GOP 2016: The Platform vs. Trump


Alexander Hamiltonby Marion Marks

Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 23 that the first of the “principal” constitutional obligations of the federal government is to provide for the “common defense” of the United States, and President George Washington wisely reminded us that “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”

In the face of these threats, the first order of business for a Republican president and Congress will be to restore our nation’s military might. Republicans continue to support American military superiority which has been the cornerstone of a strategy that seeks to deter aggression or defeat those who threaten our vital national security interests.

The 2016 GOP Platform looks like a very reasonable document, by words alone. Yet the art of word-smithing is also the art of working through divisive politics that has become the new identity of Trump reality television. Trump supporters mouth the evils of Hillary and Bill Clinton, but in practice, all we know of Donald J. Trump still resembles closely the Democratic platform and a far more liberal history than his supporters want to believe.


Make us Great Again!is a great catch phrase and markets well [Last used by Reagan in 1980!], but the reality of Donald J. Trump and the Republican “string pullers” is also far more sinister. The Preamble of the Republican 2016 platform begins with:

We believe in American exceptionalism.Have Gun will vote
We believe the United States of America is unlike any other nation on earth.

We believe America is exceptional because of our historic role — first as refuge, then as defender, and now as exemplar of liberty for the world to see.

We affirm — as did the Declaration of Independence: that all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Sounds great, but the average homophobic Trump supporters don’t begin to understand what it really means. V
ilifying minorities, women, foreigners and immigrants, along with other parties or candidates is the Trump policy and members of his inner circle feel they can demand voters go to the polls and vote not understanding the reality of his campaign. And, if that’s what it takes, they will pile on even more as we approach November. Trump has proven he is the master at drawing an audience to his reality-show campaign, and he won’t worry about the repercussions until after the election. If he doesn’t win, he will leave the country in shambles. And, if he wins, the problems will all be blamed on Obama and the Clintons.

Voters may wake up and change gears long enough to understand the perils of the Trump campaign along with the serious threat he really is, and, as we get closer to November, we might see some candidate debates that are more than a media circus. But, too much of the campaign will be focused on making the needle of public sentiment move. And, the beauty contest of wives, families and meaningless data will clog the air waves. The campaign is really about moving voter sentiment and locking in segments that are still moveable.

The "New & Improved" Leaders
The “New & Improved” Leaders

Leaving Cleveland and going to Philadelphia, the battle for the hearts and minds of voters is more about details than philosophy, because the voters who are willing to cross the divide of race, party and enlightened self interests in generally looking at the Trump Party which is neither Republican or Democrat. It’s about small issues and trust and we can only hope that more positive campaign rhetoric will come out of the Democrats in Philadelphia. If real issues are not addressed that affect the lives of all citizens, Trump will have an upper hand in turning the undecided. The “Make America Hate Again” campaign I saw in Cleveland was not reassuring for the future of the Republican Party or the country, but the Democrats and Hillary have their work cut out in convincing voters to pull her lever in November.