The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Platform Fights Are the Political Equivalent of Fantasy Football

No offense to the fine reporters covering the arguments about the GOP party platform in Cleveland, but I don’t particularly care. I don’t particularly care if the platform declares pornography to be a “public health crisis”, or whether it includes the acronym “LGBT” or whether it specifically recognize that gay people are targets of the Islamic State or whether it warns about the dangers of an electromagnetic pulse or whether it encourages states to teach the Bible as a literature elective in public schools. 

I don’t particularly care because the platform isn’t binding on any candidate or officeholder, and represents an entirely symbolic list of party principles, philosophies, priorities and ideas. Getting an idea mentioned in the platform doesn’t even guarantee that any member of the party will introduce the idea as legislation in the following year.

You know what a faction of the party wins when it gets its pet issue or cause mentioned in the official platform? A mention in the party platform. Most Republican officials never even read the party platform, much less take direction from it.

Those who are most invested in the platform are those who haven’t won the nomination and want some official recognition for their priorities and agenda. It’s the political equivalent of fantasy football, an activist’s participation trophy. A platform mention and a couple of dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. 

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