FROM Russ Walker
Political Party Platforms: Do They Really Matter? 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?
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.