Spangle: The Purpose of Party Platforms

The GOP announced that it will not be putting together a party platform in 2020.

The Republican National Committee issued a resolution stating that due to constraints on the size of this year’s Republican National Convention, it will not be adopting a new party platform, leaving in place the one from 2016.

The resolution says the platform committee would have agreed to continue supporting President Trump and his administration but did not want to have a small group draft a new platform for the party. – Fox News

Party platforms are mostly a waste of time as no one outside of a movement reads them, but they do serve some important functions. First, it is a historical record of the concerns of a large segment of Americans. Second, it is useful for a party to debate where it stands. This clarifying conversation makes the members examine their priorities.

Lastly, it forces leadership and candidates to abide by a non-binding standard of ideology. It is an inter-party check and balance. For instance, many LP delegates vet a Presidential candidate by asking if they’re familiar with the platform as a barometer of the candidate’s respect for the delegates.

When the GOP says it has no real platform and throws in the towel to a President, that’s a strong signal that an institution is no longer willing or capable to impose the will of the majority (delegates) on a minority (the candidate and leadership).

When the parties are unwilling to enforce basic notions of representation in their own organization, then the government is sure to follow. Democrats will follow suit and we will be worse off for it.
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Chris Spangle is the publisher and editor of We Are Libertarians, a news site and podcast that covers national and Indiana politics from the libertarian perspective. Spangle previously worked in marketing for the Englehart Group on behalf of the Advocates for Self-Government. He also served as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana and producer of the Abdul in the Morning Show. He now works as the web director of a nationally syndicated morning show.

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