Here are 13 planks in the GOP's real 2020 platform that Republicans are afraid to highlight: conservative journalist
Donald Trump appears at the Republican National Convention (C-SPAN/screen grab)

With the Republican National Convention now underway, the GOP has opted not to publish a party platform for 2020. But according to conservative Never Trump journalist David Frum, the Republican Party does have a 2020 platform — although it’s so extreme that Republicans are afraid to publish it. Frum, in a scathing listicle published in The Atlantic on August 25, lays out what he describes as “13 ideas that command almost universal assent within the Trump Administration, within the Republican caucuses of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, among governors and state legislators, on Fox News, and among rank-and-file Republicans.”


Frum, one of Trump’s vehement critics on the right, disagrees with pundits who “conclude that the GOP lacks ideas, that it stands for nothing, that it has shriveled to little more than a Trump cult.” The GOP of 2020, Frum argues, does have a “coherent platform” of ideas that are “broadly shared” within the party, but they are so terrible and so unpopular outside Trump’s hardcore base that Republicans won’t come right out and publish the platform.

Those ideas, according to Frum, range from “coronavirus is a much-overhyped problem” and “climate change is a much-overhyped problem” to “the most important mechanism of economic policy…. is adjusting the burden of taxation on society’s richest citizens.” Others include “voting is a privilege” and “the trade and alliance structures built after World War II are outdated.”

Another unpublished part of the GOP’s 2020 platform, according to Frum, is that “health care is a purchase like any other.” Party leaders, Frum writes, believe that “individuals should make their own best deals in the insurance market with minimal government supervision. Those who pay more should get more. Those who cannot pay must either rely on Medicaid, accept charity, or go without.”

Other unpublished planks in the GOP’s 2020 platform, Frum writes, include “China has become an economic and geopolitical adversary of the United States,” “the post-Watergate ethics reforms overreached” and “anti-black racism has ceased to be an important problem in American life” as well as “Trump’s border wall is the right policy to slow illegal immigration” and “the courts should move gradually and carefully toward eliminating the mistake made in 1965 when women’s sexual privacy was elevated into a constitutional right.”

Frum wraps up his list with #12 — “The country is currently gripped by a surge of crime and lawlessness as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement and its criticism of police” — and #13: “Civility and respect are cherished ideals, but in the face of the overwhelming and unfair onslaught against President Trump by the media and the Deep State, his occasional excesses on Twitter and at his rallies should be understood as pardonable reactions to much more severe misconduct by others.”

Since those 13 planks really do comprise the GOP platform of 2020, Frum argues, why not publish them? And Frum answers his own question, explaining, “The platform I’ve just described, like so much of the Trump/Republican program, commands support only among a minority of the American people. The platform works — to the extent it does work — by exciting enthusiastic support among Trump supporters. But stated too explicitly, it invites a backlash among the American majority. This is a platform for a party that talks to itself, not to the rest of the country.”