Top 5 Planks of 2016 GOP Platform? Torture, War, Bank Corruption, Paid-For Elections

By Juan Cole | —

This week, the release by the Senate of a report on torture as practiced in the zeroes by the CIA, along with Thursday night’s dramatic vote on an omnibus spending bill, laid bare the shape of the GOP platform in 2016. (Some Democrats were dragooned into voting for the spending bill, but key provisions or riders were clearly inserted by the GOP). However much the party or its members deny it, the practical actions and concrete words of party leaders make clear their priorities.

1. With a few noble exceptions like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Republican Party spokesmen, Republican politicians, and Republican media like Fox Cable News, defended torture. This defense was mounted from so many directions by so many Republicans that it now seems indisputable that the party stands for the principle of rectal hydration. Since torture is illegal in American law, presumably they want to repeal the 5th and 8th amendments to the constitution.

2. The Republican Party stands for the principle that elections should be stolen by the rich who pay the most for them. The new bill multiplies permitted donations by a factor of ten.

3. The GOP wants the US taxpayer to be made to bail out risky, casino-like “derivatives.” After the 2008 crash, caused by some corrupt Wall Street financiers stealing our money, Congress had removed FDIC protection from the riskier derivatives. The GOP, plotting in smoke filled rooms far from the light, just put the taxpayer right back in the sights the next time the bankers need a bailout. The provision was actually written by CitiBank, which won’t get my business. They think, much better to gamble with the taxpayers’ money; they would, but why would GOP lawmakers agree to be their ventriloquist’s dummy?

4. The bill blocks aid to the Palestine authority if it becomes a member of UN agencies without Israeli permission. Palestine has been recognized as a non-member observer state at the UN, and is gradually joining key committees. It likely will sign the Rome Statute, join the International Criminal Court, and sue Israel for war crimes. But in the fantasyland of Congress, none of this may be allowed to happen. The PA has other sources of money than the US, and all this provision does is further weaken the ability of the US to do effective diplomacy.

5. This fall, most Republicans ran on putting troops back into Iraq and getting even more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war than the US already is. This is a plank in their platform that leads to sanguinary wars.

These, then, are the major issues on which the GOP is running for the presidency in 2016. They underline that the party represents the 3 million wealthiest Americans, and has no scruples that might interfere in doing exactly what the 1% tells them to do.

But do these planks really amount to the platform Americans want to vote for in 2016? On the surface, no. But time shall tell.


Related video:

WCVB Channel 5 Boston “Sen. Elizabeth Warren bashes bill favoring big banks”

22 Responses

  1. If torture is bad, certainly droning people all over the Islamic world is bad. Will extrajudicial killing be a plank of the DNC platform in 2016?

    • How do you feel about the GOP promising to deliberately provoke war with Iran, Russia and China simultaneously? We can survive some crimes, but not others.

  2. I’m not a fortune teller, but 2015 already looks like a terrible year. Americans maybe to broke, also sick and tired of torture and war to vote in 2016.

  3. I would also add that pretty high on the list is the destruction of the planet. The GOP is drooling over Keystone XL, over gutting the EPA, and continues to deny the existential crisis that is human driven destabilization of the climate. This is a particularly bizarre stance for a party whose constituency is often rural and depends on agriculture for their livelihood (hence a stable climate), or gun owners many of whom are outdoorsmen who one would expect would want to protect the environment. I am hopeful that these constituencies might eventually come around on the need for a stable climate, but will it be in time to prevent a global meltdown of the eco-system and all that will entail? What is more dubious is whether they have enough of a voice within their party, and whether they have a willingness to risk breaking the apparent party orthodoxy that denies this impending crisis.

  4. It’s not just the Republicans serving as ventriloquist’s dummies. Obama, the Foamer-in-Chief, has hardly been unfriendly to Wall Street. The resistance by some Democrats to the spending bill is exposing significant internal rifts within the party, and this post obscures them with a too-easy Republican vs. Democrat analysis.

  5. DE Lacey

    But Dems are also cool with torture, war & bank corruption & haven’t done crap on paid-for elections. They need the $$ @unitedrep

  6. This is just another skid down the slippery slope of the Empire’s decline and probable fall. But don’t look for Elizabeth Warren to come to the rescue:

    “Reality, Politics and Elizabeth Warren: The Dark Side of the Liberals’ Darling” by ROBERT FANTINA – link to

    The system is already on life support, and the quacks are running the emergency room:

    “How We Lost Our “Freedom”: And Why We Need It Back” by ANDREW LEVINE – link to

  7. I think that the Democrats have an excellent chance to take back the government if those are the planks the GOP was to run upon. All those planks appeal to relatively narrow interests among the plutocracy. By running a platform that appeals to a broader spectrum of plutocrats, I think the Democrats have it.

    • “All those planks appeal to relatively narrow interests among the plutocracy.”

      The problem is, Shannon, that while the GOP does run on the planks Juan pointed out (and all too many Dems as well), they don’t actually “run” on them. They hide and obfuscate under the catch phrases of Empire and Capitalism. Hence for torture read “a few bad apples”, “enhanced interrogation”, etc.; for war read “protecting national interests”, etc.; for bank corruption read “deregulation” or “getting government off the backs of the populus Americanus”; for purchased elections read “exercise of First Amendment Freedoms”.

      The GOP is hand in glove with the “You Did Not See What You Just Saw Industry” which include powerful corporate and media interests (Dems are the same, just not on crack like the GOP). They are pretty good at convincing people that soda doesn’t make you fat, the earth is in a cooling phase, and having a gun in the house will keep you safe.

      Polls show, unfortunately, that all too many Americans still believe torture is the way to go, and that we should go back into Iraq. The Dems are pretty feckless these days, and the only good thing I have to say about them is at least they’ve managed in a few states to help legalize weed, Gay marriage, and improve access to health care. On a national level? You can have ‘em (with only a few exceptions).

  8. The Republicans won’t be able to win on that plank even though their base supports war, torture and billionaires trying buy elections. What they need is to win FLORIDA and to a lesser extent the block of southwestern states–Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada (20 electoral votes). In other words, a healthy percentage of the Latino vote. They can’t win in 2016 without Florida. There is no way they can lose those 27 electoral votes–a 54 vote switch and hope to win the White House. It will be very interesting to see if the Republicans recognize this 21st century truth OR they walk into another sure defeat. Personally, I think they should be begging Jeb Bush to run.

    Hillary may get challenged but she is also VERY popular with Latinos. In 2008, she won the popular vote in the Texas primary even though Obama CRUSHED her in Austin, Dallas and Houston. But she mauled him in the Rio Grande Valley and EVERY Texas city with a majority Latino population.

    Whoever wins the Latino vote in 2016 will probably win the election.

    • Hillary may get challenged but she is also VERY popular with Latinos.

      So was Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General of the United States.

        • Where did you get your meretricious nonsense about “being elected”? The original comment referred to the POPULARITY of Hillary. That is what I referred to having in mind the support Gonzales got from La Raza and other Latino organizations?

        • Mr. Bodden, you’re too fast to attack blacks and Latinos for the sin of supporting the system. As a practical matter, Gonzales will not be on a ballot, and neither will the token black creeps that the GOP allows to run in a few early primaries every 4 years.

          If you want change in the future, it won’t come from people like yourself, because there just aren’t many white progressives. A minority takeover of the Democratic Party is the only place the numbers can come from to supplant the corporate centrists, and a minority takeover and revival of the labor movement is the only base from which successful anti-capitalist politics has ever come. If you don’t feel like it’s worth trying to persuade the Others to also adopt your positions on war because they’re too patriotic and greedy, then you might as well give up because either minorities will supplant white power or there will be a civil war.

        • 390: Where do you get your meretricious nonsense about my attacking blacks? Your reference to blacks is the only one on this thread. As for the rest of your comments, they strike me as just making a case for accepting the sordid status quo. I recently read a history of WWI. The anti-war group had next to no impact, but they tried to inject some sanity into European thought. Acceptors of the system helped to facilitate that monstrous disaster, just as their modern counterparts will help create descent into another hell.

          I may very likely be on the “losing” side, but I’ll be in the best company possible..

  9. Basema Salman

    This list could be extended considerably–social conservativism, racial profiling, women’s repression . . . it goes on and on.

  10. When Obama was elected he said he was going to look forward not backward. As a consequence Eric Place-Holder didn’t prosecute anybody for financial crimes, nor for torture.
    Obama and most of the Democrats is as much complicit in financial and war crimes as the Republicans. I think Yves Smith characterized the Democratic Party as a “roach motel for progressives”. That surely is the case!

  11. Of much greater concern than the GOP platform is the high probability that a majority of Americans will vote for it.

    • Maybe a majority of Americans WHO VOTE will. Gotta love the faux legitimacy we idiot subjects of the Empire give to our rulers by “electing” them and giving them the ability to argue that they have a “mandate” to screw us and the rest of the planet…

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