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Jul 8, 2024, 3:47pm EDT
politics

RNC releases its first GOP platform since 2016

FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S., April 2, 2024.
REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo
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The News

The Republican National Committee released its official GOP platform for the 2024 presidential election on Monday, one week ahead of the convention in Milwaukee.

The new document shows a Trump-era makeover, right down to its use of all-caps headings in the style of the former president’s Truth Social posts. The process leading up to it was closely watched by conservatives, especially anti-abortion activists, after former President Donald Trump’s team made clear they planned to align its language with their candidate’s call to leave the issue primarily to the states.

The platform includes ten “chapters,” many of which focus on topics often mentioned by Trump — in section one, the RNC vows that it will “reverse” inflation by “unleash[ing] Energy Production,” securing the border, focusing on reducing international unrest, and reinstating his “Deregulation Policies.”

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Another key chapter dives directly into the border crisis, which Trump often mentions on the campaign trail: This year’s GOP platform promises to “restore every Border Policy of the Trump administration” and implement a mass deportation plan. On the economy, the platform promises to make Trump’s 2017 tax cuts permanent, and reiterates his vow to eliminate taxes on tips. Cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence also feature in the official party platform: Under Trump, the party platform says it will open up more opportunities for crypto (a flip from 2019, when the former president was critical of digital currencies) and repeal Biden’s executive order targeting AI.

Notably, Israel is mentioned just once: The 16-page document promises the Republican Party “will stand with Israel, and seek peace in the Middle East.” NATO isn’t mentioned by name — instead, there is a line promising to “strengthen Alliances by ensuring that our Allies must meet their obligations to invest in our Common Defense and by restoring Peace to Europe.” The former president has been outspoken about ensuring other countries hit spending targets, and has said he’d remain in NATO if they paid their “fair share.”

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Shelby and David's view

Republicans hadn’t passed an official party platform since 2016, when some of the GOP’s leading figures were wary of Trump, and expected him to lose. In 2020, with COVID-19 raging, they opted to simply carry over the previous edition. With this latest update, it’s clear the party of George W. Bush and Paul Ryan has been wiped off the page — and the anti-abortion movement, as expected, has seen its priorities cut or curtailed.

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The new platform mentions “abortion” just once: “We will oppose Late Term Abortion, while supporting mothers and policies that advance Prenatal Care, access to Birth Control, and IVF (fertility treatments).”

The 2016 platform mentioned abortion more than two dozen times, promising to defund Planned Parenthood, ban abortions based on disability or sex selection, pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and pass a “human life amendment” to the Constitution. As per the new platform, states are “free” to apply constitutional rights to the unborn, but there is no national GOP position on it.

“EVs got more attention than evangelicals,” said AJ Spiker, a former Iowa GOP chairman who backed Ron DeSantis in the 2024 caucuses.

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But religious conservatives won on issues that aren’t as problematic for the GOP ticket. In 2016, the party pledged to “affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events.” The new language is bolder, promising to “champion the First Amendment Right to Pray and Read the Bible in school.”

Support for “traditional marriage” has vanished from the platform, replaced by a condemnation of “left-wing gender insanity.” Transgender issues weren’t mentioned at all in 2016, while the new platform promises to “keep men out of women’s sports, ban Taxpayer funding for sex change surgeries, and stop Taxpayer-funded Schools from promoting gender transition.”

In 2016, Republicans agreed that “any honest agenda for improving healthcare” must start with the repeal of Obamacare. The 2010 healthcare law is not mentioned in the new platform at all. The 2016 platform suggested changes to Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries, and block-granting Medicaid for states. The 2024 platform suggests no changes, promising to fund the New Deal and Great Society programs by preventing “the Democrat plan to add tens of millions of new illegal immigrants to the rolls of Medicare.”

Other proposals were simply dropped. The last platform endorsed “Puerto Rico’s future admission as the 51st state of the Union,” but this one says only that non-state territories should have “greater participation in all aspects of the political process.”

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Notable

  • Donald Trump recently disavowed Project 2025, a joint project by conservative groups to stock his administration with potential hires and policy options. It’s another sign he’s focused on moderate and independent voters, Semafor reported.
  • This is the first year that Trump has truly been able to control not just the party platform, but the entire convention. As Semafor reported back in May, his team wanted to make the most of the opportunity this time and make sure key positions were filled with close allies.
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