A Station for Everyone
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Republican Party releases 2024 party platform that outlines Trump’s agenda if elected

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The Republican Party has released its 2024 party platform, outlining Donald Trump's agenda if he is elected. This year's platform is notable for what it includes, like calls to end early voting - also notable for what it does not include, like a federal ban on abortion. NPR's Stephen Fowler has been covering the direction of the Republican Party. Hi there, Stephen.

STEPHEN FOWLER, BYLINE: Hey there.

KELLY: Start with what this document is, what it's going to mean in this election.

FOWLER: Well, it's a document that serves as a summary of the Republican Party's positions on issues ranging from the economy to immigration. I mean, think of it, Mary Louise, like a mission statement for what the party believes, why it believes it and what it believes should be done to change existing policy.

In 2016, it was 60-plus pages of dense text. 2020, Trump ran for reelection, so there wasn't a new platform. Now we've got 16 pages, including brief bullet points and explanations that largely mirror what Trump says on the trail about what he thinks America should be.

KELLY: You just said 16 pages, brief bullet points. What are some of them? What are some of Trump's policy planks for this year's platform?

FOWLER: Immigration is a big one. I mean, it includes his lines about wanting to do the largest ever deportation action on Day 1, to shut down the border, crackdown on non-citizen voting, even though that doesn't happen.

On the economic front, Trump's continued push to increase oil drilling is there, more tax cuts, added tariffs on foreign goods. And on the election front, there's no mention of the false claims that he won the 2020 election but does call for voting reforms like single-day voting and paper ballots, even though that's at odds with what the current Republican Party pushed to, quote, "swamp the vote" will be.

There's also more pie-in-the-sky bits that don't really have much elaboration, like building an iron dome missile defense system over the United States, closing the Department of Education and this line without explanation - promising to, quote, "deport pro-Hamas radicals and make our college campuses safe and patriotic again."

KELLY: OK. I mentioned abortion and what this platform - this policy platform says and does not say about abortion. There's a big change there. Explain.

FOWLER: 2016, the platform mentioned the word abortion 35 times. In 2024, it's just once. And even then, that's referencing opposition to late-term abortions, which is incredibly rare. This official GOP platform says now that states should decide when and how to restrict abortion access. It's reflective of how the Republican Party has been hurt at the ballot box after the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe, especially with the looming possibility in some people's minds that a Trump victory could see a federal abortion ban. This also illustrates the limit of a platform. I mean, there are still plenty of conservatives who disagree with that stance on abortion and access to IVF. And this doesn't change that view or their advocacy.

KELLY: Stephen, let's talk timing. This, of course, is coming with the convention - the Republican National Convention about to happen next week. Where will this policy platform play into that?

FOWLER: Well, practically speaking, Mary Louise, it has to be approved during the business meeting portion of the RNC. This was a process that was conducted this week behind closed doors with the platform committee, without non-committee people being able to observe and weigh in. So there has been some grumbling around the edges, especially after the abortion changes were made.

Politically, it's just a big show of unity on paper for Republicans and Trump at a time when Democrats are in a bit of disarray over President Biden's candidacy. Trump has taken over the Republican Party in just about every way over the last decade, from control of key state parties to the RNC itself. So this is the policy-oriented bow on that relationship.

It's also important to compare and contrast Trump's policies in this platform to the conservative wish list called Project 2025 put forth by The Heritage Project that's got more aggressive ideas about cutting government and rolling back existing rules. Trump's tried to distance himself from that, Mary Louise, but you can see the connections to that here. The bottom line - this platform is Trump's vision for 2024 and his message for the future, and we're going to see that over the next several months of the campaign.

KELLY: NPR's Stephen Fowler in Atlanta. Thank you, Stephen.

FOWLER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Stephen Fowler
Stephen Fowler is a political reporter with NPR's Washington Desk and will be covering the 2024 election based in the South. Before joining NPR, he spent more than seven years at Georgia Public Broadcasting as its political reporter and host of the Battleground: Ballot Box podcast, which covered voting rights and legal fallout from the 2020 presidential election, the evolution of the Republican Party and other changes driving Georgia's growing prominence in American politics. His reporting has appeared everywhere from the Center for Public Integrity and the Columbia Journalism Review to the PBS NewsHour and ProPublica.