The New GOP Populism: America On A Precipice

Last night, we witnessed the most consequential speech of Donald Trump’s political career to date. What shone through both his words and the crowd’s reaction: The Republican party has been remodeled by a New York real estate developer and tv personality.

The speech was deeply fatalistic, painting a bleak picture of the economy and the state of American security. He heavily attacked Hillary Clinton, labeling her legacy one of: “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.” Analysts likened Trump’s depiction of the country to a “Mad Max America.”

Trump appears to have engineered a complete shift of the Republican party on some policies. On others, his discourse strayed from the party platform agreed upon just days ago.

On trade, the Republican nominee took a populist stance, advocating against global trade deals and economic cooperation, as he had done throughout the primaries. In contrast, the GOP’s party platform in 2012 was solidly in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.



Following the finalization of the 2016 GOP platform, three days ago, GOP strategist Vin Weber told The Washington Post that Trump’s proposition is “to reverse a Republican stance taken since World War II and embrace the notion of a state-planned economy.”

He reached out to the LGBTQ community, using inclusive language but only assuring their security against a “foreign ideology.” When he mentioned the LGBTQ community, there were unexpected cheers from the attendees.

The Republican platform committee, the party which Trump now leads, was not as easily swayed on this issue as they were on trade. The platform gave a nod to “conversion therapy” for gays, while committing to Republicans appoint judges “who respect traditional family values.”

One might expect that Trump would completely ignore the GOP platform, were he to win the presidency. Then again, who can predict his behavior.

Trump spoke of the economic travails the African American community has faced, accusing Barack Obama of either ignoring the black community or actually making their standard of living worse. He omitted any reference to the numerous killings of unarmed black men by police, a horrifying trend that we saw repeated yesterday morning in Florida.

Trump is attempting to pull at the edges of the Democratic coalition. He speaks of inclusion and being “compassionate to everyone,” but his party’s platform explicitly rejects equal rights for various groups of Americans.

The Trump campaign has made a gamble that what got him this far will propel him across the finish line in November.

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