjoyed the bootlicking attentions of Tucker Carlson on Fox News and indeed, CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp led his gang to celebrate Orban in Budapest earlier this year.

What makes Orban so alluring to the American far rightists is his example as an illiberal politician who, unlike their idol former President Donald Trump, has managed to corrupt Hungarian democracy so thoroughly as to guarantee his own continuing rule.

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