The GOP’s Revealing Decision Not to Debate on a 2020 Platform

It’s yet another sign that the Republican Party’s conversion to a cult is complete.

I’ve already written twice about Donald Trump’s decision to kind of/mostly move the 2020 Republican National Convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida. In my last installment, I noted that it would be difficult to meet the president’s goal of having a full house for the television cameras, in part, because people cannot be in two places at the same time.

The Republican Party is contractually obligated to hold its national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, but Democratic Governor Roy Cooper would not guarantee that state health restrictions could be lifted for the Aug. 24-27 event. The solution, then, was to keep the convention in Charlotte in a strictly legal sense by holding all the regular business meetings there, but to find an alternative location for the speeches and pageantry…

… People can’t simultaneously be in Charlotte holding a meeting on the Republican platform and in Jacksonville listening to Mike Pence or Melania Trump give a speech. Trump might have to hire “extras” to fill the gaps.

I suppose I was a bit naïve. There was an obvious solution but I didn’t see it because I don’t have enough of a criminal mind.

Now, mind you, I did understand that the only reason the Republicans were keeping part of the convention in Charlotte was to provide a legal defense against reneging on their contracts. As the Charlotte Observer reports, there will be wrangling over the decision:

Ed Driggs, one of two Republicans on the Charlotte City Council, had once hoped for an exciting week-long convention that would show off his city and his party.

On Thursday, as news dribbled out about just how scaled-backed Charlotte’s piece of the convention will be, Driggs said, “I guess I’m disappointed it’s so little.”

Now that the Republican National Committee has officially voted to move most of the convention out of Charlotte, Driggs said, “the big question is: How do we (the city) deal with the contracts in place? Who is responsible for those? (The parties to the contracts) are still trying to work it out.”

The Charlotte host committee, for example, has “an interest in not being saddled with liabilities and expenses,” Driggs said.

On Wednesday the committee, charged with raising almost $70 million for the event, said the move to another city violates contracts with the city and other local groups.

“This decision is in clear violation of the agreements made with the City of Charlotte, the County of Mecklenburg, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, and the Charlotte Host Committee,” the committee said in a statement Wednesday.

To maintain the fiction that these contracts are being honored, the proceedings in Jacksonville are being called a “celebration” rather than a “convention.” Whether this will be convincing in court is for lawyers, judges, and perhaps a jury to decide, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of people having to be in two places at the same time. The elegant solution was sitting right in front of my face and I couldn’t see it.

On Wednesday, the RNC’s executive panel voted to leave the 2016 party platform in place, with absolutely no edits. This will have the absurd result of leaving in place language about the president that clearly refers, in a critical manner, to Barack Obama. It will leave harsh language about deficit spending that applies with more force to the Trump administration than its predecessor. It will keep descriptions of the Middle East that no longer have any application, and in some cases it will pledge Trump to promises he has already kept. It also means that there will be no adjustments made to reflect an evolution of the party or national culture over the last four years.

The decision by the Wednesday means the GOP will maintain positions in the 4-year-old policy blueprint — including opposition to same-sex marriage and a nod to gay conversion therapy — and decline to stake out new positions on topics such as police reform, gender identity and third-trimester abortions.

Of course, both moderates and social conservatives are furious. They’ve both been gearing up to battle over the party platform, and now there will be no debate at all. Yet, by eliminating the most important piece of party business, the RNC no longer has to worry that people will be in Charlotte hashing out party principles when they should be in Jacksonville adoring the president.

The Republican National Convention is officially on the move to Jacksonville, Fla., after it will spend just a single day in Charlotte this August, the RNC committee announced Thursday night.

It will host what the Republicans are calling a “celebration” of President Donald Trump’s re-nomination…

…The convention was once expected to span four days in Charlotte — bringing in 50,000 people and pumping more than $150 million into the local economy.

Instead, around 336 delegates will conduct the convention’s official business Monday, Aug. 24. Then they’ll head to Jacksonville — and join more than 2,000 other delegates for three days of speeches and celebrations, a top GOP official said Thursday.

So, in order to manage the limitations of the time/space continuum, there will be no changes to the Republican platform in 2020, and anyone who cares about the platform will just have to suck it.

This is a final confirmation that the Republican Party has become a cult that stands for nothing and exists only to fluff Donald Trump’s ego. It was completely predictable but I failed to foresee it because I was still operating in the world where contracts are honored and political parties are made of up people who care about policy.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com