Friday, August 5, 2016

A Party Platform Worth Considering

Here’s a party platform I could support, with some tweaks:

• Reject additional tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year, but expand breaks for low- and middle-income workers through tax credits for children, the earned-income tax credit or a new wage subsidy using tax dollars to bring low wages toward the local median level.

• Promote the benefits of global trade agreements, but help displaced workers.

• Rule out fully privatizing Social Security and Medicare, and reassure workers they will be exempt from cost-cutting.

• Acknowledge that universal health care is here to stay, but push for market-oriented changes.

• Disavow mass deportations and promote the economic benefits of legalizing longtime workers who are in the country illegally, but reduce the legal entry of less-skilled immigrants.

It might surprise you that these platform planks are part of the “Reformocon” movement of disenchanted conservative Republicans, as described in a New York Times article Friday (

It’s a long-shot that any of these more sober thoughts will become anything more than heresy to Grand Old Party poobahs (second time in a week I’ve used that mildly deprecating description of Republican leaders, but who cares, it fits). Yet it is revealing that some within the party are even thinking it is common sense to make the GOP appeal more universal.

Democrats should welcome such an overture. Perhaps the country would be able to return to what truly were “good old days” when politicians reached across the aisle to forge legislation that benefitted all, not just the rich and entitled. Back in those “good old days” the Second Amendment didn’t mean a gun, especially not an assault rifle, in every home. Nor did it mean taxes couldn’t be raised to fund infrastructure projects and other needs. Nor did it mean Roe v. Wade was the litmus test for Supreme Court appointees. Nor did it mean a presidential candidate could suggest not complying with NATO treaty defense obligations, or suggest Russia spy on an opponent, or suggest the military engage in torture. 

Yes, those were good old days. Trumpsters, however, will not go down easily in defeat. Donald Trump is seeding thoughts of a rigged election, oblivious to the facts that voter fraud has been found to be almost non existent. Federal appeals courts have repeatedly invalidated tighter voter identification laws enacted by states based on the alleged premise that voter fraud has been rampant. 

Elections at the state level are a supervised by appointees of each governor. There are 31 Republican governors, 19 Democrats. In the 11 so-called battleground states that may decide the presidential election, Democrats are governor in just four: Colorado, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Their states account for 51 Electoral College votes. Republicans are governors in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin. Those states have 100 Electoral College votes. 

For Trump to claim the election is rigged, his own party’s election machinery would have to be conspiring against him. If only that were so …