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GOP Unveils Trumpian Platform—And Rankles Some Social Conservatives

The manifesto is the first party platform since 2016.

Credit: Evan El-Amin

The Republican Party unveiled its 2024 platform on Monday ahead of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin next week.

A draft of the platform obtained by The American Conservative, titled “2024 GOP Platform,” bears the long-time slogan of the former President Donald Trump as its subtitle: “Make America Great Again!” It’s an appropriate subtitle for the party’s platform, which reflects Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party. Nevertheless, tensions on some issues remain—particularly on the issue of abortion.


The draft platform takes Trumpian tones, down to the eccentric capitalization of important words, on immigration, trade, foreign policy, and other policy arenas. In a far cry from the pre-Trump GOP’s attitudes, immigration takes center stage in the draft platform and is woven throughout. “SEAL THE BORDER, AND STOP THE MIGRANT INVASION,” the draft platform reads, “CARRY OUT THE LARGEST DEPORTATION OPERATION IN AMERICAN HISTORY.” 

On trade, the platform states, “Our Trade deficit in goods has grown to over $1 Trillion Dollars a year. Republicans will support baseline Tariffs on Foreign-made goods, pass the Trump Reciprocal Trade Act, and respond to unfair Trading practices. As Tariffs on Foreign Producers go up, Taxes on American Workers, Families, and Businesses can come down.” On foreign policy, “Republicans will promote a Foreign Policy centered on the most essential American Interests, starting with protecting the American Homeland, our People, our Borders, our Great American Flag, and our Rights under God,” the platform says, and vows to “PREVENT WORLD WAR THREE, RESTORE PEACE IN EUROPE AND IN THE MIDDLE EAST.” 

The Trump campaign sent a release announcing the RNC Platform Committee had adopted Trump’s platform. “President Trump’s platform serves as a contract with the American voter that makes clear what we can and will deliver under a President Trump administration with the Republican Party leading the country for the next four years,” the release read in part. It underlined 20 major points expressed in the platform, such as the above provisions on border security and deportations, as well as ending the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. 

This would also be the first GOP platform since the Trump-led overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Prior to the RNC Platform Committee’s meeting, the Trump campaign laid the groundwork for potentially changing the GOP platform’s abortion provisions, fearing that Democrats could savage Republicans on the issue on the campaign trail. The Trump campaign got to work seeking to appoint and secure the support of platform committee members on the proposed abortion moderation. Trump advisers went about selecting and whipping platform committee delegates.


The 2016 platform, previously the most recent GOP manifesto, refers to “abortion” 35 times throughout its 66 pages. In the 2024 platform draft, which spans just 16 pages, abortion is only mentioned once, in reference to the GOP’s opposition to late term abortions. 

Under the header “Government of, by, and for the people,” the ninth chapter of the 2024 draft platform reads, in part, that “Republicans Will Protect and Defend a Vote of the People, from within the States, on the Issue of Life. We proudly stand for families and Life. We believe that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that no person can be denied Life or Liberty without Due Process, and that the States are, therefore, free to pass Laws protecting those Rights.”

“After 51 years, because of us, that power has been given to the States and to a vote of the People. We will oppose Late Term Abortion, while supporting mothers and policies that advance Prenatal Care, access to Birth Control, and IVF (fertility treatments),” the draft continues.

Before the 2024 draft platform’s release, pro-life organizations prepared for even less success. “If the Trump campaign decides to remove national protections for the unborn in the GOP platform, it would be a miscalculation that would hurt party unity and destroy pro-life enthusiasm between now and the election,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, claimed in a statement last week. 

“If the GOP is for 9 of 10 abortions…and the Democrats for 10 of 10 abortions, there is no real pro-life option,” Students for Life Action tweeted

Students for Life Action’s president, Kristan Hawkins, said “Pray for the GOP platform committee” in a quote tweet. In another tweet before the draft platform was released, Hawkins said, “RNC Platform Members that were actually allowed to join the Platform Committee are still waiting to start work as word is Trump is still editing the platform. It is completely unnecessary & harmful for President Trump to try to single-handily change the GOP’s entire platform.”

Some changed their tune, however, upon the draft’s circulation. “The GOP has announced the 2024 Party Platform, stating that the 14th Amendment “guarantees” legal protection for the preborn,” Hawkins said in another tweet. “This is a significant contribution to the fight for legal rights for ALL!”

It’s quite the change from 2016. Gone are provisions that advocate for a 20-week federal limit on abortions or argue that life begins at conception. The final product appears to be the result of the Trump campaign’s discrete effort to exercise control of the platform process.

Nevertheless, Hawkins may not be wrong for celebrating. Though the proposed platform’s abortion provisions are much shorter, moderate, and logically inconsistent, it is an olive branch the Trump campaign probably did not need to extend.

When it came time for the platform’s delegates to discuss and vote on the draft platform, the Trump campaign had near-total control of the process. Not only were the delegates hand-selected by the Trump campaign, but sources familiar with the matter told TAC that the Trump campaign drafted the text unilaterally, unveiling the text to the delegates when the meeting convened Monday morning. The amendment process, which was previously reported to take place on Tuesday, was canned.

“The platform process was rigged from the start,” one source familiar with the matter told TAC. “The RNC stacked the delegates (they even booted several delegates they felt were too committed to the pro-life issue) and handled drafting of the document unilaterally.”

The source added that the Trump camp at the platform meeting “took almost zero input from conservative stakeholders,” and “refused to show delegates the language until the morning of—and then blocked amendments, turning the whole thing into an up or down vote.” 

“Everyone left with a sour taste in their mouths. Just a disappointing process all around,” the source concluded.

The platform is headed for a vote by the convention’s delegates next week.