Today was a marathon day in the world of GOP politics. The Platform Committee arrived before dawn and finally adjourned just shy of 8 tonight. It was all platform all day long – thirteen-plus hours of ideas and amendments, discussion, disagreement and debate, and votes – as delegates crafted the guiding document for the Republican Party the next four years.
Some thought the GOP might shift or somehow adapt having Donald Trump at the head of the party’s ticket. But the frame of mind of the current GOP is decidedly conservative – traditional marriage, pro-life, free market, limited government, states’ rights, and patriotism. Recurring themes in national security? Resurrection of Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” doctrine and strong support for Israel. In education, the 2016 platform emphasizes parental rights, resisting liberal/progressive social indoctrination of children, and expanding choice in education. By large majorities, delegates turned back a handful of efforts to move away from the Party’s historic support for traditional marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Soundly rejected were efforts to embrace medical marijuana, seen as the first step toward legalization for recreational use. Many issues remain for the final sessions tomorrow—national security and defense, immigration and refugee policy, terrorism, economic issues, balancing the budget, restoring Constitutional government and government reform, the life issue, just to name a few. No doubt it will be a conservative document for the 2016 elections and governance beyond.
As I surfed social media and news outlets during the proceedings, media rumors were rampant about #DumpTrump and speculation about “unbound” delegates abounded. But you heard nothing of this from delegates, not in platform meetings, not in casual corridor discussions, or in unguarded small talk at lunch or in the ladies’ room. Instead, circulating among delegates was the occasional report of a personal call from the Trump camp to a delegate, asking for a platform more conservative than 2012. Voiced among delegates who originally supported other candidates were calls for unity and gentle reminders of being “family.” Not a whiff or whisper of revolution in the ranks.