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Opinion | Trump’s fever dream, America’s nightmare

The new Republican platform tells every American what to expect from a second Trump term: four more years of government-by-tweet.

Former President Donald Trump is found guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree in connection with the Stormy Daniels hush money trial case. GDA via AP Images
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After not releasing a platform at all in 2020, the Republican Party just released its official 2024 policy platform this past Monday.

Megan Pratz, the editor of NPR’s Washington desk, wrote that it “reads like the transcript of a Trump rally speech.” She’s pretty much right on target.

After all, the platform’s dedication, “To the Forgotten Men and Women of America,” is taken straight from Trump’s 2017 inaugural address.

But what the new Republican platform really resembles more than anything else are Trump’s tweets. The oddly capitalized words peppered here and there, the doom and gloom framing, it’s all there.

I honestly do suggest you give the new platform a read—the resemblance to Trump’s tweets is that uncanny. Plus, at just 16 pages, it is less than two percent of the size of the Project 2025 handbook.

Like the campus conservatives I knew who would append “Sad!” to the end of their comments, the Republican Party has begun to speak in Trump’s voice now. And it thinks Trump’s thoughts.

Back during the Republican primaries (more accurately, back when people still thought someone without the last name “Trump” could win), a few of my friends were pulling for Nikki Haley.

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America needs a sober, rational person in the White House, they argued. Maybe a twice-elected governor and former UN ambassador could be that person, they thought. After all, she was willing to tell Republican voters that “just because President Trump says something doesn’t make it true.”

Yesterday, Haley encouraged the delegates she won to vote to nominate Donald Trump at the Republican convention next week. One more remnant of a sane(r) Republican Party bent the knee.

At this point, the Republican Party has had countless opportunities to ditch Trump. Every last one was squandered.

It’s been brushed under the rug now but Mitch McConnell himself said Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the January 6 insurrection. Republican Senators could have bitten the bullet and voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, but they didn’t.

Unlike the Democratic primary, the Republican primary this cycle actually could have been competitive: there were serious alternatives to Trump in the running. Republican politicians could have endorsed those candidates, Republican voters could have voted for them. They didn’t.

Even Gov. DeSantis, whom I consider one of the most noxious figures in American politics since David Duke, offered voters a vision of a populist Republican Party without the constant chaos of having Trump actually be in charge. Voters said, “No, we want the mess.”

A common refrain back when Trump was in the White House was “Except his tweets,” or the equally common “But I wish he would tweet less.” Every day Republican politicians were forced to brush off reporters by saying they hadn’t read Trump’s latest tweet.

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The new platform reveals that that was all a farce. There’s no hidden substance. Ever since Trump cinched the nomination in 2016, the Republican platform has just been one big grab bag of grievances. And now that’s official.

Actual substantive policy is nowhere to be seen in the Republican “policy platform.” Inflation? Oh, Trump says he’ll fix that (while also promising tariffs that would supercharge price hikes). Manufacturing jobs? More trade wars will solve that issue (unions go conspicuously without mention).

What is present in spades is culture warmongering, whole-hearted appeals to the American id. The platform shouts that the Republican Party will “CARRY OUT THE LARGEST DEPORTATION OPERATION IN AMERICAN HISTORY” and promises to “ban Taxpayer funding for sex change surgeries.”

Trump’s support of “televised military tribunals” for his political opponents, including insufficiently loyal Republicans like Liz Cheney, isn’t mentioned but that’s presumably just to save on paper.

Really, this shouldn’t be all too surprising. No one, not even Haley anymore, is willing to tell Republican voters that Trump saying something doesn’t make it true.

And despite Trump’s populist posturing, at the end of his four years as president, his only big legislative accomplishment was a massive tax cut for corporations and the 1 percent. But it is still disheartening to see a political party so dominated by the neuroses of one man.

The new Republican platform tells every American what to expect from a second Trump term: four more years of government-by-tweet. Four more years of the “leader of the free world” praising autocrats, trying to cleanse America of the hard-working immigrants he thinks are “poisoning the blood of our country,” and using the federal government as a cudgel against the LGBTQ community and anyone he has a grudge against.

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Tom Homan, who Trump has promised to make director of ICE, put it well when he told the National Conservatism Conference, “They ain’t seen shit yet. Wait until 2025.”

Chance Phillips is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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