Is There A GOP Without Trump?

The lack of party platform and emphasis on cultural grievance placed the spotlight on Donald Trump as the Republican Party faded to the background of the RNC.

Last week’s Republican National Convention made headlines for its lack of a party policy platform.

“Most voters are far less ideological and far less interested in policy than ever before.” — Tim Alberta, journalist

The event and its speakers instead focused on supporting President Donald Trump and drawing on cultural resentment to engage the base. 

Listen: Political experts breakdown the platform-less, Trump-heavy Republican National Convention.


Tim Alberta, chief political correspondent at Politico, recently wrote a piece about the absence of a Republican party platform. He says that policy was missing, and intentionally so, from the convention. The decision Alberta says is stunning and yet not all that surprising given the coalescence between Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

“The basic reality is Donald Trump is the Republican Party and the Republican Party is Donald Trump,” says Alberta. According to Alberta, Trump’s drawing on grievance rather than policy is a key part of the President’s political success. “Trump realized something fundamental about the electorate and particularly about the Right: most voters are far less ideological and far less interested in policy than ever before.”

“The base of the Republican Party right now is motivated by cultural grievance.” — Adrian Hemond, Grassroots Midwest

John Sellek is the President and CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs. He says Trump’s persona is essential to his success, especially with the emotional venting going on with many voters. The absence of policy is something that may help Trump tap into this venting of grievance, but it doesn’t necessarily set the Republican party up for a strong future. “Is the lack of a platform that you have to be wedded to good for Trump? Yeah, it’s great for Trump, but is it good for the party in the long run? It’s not,” says Sellek. 

Adrian Hemond is partner and CEO at Grassroots Midwest. He says Trump owes much of his political success to his personality and his ability to tap into grievance.

“The base of the Republican Party right now is motivated by cultural grievance,” says Hemond. The president, according to Hemond, is particularly attuned to the swell of cultural grievance and has governed by this brand of politics. 

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