What does it mean to be a Republican?

What does it mean to be a member of the Republican Party? What do Republicans believe?

Every four years, each political party drafts a platform. The platform might be discarded before the ink on it is dry, but for a time anyway, it serves as a testament to what the party stands for. Hammering out a party platform can be contentious. Divergent views on differing issues make for healthy intra-party debate. Eventually, though, party leaders reach a compromise on a set of shared principles and values that bind the party together and define it to the people.

The Republican Party did not write a party platform this year. Why not? Perhaps the party doesn't have any shared principles and values it want to commit to paper. That's not likely. Maybe it's because the party wants to appear so homogeneous that it finds it a waste of time to trifle with memorializing a platform. But then, surely there are Republicans who don't like tariffs, import quotas or trade wars. Surely there are Republicans who are appalled at a $3.3 trillion debt. Surely there are Republicans who still believe that international alliances form the bulwark for maintaining peace. Surely there are Republicans who abhor the idea of the U.S. military being deployed against American citizens on American soil. So why aren't these Republicans making their views known? Are they frightened of being singled out and punished by their political leader, who disdains the principles they embrace?

Maybe so. The Republican Party now says there is no need to draft a platform because the party is unanimous in "enthusiastically supporting the agenda" of their political leader, Donald Trump. This despite the fact that the president has not been able to articulate in English what his agenda for a second term might be.

So I end up where I started. What does it mean to be a member of the Republican Party? What do Republicans believe?

— Scott Newton

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