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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Republican platform upends some traditional party tenets

AFP , Tuesday 19 Jul 2016
Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to introduce his wife Melania during the Republican National Convention, Monday, July 18, 2016, in Cleveland (Photo: AP)
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US Republicans have adopted their party's platform, a conservative policy guide for the coming years that tilts some traditional positions like free trade toward White House hopeful Donald Trump's vision for America.

The 2016 Republican platform was ratified by delegates at the Republican National Convention, where Trump is expected to accept his party's nomination for president on Thursday.

The nonbinding, 58-page document enshrined traditional Republican values like limited constitutional government and strong national defense, and highlighted stark differences between the party's policy positions and those of President Barack Obama's administration and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

"This is the most conservative platform in modern history," religious right activist David Barton said Monday on conservative radio.

But language in the text, while meant to reflect the balance of party ideology, signaled its adherence to previous orthodoxy rather than a forward-looking embrace of globalization.

It also reprized key talking points of Trump's inflammatory campaign.

Here are a few highlights:

The ability to sell and purchase goods around the world unencumbered by high tariffs and restrictions has been a Republican gold standard, but Trump's protectionism, including his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, upended that bedrock principle.

"We need better negotiated trade agreements that put America first," the platform states. "When those agreements do not adequately protect US interests, US sovereignty or when they are violated with impunity, they must be rejected.

"We're going to build a wall," Trump says at virtually ever campaign rally. His call to boost security along the southern US border with Mexico resonates with Americans fearful that undocumented workers will take US jobs.

The platform supports Trump's position, saying "the border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic."

It also seeks to impose "special scrutiny" on foreigners seeking to enter the US from "terror-sponsoring" countries -- an echo of Trump's campaign call to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

After June's attack on a gay nightclub in Florida, Trump cast himself as a defender of the community, but the Republican Party as a whole remains uneasy on questions of LGBT rights and continues to oppose same-sex marriage.

The platform enshrined its support for the "natural" family unit and opposition to abortion rights, pushing further to the right than Trump.

It also expressed backing for allowing parents to "determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children," which some interpret as conversion therapy for gay youths.

And it pushed back strongly against administration policy that upholds transgender people's rights to use the bathroom of the gender which with they identify.

"Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities is at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues," the platform states.

The platform also branded pornography "a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions."

In 2012, the platform committee only denounced child pornography.

Many Republicans dispute the existence of climate change and President Barack Obama's environmental policies, which toughened rules on power-plant emissions.

The platform denounced his focus on climate change, declaring it "far from this nation's most pressing national security issue."

It also decried what they called Obama's "war on coal," stating that the Democratic Party "does not understand that coal is an abundant, clean" and affordable energy resource.

In 2012, the platform only declared coal to be "low-cost and abundant."

It expressed support for hydraulic fracking and said it backs all forms of domestic energy "without subsidies."

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