The best place to start a discussion about the party platform is to define it. I went to Merriam Webster’s. “A political party platform is a list of the values and actions which are supported by the members of the political party, in order to appeal to the general public, for the ultimate purpose of garnering the general public’s support and votes about complicated topics or issues.”
In other words, the platform informs the public about stances on issues in order to convert new people to them as rallying points. A party platform is not, nor should it be, Martin Luther’s 95 theses. A platform is also not a litmus test to keep others out. If it is used to chase people away, we will lose because we know political parties that aim for inclusion perform well while parties that promote narrow ideologies attract only the support of the insiders.
Others think a party platform tells elected officials what to do – what the governed have agreed to – they think it’s a contract. It isn’t. Most elected officials never intended to adhere to it – and how could they when planks within it are contradictory?
Even though it is not yet time to send up written resolutions, the Republican Party of Texas has begun the process of determining how the platform should be constructed, perhaps because Chairman Tom Mechler saw the long document from 2012 double in size to a 40-page monstrosity of conflicting stances in 2014.
Need an example of contradiction? The platform states the Republican Party’s number one goal should be to limit the expanse of government power before going on to include about fifty planks, many of which call for laws to be written that will increase government control over individual citizens.
We in Bexar Republican Liberty Caucus applaud the Chairman for taking a closer look at the platform’s structure, and we ask other Republicans to consider helping to build a platform on the items that bring us together into the big tent.