GOP Platform Recap: Conservatives Stand Strong in Cleveland

Photo credit: Erik Drost via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: Erik Drost via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Committee on the Platform for the RNC has finished the final draft of the 2016 platform — to be adopted and voted on by the full convention next week. This current platform is a strong statement of conservative principles that unite the Republican Party together. It is conservative across the board — including on social, fiscal, and national defense issues. It’s also the most pro-life platform that the Republican Party has ever had.

Not only did the platform expand on the party’s support of pro-life policies, it also called out the Democratic Party for their extremism on the issue, namely the fact that they have adapted their original abortion mantra — that abortion should be “Safe, Legal, and Rare” — to instead support abortion policies that allow for abortion to be “anywhere and everywhere, unregulated, and paid for by taxpayers.” This is critical because it points the Republican party in the direction of playing offense instead of defense when it comes to abortion policy in America. It is the radical left that is outside the realm of acceptable public policy when it comes to abortion, not conservatives.

Further, the platform now endorses the First Amendment Defense Act — a bill that would prevent the left from being able to use the federal government to criminalize and invidiously discriminate against same-sex marriage dissenters. The platform delegates also successfully beat back the attempts of a small, organized, but clearly ineffective group of LGBT activists within the party.

After the first day of the platform committee meeting, American Principles Project’s president, Frank Cannon, gave a speech to the delegates and RNC Committeemen and women. He stated an obvious, yet understated and underacknowledged observation about the political left — that they can no longer claim the mantle of “liberalism” as they seek to force those who disagree with them to choose between their worldview or second class citizenship. The modern left is more closely related to Mao than Kennedy or even FDR. It is amazing that this has not become more of a story.

But while conservatives may have won this battle, there is still a larger war and another convention in four years. We should remain vigilant and continue fighting.

Terry Schilling is the executive director of American Principles Project.