Did the Republican decision not to update the party's platform mark a historic first?

Thursday, August 27, 2020
By Christopher Hutton

Since 1840, major American political parties have approved "platforms" for their conventions, laying out wide-ranging policy positions which please activists but are sometimes ignored in campaigns. In 2020 the combination of the coronavirus and an often unconventional candidate have disrupted the tradition.

With curtailed official sessions in Charlotte, Republicans opted to leave their 2016 platform unchanged. The party endorsed an "agenda" announced in a Trump campaign press release Aug. 23. The Democrats held a series of online meetings to adopt their platform, but little mention was made of it in their televised convention sessions.

This year's events have fueled speculation about the future of national political conventions. Observers note the platform portion of the event has already lost much of its impact in recent years.

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