Friday, June 12, 2020


Remember when Jared Kushner was on the verge of completely reinventing the Republican Party platform?
For the past six months, top Trump campaign officials, reporting to Jared Kushner, have been working on a radical overhaul of the Republican Party platform.

... The Trump campaign's Bill Stepien has been leading the process, working with campaign colleagues and the Republican National Committee. As with all significant campaign matters, they've been reporting back to Kushner.

The president's son-in-law and top adviser has told confidants he wants to shrink the GOP's extensive platform of policy beliefs and principles down to a single card that fits in people's pockets. That's a huge change. The 2016 platform runs 58 pages — the product of extensive debate and heated negotiations.

Kushner told colleagues he wanted "something like the 10 principles we believe in," per two sources familiar with his comments. He asked Stepien to find historical examples of Republican platforms that look more like a "mission statement," per a source familiar with one of their meetings.
What a brilliant idea! It was also a brilliant idea when Newt Gingrich thought of it 26 years ago and called it the Contract with America.

Like so many other things Kushner is involved in, this process has now gone down in flames.
A vote by the Republican National Committee to leave the party’s 2016 party platform unchanged ahead of the November election has infuriated grassroots activists — including moderates who wanted to streamline its message and social conservatives who sought added language on emerging hot-button topics.

The decision by the party’s executive panel Wednesday means the GOP will maintain positions in the 4-year-old policy blueprint — including opposition to same-sex marriage and a nod to gay conversion therapy — and decline to stake out new positions on topics such as police reform, gender identity and third-trimester abortions. Party officials and senior Trump campaign aides had previously discussed ways to pare down the 58-page document to a single note card or abbreviated list of principles, but the effort broke down after several conservative groups registered complaints with the White House.
But Republicans aren't blaming the collapse of the talks on intraparty conflicts. They're blaming it on a Democratic officeholder.
The Republican Party has found itself in this awkward bind because of President Trump’s decision last week to move the location of his nominating speech. Under the R.N.C. rules, the convention will adjourn with the old platform serving as the official party platform until 2024.

That move came after the president reached a stalemate with Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina, a Democrat, over what kinds of safety precautions would be put in place in Charlotte to protect attendees from the spread of the coronavirus....

The decision to simply let the current platform stay in effect, rather than try to pass any new platform, was ultimately driven by logistics, officials said. Republican officials decided it did not make sense to ask about 5,000 delegates and alternates to pay to fly to Charlotte, N.C., when the speeches and most of the action of the convention, including the hallmark speeches by the president and the vice president, would be happening in another city altogether.
And this is especially "awkward" because the 2016 platform includes
more than three dozen unflattering references to either the “current president,” “current chief executive,” “current administration,” people “currently in control” of policy, or the “current occupant” of the White House....

The platform censures the “current” president — who in 2016 was, of course, Barack Obama — and his administration for, among other things, imposing “a social and cultural revolution,” causing a “huge increase in the national debt” and damaging relationships with international partners.
I have questions.

Why can't platform drafters continue to haggle over the text of the document via Zoom meetings, like every other white-collar organization in America? Sure, virtual meetings are awkward, but the rest of us are soldiering on and getting work done. Why can't the Republicans?

Why can't the members vote on the platform electronically, or even by mail? And why, if the Trump acceptance speech is moving to Jacksonville, do they have to vote in Charlotte? Is that a provision of party bylaws? Why can't they vote to change the bylaws, at least in this one instance? The party rulebook isn't the U.S. Constitution. It can't be that hard to amend.

And look at the date on that original Axios story -- May 24. In late May, no one had considered the possibility that it might be difficult to have an in-person vote on the platform?

And if the party is going to retain the 2016 platform, why can't it agree to retain that platform except for all the references to the (then-)current president and administration? How hard would it be for a low-level staffer to just flag all those passages for deletion? It would take a couple of hours, tops. Why would this would this be any more controversial than not changing the platform at all, which we're told is very controversial?

It's as if these people believe that miminal levels of competence are an oppressive form of political correctness that they need to defy in order to prove they're free human beings. It's as if getting a job done right is bending the knee to the oppressor.

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