It's the first GOP platform since 2016, and there are some notable changes.

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Today, we are breaking down the new Republican party platform. Plus, some important notes about our upcoming editions.

Two important notes.

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Quick hits.

  1. NATO's 75th anniversary summit began in Washington, D.C., and President Biden announced new air support for Ukraine in its war with Russia. (The summit)
  2. Democrats in Congress who attempted to force Biden off the 2024 ticket believe their effort is failing and the president will remain the nominee. (The latest)
  3. Former U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) died at the age of 89. (The passing)
  4. A Russian court issued an arrest warrant for Yulia Navalnaya, opposition politician Alexei Navalny's widow, saying she was part of an extremist organization. (The warrant)
  5. Two Democratic senators asked the Justice Department to investigate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for possible tax law violations. (The request

Today's topic.

The Republican Party’s platform. Over the weekend, the Republican party released its 2024 campaign platform, the first time it has released a party platform since 2016. The document — titled “2024 GOP Platform Make America Great Again!” — includes 20 promises and 10 chapters outlining the governing priorities for a Republican president. Typically, the Republican and Democrat parties release their platforms ahead of their national conventions, and this year’s release precedes the GOP’s national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that will start on July 15.

The platform’s ten chapters focus on inflation, the border, economic prosperity, the American dream, manufacturing, protecting seniors, schools, common-sense governance, Constitutional government, and peace through strength. Additionally, the 20 promises listed in the preamble address some specific positions, like eliminating taxes on tips, keeping the dollar as the world reserve currency, and building a U.S. missile defense system similar to Israel’s Iron Dome. 

In 2020, the Republican Party did not publish a platform document, which was a break from precedent and a source of criticism. Like the last Republican platform published in 2016, this year’s version focuses on long-standing conservative priorities of energy independence, foreign policy centered on strength, and Constitutional governance. However, it also differs in a few key areas. The 16-page 2024 platform is much less detailed than its predecessors, which have ranged from 66 pages in 2016 to 75 pages in 1980. Perhaps most notable, however, is the party’s stance on abortion, which has changed from calls for federal abortion restrictions to a focus on letting states decide.

“Republicans Will Protect and Defend a Vote of the People, from within the States, on the Issue of Life,” reads the title to the portion of the platform focusing on abortion, which also outlined the party’s opposition to late-term abortion and its support for access to both in-vitro fertilization and to birth control.

As soon as it was published, many Republicans began touting the new agenda. On his social media website Truth Social, former president Donald Trump also expressed his support, writing, “Ours is a forward-looking Agenda with strong promises that we will accomplish very quickly when we win the White House and Republican Majorities in the House and Senate. We are, quite simply, the Party of Common Sense.”

However, some Republicans were dismayed by both the process of drafting the platform as well as the party’s new official position on abortion. “They rolled us. That’s what they did,” said Gayle Ruzicka, a Republican National Committee member from Utah and president of the conservative lobbying group Utah Eagle Forum. “I’ve never seen this happen before. I don’t understand why they did it. And I’m extremely disappointed that we do not have any pro-life language.”

Below, we’ll get into what the right and left are saying about the Republican Party platform. Then, I’ll give my take.


What the right is saying.

  • The right broadly supports the platform, with most calling it a winning set of priorities.
  • Some criticize the moderated language on abortion relative to previous platforms.
  • Others welcome the softened abortion stance, suggesting it’s politically necessary.

In The New York Sun, Lawrence Kudlow praised the “pro-growth, ‘America First’ platform.”

“The platform carries the same kind of message that Trump has been successfully talking about for the last several years. It’s pro-growth and pro-opportunity, aims to close the southern border and restore an ‘America First’ standing in the world. Peace through strength. The document is short, pithy, and right to the point,” Kudlow said. “The platform also states, and I quote, ‘unite our country by bringing it to new and record levels of success.’ These are the message points that have proved so popular on the campaign trail. These are exactly the themes that Trump has used to organize a working-class coalition of Black Americans, Hispanics, Asians, young people, and women.

“These were policies to successfully build on Trump’s first term as President… Tax cuts, deregulation, energy independence, superb Supreme Court picks, good trade deals, strong national security — including the Abraham Accords.” Kudlow added. “Today, amid 20 percent Bidenflation, we have an affordability crisis with falling real wages and high mortgage and credit card borrowing costs, the nationwide crime and public safety ravages of Mr. Biden’s illegal immigration catastrophe, and raging fires overseas — most folks know that they were better off four or five years ago. That’s Trump’s message. Success is the best uniter.”

In The Federalist, Jordan Boyd said the platform “does nothing to protect unborn babies.”

“The debut of the Republican National Committee’s recently revamped platform was celebrated by top Republicans and even some pro-life groups as a unifying message that will carry former President Donald Trump to victory come November. Buried in the abortion section of the 16-page document, however, is permission for the murder of millions of unborn babies via abortion and in vitro fertilization,” Boyd wrote. “The GOP’s deliberate failure to carry over the party’s 2016 pledge to ‘support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth’ would permit states governed by extremism to continue executing 99 percent of unborn babies currently murdered by abortion.”

“Instead of following through on the life begins at conception policy the party claimed back in 2016 by advocating for the addition of a human life amendment to the Constitution, the GOP has effectively rubber-stamped states adding abortion through all nine months of pregnancy and possibly even a ‘right’ to reproductive technology to their constitutions,” Boyd said. “The RNC’s new abortion and IVF platform hasn’t simply stiffed the pro-life voters who helped elect Trump and so many other Republicans to office. It has effectively ensured that Republicans, not unlike Democrats, will go against voters’ wishes on abortion.”

In The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Cynthia M. Allen argued the platform’s approach to abortion “could be savvy.”

“The platform’s sole mention of abortion is used to affirm the party’s opposition to late term abortion — low-hanging fruit (for anyone who doesn’t live in Virginia or New York). While the departure from past platforms is striking, it’s not unexpected. And frankly, it’s probably the right call,” Allen wrote. “Abortion became an easy attack line against vulnerable Republicans during the 2022 midterms, especially as many candidates found themselves unable to articulate a clear pro-life message in the wake of their party’s massive policy win.”

“Republicans are probably a little savvier now and looking to downplay their national objectives on abortion in an effort to blunt Democratic assaults leading up to November. They are also taking direction from a party leader who helped bring the pro-life movement its biggest victory but would have no qualms about leaving them in the dust if it ensured his return to power. To the extent that the details of party platforms even matter — they don’t — minimizing the anti-abortion message is the politically shrewd thing to do this cycle.”


What the left is saying.

  • The left is critical of the platform, calling it a laundry list of Trump priorities.
  • Some argue the GOP’s agenda is out of step with what most Americans want.
  • Others say the supposed moderate language on abortion is a facade. 

In The New Republic, Edith Olmsted wrote “Trump’s deranged platform is already sending [the] RNC into chaos.”

“Notably missing from the list is a federal ban on abortion. The absence represents a policy shift for the party as it cowers behind its champion, Trump, who stopped advocating for a federal ban shortly after the midterms, when he realized it was an insanely unpopular policy with voters,” Olmsted said. “It seems that the Republican Party was anxious to pass Trump’s slightly unorthodox platform through, even if the policies don’t represent the opinions of its committee members, let alone the position the GOP has had for the past 50 years. 

“Uniformly adopting Trump’s policy platform goes to show how far the Trump takeover of the GOP has come,” Olsted wrote. “In 2020, the Republican Party didn’t even deign to write a platform, amid rumors that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner planned to shorten it significantly and streamline (upend) the drafting process, according to Vox. Perhaps some of Kushner’s plans are latent within the party, intent on making decisions that align with the candidate, rather than the people.”

In USA Today, Rex Huppke called the platform “an unhinged all-caps list of Trump lies.”

The platform is “less a serious expression of a party’s values and plans for governing and more a reminder that Republicans think actual policy proposals are for woke ninnies and American voters should just shut up and let billionaires control things,” Huppke said. “The preamble is replete with random capitalizations and other MAGA-inspired assaults on the English language. Take this line, for example: ‘But now we are a Nation in SERIOUS DECLINE.’ That ‘SERIOUS’ foreshadows an all-caps 20-point list that makes up the party platform, letting the reader know that SERIOUS things are ALWAYS written in ALL CAPS to demonstrate their SERIOUSNESS.”

“The 20 ‘promises’ that make up the ‘2024 GOP Platform to Make America Great Again!’ begin with some good old-fashioned dangerous xenophobia and a promise to sweep across America and round up millions of immigrants,” Huppke wrote. “What matters is that this sub-kindergarten gibberish is what Democrats are running against. Should they get around to deciding whether President Joe Biden is too old to be their nominee, they've got a decent chance of winning because a lot of Americans think stuff like ‘STOP THE MIGRANT INVASION’ is fearmongering nonsense.”

In Slate, Susan Rinkunas said “the GOP’s new abortion platform is not ‘softened’ or ‘scaled back.’”

“The former president’s most prominent comments on this point—first, in a much-hyped video, then again on the debate stage—have tellingly included some variation of ‘But you have to win elections,’ i.e., none of this matters if Republicans lose. He’s practically winking and nodding in hopes that voters will understand that he needs them just to put him in office, then all bets are off,” Rinkunas wrote. “So it’s fitting that on Monday, the Republican National Committee’s platform drafting committee approved an abortion plank (on Page 15 of 16) that sounds as if it’s about states’ rights but actually leaves the door wide open for a national ban.”

“This platform is just as harsh as it has been in the past. That’s because anti-abortion hounds are plenty happy about it… And if their comments somehow aren’t enough, look to the words and actions of two people responsible for drafting the platform. Russell Vought is the RNC’s platform policy director and also one of the authors of Project 2025, the conservative agenda written for Trump that calls on him to ban abortion by enforcing the Comstock Act,” Rinkunas said. “So while it’s true that the GOP abortion platform doesn’t explicitly call for a national ban, people need to realize that it could be used to achieve that horrifying end.”


My take.

Reminder: "My take" is a section where I give myself space to share my own personal opinion. If you have feedback, criticism, or compliments, don't unsubscribe. Write in by replying to this email, or leave a comment.

  • The new platform is more Trump than ever, and is even written in his voice.
  • There’s a lot of good, a lot of bad, and a lot of bombast in here — none of which is too surprising.
  • While many writers focused on abortion, the big takeaway to me is how similar the Democrat and Republican platforms are becoming.

Not that there was ever any doubt, but this platform is one of the strongest indicators yet that the Republican Party is now the Trump Party. This document isn't just a set of his priorities, it's written in his voice — using language and even punctuation that reads like one of his patented social media posts.

The platform lays out 20 promises and 10 chapters about those promises. A lot of commentary has been made about those 10 chapters, and I will briefly summarize my thoughts below. Before I do, though, I thought it'd be fun to list out the 20 promises briefly included in the platform and respond in kind — in one sentence — to each.

  1. SEAL THE BORDER, AND STOP THE MIGRANT INVASION. This is classic Trump, and not surprising at all that he leads with immigration, which is Biden's weakest issue (aside from his age).
  2. CARRY OUT THE LARGEST DEPORTATION OPERATION IN AMERICAN HISTORY. A confirmation of many liberals' biggest fears, though Trump has obviously not made it clear how he plans to execute this.
  3. END INFLATION, AND MAKE AMERICA AFFORDABLE AGAIN. One of those "well, duh" political aspirations, though Trump could take over, do nothing, and take credit for inflation coming down and the Fed cutting rates on their own.
  4. MAKE AMERICA THE DOMINANT ENERGY PRODUCER IN THE WORLD, BY FAR! An interesting one because Biden is already overseeing record oil production, which means getting domestic gas prices down will involve some diplomacy and pressure on foreign sources.
  5. STOP OUTSOURCING, AND TURN THE UNITED STATES INTO A MANUFACTURING SUPERPOWER. Arguably Trump's most popular political position, so much so that Biden has all but adopted it.
  6. LARGE TAX CUTS FOR WORKERS, AND NO TAX ON TIPS! The "no tax on tips" is brilliant working class messaging, and a pretty solid way to get more money to service workers; it's kind of shocking nobody else has made this a centerpiece plan before.
  7. DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION, OUR BILL OF RIGHTS, AND OUR FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS, INCLUDING FREEDOM OF SPEECH, FREEDOM OF RELIGION, AND THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. Nothing new here and mostly just sloganeering, but not many people are going to object to this (except maybe focusing on the right to bear arms).
  8. PREVENT WORLD WAR THREE, RESTORE PEACE IN EUROPE AND IN THE MIDDLE EAST, AND BUILD A GREAT IRON DOME MISSILE DEFENSE SHIELD OVER OUR ENTIRE COUNTRY – ALL MADE IN AMERICA. Trump has become very interested in Israel's Iron Dome system and has been promising an American version for months — it's interesting to see in writing, though I think for a country over 400 times the size of Israel it is pretty unrealistic.
  9. END THE WEAPONIZATION OF GOVERNMENT AGAINST THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. This seems like a not-so-subtle callout to January 6 defendants and Trump's own legal troubles.
  10. STOP THE MIGRANT CRIME EPIDEMIC, DEMOLISH THE FOREIGN DRUG CARTELS, CRUSH GANG VIOLENCE, AND LOCK UP VIOLENT OFFENDERS. Very similar to the first couple of promises, which center on immigration with a fear-based posture — this is probably the biggest difference between the two parties right now, and it’s worth stating that while there is a border crisis there is no migrant crime epidemic.
  11. REBUILD OUR CITIES, INCLUDING WASHINGTON DC, MAKING THEM SAFE, CLEAN, AND BEAUTIFUL AGAIN. It's a dig at D.C., but this is something you might find in a Democratic party platform, which I thought was interesting.
  12. STRENGTHEN AND MODERNIZE OUR MILITARY, MAKING IT, WITHOUT QUESTION, THE STRONGEST AND MOST POWERFUL IN THE WORLD. I think this is already true, and nothing in this platform says what Trump would do differently in 2024 than any of the last few presidents who’ve all continued to pour money into our military.
  13. KEEP THE U.S. DOLLAR AS THE WORLD’S RESERVE CURRENCY. Probably not an issue ordinary Americans are worried about, but there are fears about this changing — I presume Trump is speaking to the business class here.
  14. FIGHT FOR AND PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE WITH NO CUTS, INCLUDING NO CHANGES TO THE RETIREMENT AGE. This promise is one of the most notable — and also frustrating — as any commitment not to adjust or reform Social Security and Medicare will ensure they collapse.
  15. CANCEL THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE MANDATE AND CUT COSTLY AND BURDENSOME REGULATIONS. Trump is currently courting the endorsement of automaker unions, and there is no doubt who this is for.
  16. CUT FEDERAL FUNDING FOR ANY SCHOOL PUSHING CRITICAL RACE THEORY, RADICAL GENDER IDEOLOGY, AND OTHER INAPPROPRIATE RACIAL, SEXUAL, OR POLITICAL CONTENT ON OUR CHILDREN. I think this problem is vastly overstated and I’m unconvinced it’s a winning political issue (see: Ron DeSantis’s failed presidential campaign), but it's not surprising to see it here.
  17. KEEP MEN OUT OF WOMEN’S SPORTS. Basically the same as #16 — I see this as pure culture-war fodder for a small part of the electorate, and it's jarring to see it in a party platform as a top-20 issue.
  18. DEPORT PRO-HAMAS RADICALS AND MAKE OUR COLLEGE CAMPUSES SAFE AND PATRIOTIC AGAIN. For many of the lefty, pro-Palestine protesters who are promising not to vote for Biden, this point might serve as a reminder about their alternative.
  19. SECURE OUR ELECTIONS, INCLUDING SAME DAY VOTING, VOTER IDENTIFICATION, PAPER BALLOTS, AND PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP. I'm all for securing elections, I support the use of paper ballots, and I have changed my mind about voter identification; but mandatory same-day voting limits access (such as the ability for deployed servicemembers to vote) and proof of citizenship is really not necessary since our system already safeguards against non-citizens voting, so this is half good and half nonsense.
  20. UNITE OUR COUNTRY BY BRINGING IT TO NEW AND RECORD LEVELS OF SUCCESS. Well, hey, no argument from me!

All of these promises are very Trumpian: Big, bold ideas that are (in many cases) widely supported by the vast majority of Americans, but are also obviously vague, in some cases not realistic, and very "strongman" in their attitude (like promising to punish protesters and conduct mass deportations).

The ten chapters that comprise the meat of the party platform were more substantive, and I thought they were mostly strong — like calls for an embrace of nuclear energy, prioritizing reducing federal waste, and speaking positively about embracing emerging technologies. 

Other elements of the platform actually sound exactly like Democratic party priorities, something that other writers also noticed. Most notable is the move toward the center on abortion, which many of the writers above covered: The platform explicitly supports birth control and IVF, and abandons a call for federal abortion restrictions. But it also calls for increasing housing affordability by streamlining permitting for new construction, making affordable education more available, and "saving" the American auto industry. Economist Noah Smith called those positions very "Clintonian," which I thought was a good way to put it.

The platform also has its obvious, glaring issues: Trump's trade crackdown would make inflation worse, yet he sticks to it despite prioritizing the reduction of inflation. There is no clear plan for addressing Social Security and Medicare, even though House Republicans and Democrats both have proposals on the table. And there is far too much culture war fluff. Perhaps ironically, Biden is already acting on many of the GOP proposals, like boosting energy supply, expanding the Child Tax Credit (which Biden and Congressional Democrats tried to do but were stopped by Republicans), and increasing educational opportunities outside of traditional four-year colleges.

In one sense, it’s great that we have so much bipartisan consensus about how to address big issues. In another sense, it’s incredibly frustrating, because if Republicans and Democrats have the same ideas to address the same big issues they could act on them right now.

Overall, I was pretty surprised to see how much closer (on paper) Republicans and Democrats are getting on so many major issues our country is facing. A lot of people focused on the softening of abortion language, which is a story about the way Trump views politics and his lack of a consistent ideology on the issue. But to me, the real story is just how much attention both parties are now giving to lower- and middle-income voters, and just how similar so many of their policies are becoming.

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Under the radar.

For the second-consecutive month, wind power generated more electricity than coal in the United States, according to the Energy Information Administration. Wind production first exceeded coal in April of last year, but the triumph was brief and slight. This year, wind is pacing well ahead of coal, while natural gas remains by far the largest producer of electricity. Wind, solar, hydroelectric, and nuclear power made up 21% of electricity generation in the U.S. last year. Sherwood News has the latest data


Numbers.

  • 84-18. The reported vote in the RNC platform committee to pass the 2024 GOP platform, according to The New York Times. 
  • 1. The number of times the word “abortion” appears in the 2024 GOP platform.
  • 35. The number of times the word “abortion” appeared in the 2016 GOP platform.
  • 19. The number of times the word “Trump” appears in the 2024 GOP platform.
  • 0. The number of times the word “Trump” appeared in the 2016 GOP platform.
  • 0. The number of times the word “debt” appears in the 2024 GOP platform. 
  • 12. The number of times the word “debt” appeared in the 2016 GOP platform. 
  • 14. The number of times the word “illegal” appears (in reference to immigration) in the 2024 GOP platform.
  • 8. The number of times the word “illegal” appeared (in reference to immigration) in the 2016 GOP platform.

The extras.

  • One year ago today we covered the record-setting heat.
  • The most clicked link in yesterday’s newsletter was the Columbia University officials fired for purportedly antisemitic texts.
  • Nothing to do with politics: A man caught smuggling 100 live snakes in his pants.
  • Yesterday’s survey: 534 readers answered our survey about the French elections with 38% encouraged by the results. “Tired of reading about the ‘far right’ taking over so far the governments of Hungry, Italy, Argentina, Brazil have proven that the media screaming ‘far right’, ‘fascist’, ‘dictators’ have shown more conservative than rabid far right,” one respondent said.

Have a nice day.

Bloomberg Philanthropies, an organization established by billionaire Mike Bloomberg, recently made a $1 billion donation to Johns Hopkins University. The funds will go towards tuition and living expenses for medical school students, as well as towards financial aid for students studying in other health-related fields. Bloomberg had previously donated $1.8 billion to ensure Johns Hopkins’ admissions process would not take into account students’ financial aid needs. AP News has the story. 


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Isaac Saul
I'm a politics reporter who grew up in Bucks County, PA — one of the most politically divided counties in America. I'm trying to fix the way we consume political news.