WASHINGTON—So, you are undoubtedly asking yourself, "What does this new Republican Party, so chaotically forged in Cleveland, stand for?"
I know, I know. I ungrammatically ended a sentence with a preposition. But in this post-apocalyptic world of Donald Trump, do rules really matter?
After the elephant-ear hats worn by would-be adults, the braying of angry speakers about their hatred of Hillary Clinton, chants to jail her, Melania's plagiarized passages and the whinnying of Trump that all press is good press, we are left with precious few details on how the Republican presidential nominee would create good jobs and bolster economic growth.
Forget the unbuildable wall paid for by Mexico. Won't happen. Forget deportations of 11 million immigrants. Impossible. Forget the ban on Muslims. Unconstitutional.
If you look beyond the balloons and the confetti, the bombast and the controversies, the Trump campaign's absolute denial that the GOP convention was anything but perfect, the insistence that it's all the media's fault, the few specifics laid out by this strange, new "Republican" Party are, in a word, terrifying.
If the bulk of Americans leaning to Trump knew what the party's new principles and policies are, they would reject them. Soundly. But, increasingly, presidential campaigns are sound-and-light extravaganzas, and specifics don't matter.
Trump supporters—and there are many—like his "toughness," also known as rudeness and bullying. They like his candor, although he has told endless lies, all documented. They applaud his refusal to bend to conventional politeness.
But enough about Trump. Let's get down to the freshly minted Republican statement of its beliefs and stands on issues.
Aside from the miasma of prejudice and bigotry that clings to all 66 pages of the party's official platform document, Trump's party has turned its back on the benefits of free trade and wants the United States to curl up into an isolationist ball. While this may temporarily soothe workers whose jobs have disappeared abroad, it is a sharp slap to American farmers and manufacturers who will face retaliation and fewer sales.
While the rest of America is becoming more tolerant and accepting of gay, lesbian and transgender people, Trump's homophobic party platform is painfully regressive. It smiles on people who would discriminate. It permits states to deny bathroom services to people they don't like. Frankly, it would put into practice hateful, prejudicial behaviors and reject civil rights gains, including the Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage.
Immigration reform such as figuring out a way that undocumented immigrants who have jobs and families and pay taxes and mortgages may stay here is anathema to this Trump platform's statement of objectives. The GOP's once-vaunted big tent has turned into a pup tent.
With millions of women dubious about Trump, the new GOP statement of principles bans all abortions, even for rape and incest. Health care would become far more difficult to get. Women soldiers trained for combat would be forbidden to do their jobs, sending them to the bottom of the ladder.
Climate change is ridiculed as a fantasy, despite near 100 percent agreement by the world's scientists and undeniable evidence that extreme weather is getting more extreme around the globe. Instead of trying to get rid of the ozone-depleting effects of burning coal, King Coal is given a new crown. Trump Republicans want environmental protection regulations abolished, saying the job is done.
Despite the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state, Trump Republicans demand that the Bible be taught as gospel in public schools. They want only judges who meet religious litmus tests, meaning they have the right "family values." Tax-exempt institutions such as churches could specifically endorse candidates for political office.
Despite the current wave of gun violence, Republicans oppose any new controls on who may buy guns, tougher background checks, curbs on automatic weapons or magazine capacity and anything else that might curtail gun deaths.
Despite high college tuitions, Republicans would eliminate federal student loans. Students without fat trust funds would return to private lenders.
Job growth? Cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
Trump Republicans' statement of their policies and principles has been plagiarized from the past and pays homage to old-fashioned thinking and prejudices repudiated by most Americans long ago.
Now, let's see what mischief Democrats can muster.