Reader's View: Republicans are the ones now extreme
Concurrent with Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Duluth, six Iron Range mayors issued a statement saying the Democratic Party “has moved so far to the left.” It’s true that one of our major political parties has moved far from the center — but it’s not the Democratic Party (“ Iron Range mayors pitch Trump with Pence ,” Aug. 28).
The Manifesto Project reviews political party manifestos, or party platforms, in western Europe and North America. These documents lay out a party’s goals and policy ideas. In a report issued last year, the project found the Democratic Party to be closely positioned to mainstream liberal parties abroad but the Republican Party positioned far to the right of mainstream conservative parties (like Germany’s Christian Democratic Party). The Republican Party was found to be even to the right of erstwhile far-right parties like France’s National Rally, formerly National Front. It was closest to today’s far-right parties like Alternative for Germany, whose platforms contain blatant xenophobic and anti-Muslim sentiments.
Professor Thomas Greven of the Free University of Berlin said that the main commonality was that the parties position themselves as defenders of the “traditional” people from globalization and immigration.
The project will be stymied in evaluating the Republicans’ 2020 party platform — because an updated platform doesn’t exist. A conscious decision was made to adopt the same platform used in 2016. This allows President Donald Trump to define his party’s positions. In a sense, today’s Republicans are not so much members of a traditional political party as they seem to be adherents to a political personality cult.
Roger B. Day