How far right can you go?

That seems to be the question the Republican Party platform is raising.  From the NYT:

CLEVELAND — Republicans moved on Tuesday toward adopting a staunchly conservative platform that takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family and child rearing, bars military women from combat, describes coal as a “clean” energy source and declares pornography a “public health crisis.”

It is a platform that at times seems to channel the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump — calling to “destroy ISIS,” belittling President Obama as weak and accusing his administration of inviting attacks from adversaries.

But the document positions itself far to the right of Mr. Trump’s beliefs in other places — and amounts to a rightward lurch even from the party’s hard-line platform in 2012 — especially as it addresses gay men, lesbians and transgender people.

Good Lord.  Coal is many things; clean is not one of them.  And letting women shoot people is not okay, apparently, unless it is bad guys and it’s a state “stand your ground law.”  And pornography, again, is many things.  A public health crisis it’s not.  If it was, I’m pretty sure our hospitals would be overflowing.

What is the Republican Party

Really love this Tom Friedman column because it makes a point I’ve made many times myself:

Finally, if Trump presides over a devastating Republican defeat across all branches of government, the G.O.P. will be forced to do what it has needed to do for a long time: take a time out in the corner. In that corner Republicans could pull out a blank sheet of paper and on one side define the biggest forces shaping the world today — and the challenges and opportunities they pose to America — and on the other side define conservative, market-based policies to address them.

Our country needs a healthy center-right party that can compete with a healthy center-left party.  Right now, the G.O.P. is not a healthy center-right party. [emphases mine]

Amen!  I also do love how Friedman characterized the GOP we have today:

It is a mishmash of religious conservatives; angry white males who fear they are becoming a minority in their own country and hate trade; gun-control opponents; pro-lifers; anti-regulation and free-market small-business owners; and pro- and anti-free trade entrepreneurs.

The party was once held together by the Cold War. But as that faded away it has been held together only by renting itself out to whomever could energize its base and keep it in power — Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, the National Rifle Association. But at its core there was no real common dominator, no take on the world, no real conservative framework.

The party grew into a messy, untended garden, and Donald Trump was like an invasive species that finally just took over the whole thing.

While I do still think it likely Trump will lose, I quite doubt we’ll get the “devastating Republican defeat” that Friedman suggests (and I agree) is needed to bring about genuine change in the Republican party.  I fear we’re stuck with fearful, angry white males and angry social conservatives for some time to come.

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