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‘Needless provocation’: Trump campaign moves to evict pro-lifers from the GOP
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‘Needless provocation’: Trump campaign moves to evict pro-lifers from the GOP

For the first time since 1980, conservative activists have been shut out of the platform-writing process.

Christian and pro-life Republicans are bracing for a betrayal in Milwaukee when Republican National Committee members gather the week ahead of the convention to hammer out and vote on a party platform. Word is spreading around town that the Trump campaign wants a smaller, simplified party platform — one that excludes (or at least waters down) the pro-life plank.

The 2016 platform, which was used again in 2020, states: “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”

Similar language has been included since Ronald Reagan was nominated in 1980. Now, that forceful stance is on the chopping block.

The moves, planned in secret, are intended to broaden former President Donald Trump’s appeal but risk backfiring badly, fracturing the party and dominating RNC headlines.

Warning signs abound. For the first time since conservatives forced entry into the party’s back rooms in 1980, activists have been barred from the proceedings. Those original activists, spearheaded by the late conservative legend Phyllis Schlafly, knew that sunlight disinfected the closed-door process — and fought to keep that light shining.

Exorcising the socially conservative parts of the platform won’t bring in new voters, but it will alienate committed voters.

Worse yet, the party has barred media, including C-SPAN, from Platform Committee deliberations. While media have never had access to the smaller subcommittee meetings held in the lead-up to the Platform Committee meeting, barring cameras from capturing the arguments and stands of the 112 committee members is a serious break in precedent — and a serious cause for worry.

Next, the campaign seized control of the process. There are 2,429 delegates to the convention, and each state and territory gets to nominate some of their numbers to the Platform Committee and to its subcommittees.

“When the Trump campaign was working with state parties to name delegates, absolute loyalty to whatever platform changes the Trump campaign wanted was a mandatory qualification,” one person familiar with the matter told Blaze News. It was an “unprecedented” level of “command and control.”

“We're being shut out for the first time,” Catholic Vote director of public affairs and Platform Committee veteran Tom McClusky told Blaze News. “At the state level, delegates with strong pro-life credentials are being blocked and replaced. … It’s a series of troubling occurrences that make me wary for when we see the language.”

“It isn’t just pro-life stuff,” another person long connected to the process told Blaze News, pointing to the former president’s turn away from the defense of traditional marriage.

“But the fundamental problem is unlike any campaign in the past; they’re insisting this is the campaign’s platform,” the convention veteran said. “It's not: It's supposed to be the party’s platform. Until you address that, the rest is just circumstantial.”

It’s unusual for a campaign to make these sorts of demands. No administration since Richard Nixon’s in 1972 has worked so imperiously to exert itself over the process. That’s not to say there haven’t been fights, but they came with pushback from the ground up. When then-Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) demanded that the pro-life aspects of the platform be watered down during his ill-fated presidential bid, independent-minded committeemen ( and a little staff sabotage) aborted his plans.

The problem for pro-lifers today, McClusky dryly notes, is that Trump generates a lot more excitement and loyalty than Dole, then-Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mitt Romney, or George W. Bush did. And the campaign is counting on that.

"Unfortunately the votes are probably not there to prevent changes," one activist said. "As of right now, they are planning to simplify and stick to the president's 10th Amendment [back-to-the-states] language, which is going to really anger the pro-life people no matter what."

There’s a point to the platform. It’s long and complicated but represents a thousand party interests, with all of them paying in.

More, it’s a useful tool to organize. For example: The IRS allows churches to post the platform, even if they’re technically not allowed to endorse candidates. Evangelical Republican activist Ralph Reed mastered this in decades past, sending out portions of the Democrat and Republican platforms and allowing them to speak for themselves.

“That’s the problem,” another person familiar with the process explained to Blaze News. “Trump people marched in, said, 'We’re running this show. Now, how does this show work?'"

And it’s essential to understand that changing the platform doesn't deter Democrats’ attacks. The campaign of Joe Biden or Kamala Harris (or whomever) is going to paint Donald Trump as anti-abortion, anti-contraceptive, and anti-woman. You can bet the house on that. So what is stripping it from the platform actually going to achieve?

The short answer is a lot of things Republicans don’t need to be dealing with right now. Trump has unified the Republican Party. Democrats are in total meltdown. Exorcising the socially conservative parts of the platform won’t bring in new voters, but it will alienate committed voters. What’s more, it will hijack the proceedings, and the infighting will dominate headlines. Conservatives are already clamoring about the rumored changes, and people and organizations new to the process are suddenly making noise about it.

“There are people who have never worked on the platform suddenly caring for the platform,” McClusky said, citing groups like Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America and Students for Life.

That is not to say that conservatives can’t live with an altered platform — just not one that kicks abortion entirely to the states without tackling the federal government’s active, 50-year role in abortions at home and abroad.

“No one in their heart of hearts can believe there is no federal role,” McClusky explained. “The federal government has been pro-abortion since Roe v. Wade, sending billions of dollars toward abortions. At the very, very, very least, Donald Trump should call for neutrality at the federal level — that he will not block states and that he will stop subsidizing abortion.”

“You can change the language to say we’re working toward a culture that accepts a pro-life stand and, at that point, a constitutional amendment, but if you walk away from backing a constitutional amendment, it will deflate a lot of pro-lifers.”

The first sign delegates can look to will be Sunday, when they arrive at the welcome reception. There’s no rule that they have to be given a party platform to read over that night, but it would be highly unusual if they weren’t — and a sign that the authors don’t to give much time to read it at all.

"It's going to come in a tricky way,” one of the conservative activists working on the issue predicted. “Here's how it’s going to play out: The Trump campaign is going to have the RNC delegates introduce a pre-written platform, and it’s going to be streamlined and it's not going to include any of the abortion language. Then the committees will deliberate for one or two days, and they'll make changes and add amendments, but we've looked through the list and it's stacked for the campaign. The campaign really thinks abortion is going to kill us this year.”

A streamlined platform “makes a nice, clean platform,” one platform veteran said, “but it makes a sterile platform.”

“It’s like Jenga,” McClusky explained. “If you take a piece out, and Trump nominates a bad vice president like [Gov.] Doug Burgum, then suddenly pro-lifers realize they don’t have a party any more.”

“I don’t think the people writing the platform understand the significance of the platform.”

“We don't have a majority to keep it,” one activist worried, “so the hope is the Trump language isn't as bad, or it is bad and you pull together 30, 35 delegates to amend the language. We’re willing to accept some watering down of the language so long as it maintains the message. You need to throw a bone to these people. It's just a needless provocation.”

“They don’t have to do this! The Democrats are going to spend a billion in attack ads regardless, so you're not gaining — you're just losing. You've got the party united behind you. This divides the party.”

National Review: For guidance on ensuring a good Republican platform, look to the past

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The fire rises: The Daily Caller News Foundation: Communist Party talent program scooped up former Microsoft researchers. Now they work in China’s AI industry.

China has no greater ally or asset in the United States than our own greedy corporations. Some of them are even dumb enough to brag about it. Will Kessler reports:

...Microsoft boasted in a 2016 news release that 20 alumni of its Asian research institute, called Microsoft Research Asia, had been selected for membership in the Thousand Talents Program. Through Chinese-language news reports, the DCNF identified six prominent former Microsoft researchers who went on to join the CCP’s Thousand Talents Program while working for China-based companies and universities.


More than 10,000 scientists have been recruited as part of the program, former CIA Senior Intelligence Service member William Hannas told The New York Times.

“This isn’t just any old recruitment program that recruits and trains technologists like we would have in America,” Geoffrey Cain, an author and journalist who’s spent a decade investigating Microsoft in China, told the DCNF. “This is a communist party-run project to ensure that China can achieve technological supremacy over the Western liberal democratic world.”

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Christopher Bedford

Christopher Bedford

Christopher Bedford is the senior editor for politics and Washington correspondent for Blaze Media.
@CBedfordDC →