Political Party Platforms: Do They Really Matter?

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A committee of party insiders met for two days this week to write the Republican platform. It's expected to be adopted by the convention in Tampa next Monday. But the party chairman, Reince Priebus has already made it clear that it's "the platform of the Republican Party. It's not the platform of Mitt Rommey." Party platforms contain language to appease insiders, even though that carries the risk of political damage. In Tampa this week, the Platform Committee's anti-abortion plank revealed a split within the Republican Party and a potential threat to support from Independents. Advocacy of a flat tax and abolition of mortgage relief might also look too extreme. The Democrats will have to explain the embrace of same-sex marriage. When provisions cater to narrow constituencies, will politicians try to enact them if they're elected? Will the platforms have long-term influence once the conventions are over?




Warren Olney