mueller25_PAUL RATJEAFP via Getty Images_trumpsupportersrally Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

The Parties Must Go On

Amid the tawdry spectacle of the Republican Party behaving like a subsidiary of the Trump Organization, one shocking aspect stands out: the party has no platform. The GOP's transformation into an ideas-free cult of personality is bad news not just for US conservatives, but also for the American political system.

BERLIN – The recent Republican National Convention was scandalous for many reasons – from the misuse of the White House as a campaign prop (in violation of the Hatch Act and longstanding norms) and the brazen mendacity of its speakers, to the parade of Trump family members. Amid the tawdry spectacle of the GOP being transformed into a subsidiary of the Trump Organization, one shocking aspect stood out: the party offered no platform. The Republicans’ only purpose, apparently, is “to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.”

On one level, eschewing a policy platform can be read as a smart strategy to insulate the party from Donald Trump the person. In the event that Trump is defeated in November, members of the GOP establishment can wash their hands of it, claiming that it was only an unpopular leader who lost; the party’s long-standing principles remain sound.

But a more plausible interpretation is that the toxic mix of polarization and hyper-partisanship in America has reached a new level of concentration. Having been completely hollowed out, at least one of the country’s main political parties no longer fulfills its basic democratic function.

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