Less than 24 hours before its national convention begins, the Republican National Committee has released a “Resolution Regarding the Republican Party Platform” explaining its decision not to draft a new party platform this year. It’s a remarkable document and well worth reading in full—which isn’t a very big lift, since the whole thing is less than half the length of the table of contents of the 2020 Democratic Party Platform. The gist is that the Republicans won’t be able to have a full meeting of the convention’s platform committee thanks to COVID-19, but there’s no need for an updated platform spelling out Republican positions this year, since the party intends to “enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.”
On its face, the RNC’s resolution supporting whatever the president wants to do looks like a full-throated embrace of the Führerprinzip—and that’s certainly how it’s been received—but there’s a little more to it than that: It also excoriates the media for having “outrageously misrepresented the implications of the RNC not adopting a new platform.” So as not to outrageously misrepresent any implications, here’s what happened. On June 10, the RNC’s executive committee voted to adopt the 2016 Republican platform unchanged, a decision that lasted two days before their presidential candidate blundered into the conversation:
Despite Trump’s tweet, the RNC had voted on a platform—they’d voted not to bother writing a new one—and they opted not to change course on his behalf. That means Trump is still officially running for president on a platform that argues that “all international executive agreements and political arrangements entered into by the current Administration must be deemed null and void as mere expressions of the current president’s preferences.” (It also supports statehood for Puerto Rico, a position Trump has said he opposes because he doesn’t like the mayor of San Juan.) A few hours after the Republican Party released its resolution on Sunday to support Trump’s policies whatever they may be, Trump partly filled in the blank by putting out his second-term agenda, a 49-item bulleted list of his goals for the future. He doesn’t get bogged down in the details:
• Create 10 Million New Jobs in 10 Months
• Develop a Vaccine by the End of 2020
• Return to Normal in 2021
• Hold China Fully Accountable for Allowing the Virus to Spread around the World
• Teach American Exceptionalism
• Wipe Out Global Terrorists Who Threaten to Harm Americans
All that and a permanent manned presence on the moon! The Republican Party has certainly come a long way since 1860, when it limited itself to unambitious goals like a daily overland mail service.
For more of Slate’s news coverage, subscribe to What Next on Apple Podcasts or listen below.
Support our 2020 coverage
Slate is covering the election issues that matter to you. Support our work with a Slate Plus membership. You’ll also get a suite of great benefits.Join Slate Plus