Our Founding Fathers originally envisioned a political system devoid of political Parties. So, if you’re one of those people who thinks our system should be multiparty or without parties or such you may actually have something in common with George Washington. Go you.
And political Parties are really not immutable from a historical perspective. Not even a little bit. After Jefferson and Burr more or less created American political Parties and destroyed the purpose of the Electoral College. Their Party was literally the Democratic-Republican Party and while the Democratic Party can trace it’s lineage all the way back to that same one the Republican Party was more or less born out of the dying Whig Party. As modern Republicans will remind you, ad naseum, and as most of us got tired of hearing when we were in about second grade, Abraham Lincoln was one of the first Republicans and was the first Republican President. The transition of so many politicians from the dying Whig Party to the new Republican Party back in the 1850s signifies … about three things.
- Parties can die.
- Parties are not ideologically consistent.
- The dissolution of a Party does not necessarily mean that its influential members are no longer politically relevant, it just means they cannot be relevant through that particular Party.
I’m not here though for false equivalencies or white saviour narratives regarding fauxgressives and the Democratic Party. I read that horrific joke of a platform for a reason, dagnammit. I know what goes into a Party Platform because I participated in some of the process to write the Democratic one. I’m one of the legions of uncredited authors and editors.
The point of a Party Platform — I thought — was to write down and agree upon general points and goals that everybody in the Party would try to work towards. Like, if you’re pro-universal healthcare you’ll include a section in the platform supporting the ACA. If you’re for racial equality you’ll say that and in broad strokes how you want to edge towards legal equality for all people. In the Democratic Party all of this stuff was voted on in various chapters. It wasn’t perfect and perhaps some day I’ll tell you the story about the incredibly undemocratic white male “progressives” in Democrats Abroad, but what ended up in the Platform was mostly democratically supported.
Anyways, the Republican Policy Platform is basically what happens when you stare into the void.
I’m not kidding. This thing was a a genuine plea for death from an abomination before God cast into the fiery abyss from whence the only escape is death. I went in thinking I was going to gain some better insight into what Republicans want besides, “to screw over those people who are not white and male,” but nope. It’s basically just that and a list of other people they hate.
I may have accidently summoned Cthulhu. I mean, that makes as much sense as anything else. H.P. Lovecraft was renowned for his racism.
Honestly guys, I don’t even know where to begin and I don’t know if I’m doing this to you because I want you to suffer too or if I’m telling you this so you don’t have to go through it either but … yeah, we’re doing this.
There’s several things that I sort of instinctually knew that now I properly know. For example, I’ve long said that white self-proclaimed progressives are far more ideologically Republican than Democrat and that is now confirmed because you can more or less tick off the fauxgressive whine points and minority erasure in this thing. Honestly, it reads almost as if Bernie Sanders wrote it complete with overly stated literal hate for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I’m not even kidding. They made it a text insert on page 41. Given that a text search of “Obama,” returns 20 results and all of them are hate screeds I’m surprised it took that long.
But okay, so the big takeaway here, like if I were to distil this into a sentence it’s that Republicans hate Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsberg (oh yeah, she got in there), Black people in general, trans and gay people, women, and regulatory law.
It basically starts out like the beginning of Star Wars except instead of talking about the Evil Empire they’re talking about regulatory law. I mean, fortunately I have read a few scholarly works on law so I know they trippin’, but that was basically when I knew this was going to be an experience. To really REALLY boil it down in case you’re not a massive nerd like me you can categorize law into process law and legislative law. And they’re exactly what they sound like. To get a legislative law you have to go through Congress or a similar parliamentary body, to get process law you have to go through a regulatory process. The latter is more widely used on a day to day basis because it’s not really punitive, it’s automatically more communal because particularly in the US it is created by committee and then vetted by stakeholders, it’s more or less expedient, and it is easier to repeal and modify when and where necessary. And wonks write regs. So they’re usually apolitical and highly technical.
And the hate for specifically regulatory law just pervades the entire 50 odd pages of this thing. I’m not really clear where it’s coming from. I mean, I have a few uncharitable ideas, but at no point did they give a reasonable explanation of why they hate regulatory law so much. The closest they came was misinterpreting the Federalist Papers in possibly the most pompous way I’ve ever seen outside of socialist Twitter. And at that point they were talking about the Armed Services rather than regulatory law which … okay, so, they also want to audit the Pentagon.
I’m sorry, but we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.
On page 10 there’s this sort of mention of Congress’ abdication of power which … yeah that’s a thing. That is a historically documented thing and it’s been increasing in seriousness for the past several decades. Congress’ abdication of power due in large part to the increasing ideological divide between the parties has resulted in an expansion of power in the Executive Branch and this weird idea in Congress that the minority party can strongarm the Judicial Branch into overturning stuff they don’t like.
But the entire point of bringing it up here was to once again screed about Obama and it of course ignores Mitch McConnel’s behaviour. I dunno why he let that in there if I’m honest. Oh yeah and I think this is one of several places where they obliquely reference how much they hate Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But of course … not by name.
She gets basically all the oblique references in the Judiciary section and if you were an alien who had no idea what was going on this thing reads as if she’s the only person on the Supreme Court and Democrats are relentlessly corrupt. Not even joking. Entirely different section but here’s a nice little quote:
Republicans have been in the forefront of combating chronic corruption among the city’s top Democratic officials.
And I’m not even going to explain how that exists in there or what argument it’s trying to form because it’s a whole ‘nother can of worms and I just cannot. If you want to know, it’s on page 30 and you can witness the insanity for yourself.
Okay, so … you know something, I’m gonna throw them a bone and pretend there’s something consistent and logical in here. I do actually suspect that the whole regulation hating deal is due to the perception that conservatism particularly as performed in the Republican Party is largely about a strict interpretation of the Constitution. So, in that case while it is historically and legally naïve to hate on regulations as much as they do it does kind of make sense.
But then on page 13 they explain that women shouldn’t have healthcare because of the 5th Amendment.
And sure, they didn’t put it exactly that way and I am phrasing it like that to highlight the crazy, but what they DID say is that abortions are big bad and that foetuses including unviable foetuses should have more human rights than women. Besides trying to force the 5th into that logical woodchipper they also try to say that there should be an entirely separate Amendment denying women abortions. Because it worked so well in Poland. And I’m STILL actually being nice. There is no acknowledgement anywhere in this entire platform that women are human beings and in their anti-healthcare section we’re basically portrayed as guileless simpletons.
Oh yeah, and they really hate LGBTQs too. The entire thing is permeated with hate, but somehow they managed to make Title IX anti-trans. And they’re on about how that’s somehow its original meaning. I mean, I suppose I should have expected this from the people who take issue with the Johnson Amendment but it was like reading that weird TERF essay JK Rowling published three centuries ago in July of this year.
They also want term limits in Congress which, I have explained this to people privately when they’ve asked me about it and perhaps at some point I’ll be super explicit about it, but it’s a really bad idea and particularly bad for women and people of colour. It would harm the Democratic Party particularly as the US ideologically collectively shifts leftward simply because without term limits Democrats can continue to gain seniority in Congress. Democrats grow increasingly unlikely to lose their seats and while women and people of colour are not taken seriously initially with seniority they eventually are. But with term limits the advantage goes to Republicans because they can’t really keep their seats anyway and they can use their white male privilege to ignore underserved demographics in Congress.
And then there’s a thing about the NPVIC on p. 16. I’m going to just lift the text directly because I know some of you won’t check my links and this is honestly just funny.
Honest Elections and the Electoral College
We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College. An unconstitutional effort to impose National Popular Vote would be a grave threat to our federal system and a guarantee of corruption, as every ballot box in every state would offer a chance to steal the presidency. We urge state legislatures that have voted for this proposal to rescind their approval.
That’s it. That is the entire section on it and their entire argument.
I mean, I think the NPVIC is an exercise in futility but for VERY DIFFERENT reasons. And I can drive a train through the holes in this argument. Although, I don’t know exactly how I’d do that. Trains run on tracks. Presumably I’d have to first lay down track through the yawning holes in this argument and only then drive a train through. But my poorly chosen metaphor aside, this is a really dumb argument.
My mission here was to discover what — other than hate and resentment — the Republican Party actually offered and why people still vote for Republicans. In the prescient words of Sue Wilson, “Mission incomplete, dude.” I guess that’s it? Republicans are just evil resentful people who like being bigots? I mean that is what I got from this platform. It’s either that or they’re all delighted in being balls-to-the-wall crazy. I am really too autistic to get why the term “moon-logic” is, but I imagine that if I did understand it, it would have something to do with how the GOP managed to make the 5th Amendment about denying women human rights.
The particularly observant reader may note that the platform I’ve linked and — ironically — liberally quoted is actually the 2016 platform. But okay, so this is the 2020 RNC platform. It’s basically a single page that just has “ditto,” inscribed on it.
Anywhoozlebees, I’m gonna get trashed.