Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and one of his top advisors, wants to remake the Republican Party platform by condensing it down to a single page. In particular, Kushner wants to jettison several “Culture Wars” planks from the platform.
One of the items he specifically wants to eject is the GOP’s tacit support of ex-gay conversion therapy, a form of psychological torture touted by the religious right as a way to turn an LGBTQ person straight. The practice has been condemned by major medical and psychological associations.
Axios reports that Kushner wants to radically overhaul the bloated platform by slashing all of the Culture War items in favor of “something like the 10 principles we believe in.” While the last platform weighed in at 58 pages, he wants the entire platform to fit on a pocket-sized card.
Kushner wants the party’s core values reduced to a “mission statement” instead of a laundry list of political positions. Campaign insiders pointed out that the party’s 1856 platform was similarly short.
Conversion therapy was specifically mentioned as a topic that needed to go during a meeting with campaign and White House staff.
The 2016 platform didn’t explicitly endorse the controversial practice. Instead it says, “We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.” This has been read as an endorsement of conversion therapy in part because conversion therapy bans generally only apply to minors.
“This is a concept that has been driven by the campaign. A more concise platform is just one of many options being discussed, and it is in fact not a new idea,” said Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s Director of Communications, told Axios.
Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein writes in Bloomberg that Kushner’s plan is doomed to failure, saying, “Good luck with that.”
“He [Kushner] wants a Republican Party platform so short that it can be printed on a ‘single card that fits in people’s pockets.’ This isn’t a new concept, but there’s a reason that platforms have become bloated over time and why this isn’t a fight worth winning,” he wrote.
“If there’s one thing pundits will tell you about party platforms, it’s that they don’t matter. That’s half correct. As electioneering tools, platforms are in fact about as unimportant as can be. After all, the only people who care about them are activists, organized interest groups and other party actors, all of whom are almost certain to vote for the party ticket in November.”
“This is why the platforms are so bloated, and why Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, is unlikely to advance his plan,” he continued. “It’s true that (unlike in 2016) President Donald Trump’s campaign will be in total control of the Republican convention and all its committees, including the platform committee. It will probably get what it wants. But when push comes to shove, hollowing out the platform is certain to anger a lot of Republican party actors. And the gain from doing so is… just about nothing.”