The GOP Platform pits one American against another

The GOP Platform pits one American against another
Donald Trump surrenders to the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board

Once upon a time, the political party conventions would get together and forge a platform which was their vision for America. This was before the days of focus groups, overnight polling, and near-instant communication, the platforms were the foundation, the sales documents for the party for every office from President down to the School Board.

They were unity documents, designed to give the public a clear vision of what the candidates and the party stood for and what they would do for America.

Ronald Reagan was the last GOP Presidential Candidate with a clear vision he could articulate to the nation. His was the “Make America Great” theme that Mr. Trump is stealing, lacking any clear vision himself, which spoke to personal responsibility, hard work, and opportunity and other noble ideals. He didn’t pit one American against another, rather spoke to the potential of America for all.

Newt Gingrich had a similar clear document in the 1994 Mid-term elections, “The Contract With America,” which spelled out what a GOP House and Senate would send to the President for signature. It too was a clean document, articulated in a manner that did not pit one group against another, and it was successful.

Now it is Mr. Trump’s turn, and news of his document is leaking out, some of it as a trial balloon I am sure, and it seems to not be a document America is embracing. At a time when America is moving in one direction, Mr. Trump’s GOP is moving in quite another direction.

Expansion of business via increased trade has been a hallmark issue of the GOP since post World War II. Every American Presidential Candidate from Ike to Romney has known and embraced free trade. The position has helped US firms become the some of the largest in the World, and helped American industry dominate trade.

Ronald Reagan started the Uruguay Round which became the World Trade Organization, as well as concluded free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, our two largest trading partners. The Senate ratified the agreements under President Clinton, but their births were during GOP Administrations. President Clinton saw the importance of the agreements and fought his own party to get them signed.

GOP Presidents have taken down trade barrier after trade barrier to the betterment of American business and American workers.

Protectionism fundamentally damages the US economy and is indefensible as an economic concept. That has been proven unequivocally over the decades, and as late as 2009. As every first year Business School Student can tell you, protectionism only harms the consumer in the nation where it is being practiced and in the long run, costs jobs rather than protects jobs.

It is surprising the AFL/CIO isn’t kicking down the door to support Mr. Trump. On trade, he is to the left of Bernie Sanders. Mr. Trump’s flawed trade policies were actually enacted by President Obama in 2009, and with disastrous results.

The policy was so bad, it was quickly dismantled as a horrendous mistake, yet Mr. Trump advocates protectionism as something in our interests.

Companies like Boeing, IBM, GE, Microsoft, Apple and the other international players have got to be worried about how the GOP has abandoned corporate America. They now don’t have a voice.

Trade historian IM Destler, of the University of Maryland, views Trump as the most hostile candidate toward trade since Herbert Hoover. Hoover was more moderate than Trump, who has threatened to tear up trade agreements, something Hoover never proposed.

Of course, the idiotic border wall is in the platform. It must stretch across our southern border and be sufficient to stop pedestrian and vehicular traffic. No word about who will pay for such an absurd construction project. It ignores the fact the vast majority of illegals fly to the United States and don’t Mexico walk in from Mexico. An insult to our third largest trading partner, Mexico, who purchases 356 Billion Dollars a year in goods from the USA, and more than a trillion since 2010, contrary to Mr. Trump’s assertions, s not ripping us off on balance. We get more than Mexico gets out of the deal.

Mr. Trump knows this. He is playing to bigots, and to the rank ignorant on trade, without a concern for truth, or our relationship with our good trading partner. Pandering to hate, he pits Mexican-Americans, one of the fastest growing groups in the USA against everyone else with his false rhetoric.

His is the campaign about hate and division. In my 42 years of voting, never have I seen a candidate so divisive, and proud of being divisive. He takes delight in mocking those who disagree with him, or oppose him. He is running a crude and cynical campaign.

It should be no surprise that the GOP platform would reflect the same intolerance as the party standard bearer.

The shift in ideology is the most shocking of all. He has firmly, and decisively moved the party away from conservatism, and into the intolerant arms of ultra-nationalism, and neo-fascism. For all practical purposes, conservatism no longer exists on the national stage. It has been hijacked. The trade protectionism is the final nail in conservatism’s coffin.

It was not killed by liberalism, or progressive thought, rather it has died from a self-inflicted wound. Conservatism is important in the great balance of things, just as liberalism is important for the same reasons. In the debate between the two, a balance is generally struck that allows society to progress, yet not go overboard.

In today’s environment, we just have extremes coming from the GOP and it is bad for the nation as a whole.

The Bernie Movement is trying to pull the same vile stunt with the Democratic Party. It is my steadfast hope the Democratic Party will show more backbone than the weak-minded GOP who collapsed in the face of extremism and surrendered their principles without a fight.

When this is over, and the GOP is in ruins, I hope they can purge everyone who helped the Orange One and rebuild the party into something wonderful again, instead of the joke it has become. I have no doubt Trump will lose, and will lose badly.

Hopefully, it will spell the end of the religious right crowd, who have no business running a political party, as well as those who are racists, bigots, and who so despise the Constitution they can support this fool they will nominate next week.

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