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Republican Platform calls for change

The Idaho Republican platform isn’t merely values, but includes details of specific applications–and Republican primary candidates are expected to sign onto the platform as a whole or to list each plank they object to. Most simply sign on. (Candidate comments are included in the Voters’ Guide on the Idaho GOP website.)

So almost all Republican candidates on November’s ballot have pledged to support planks privatizing social security, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and requiring that all currency be backed by gold and silver. These all require action on the Federal level so county and legislative candidates can sign on without worry.

Two planks–a new one repealing the Federal government’s power to collect income tax and a continuing one allowing legislatures, not the voting public, to elect U.S. Senators–would require amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which takes an affirmative vote by two-thirds of each house of Congress and a majority of legislators in 38 states.

These planks will draw more extremists to the state and attract campaign funds from out-of-state PACS. But Idahoans are more apt to be directly affected by planks that could be put into effect soon.

The convention vote itself may be enough to block voting in the Republican primary by all–including newcomers to the state–who haven’t been registered as an Idaho Republican for a full year. And voters may have to sign an oath of support to most of the party’s platform.

And, with Republicans controlling about 80% of the votes in both houses, Idaho’s already restrictive abortion law could become more restricted. The new plank says, “...Abortion is murder from the time of fertilization” and allows no exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother. It also supports the “criminalization” of abortion but leaves it to the legislature to decide the charges and the penalties.

The plank to allot school funding to students to funnel to their parents’ school of choice, whether home, private, public, or parochial now passes muster with the Supreme Court, but Idaho’s constitution still forbids funding religious schools.

It’s possible, however, that once the state funds private schools, the Supreme Court ruling requiring religious schools to get the same treatment will nullify the clause in the Idaho constitution. And many legislators are willing to pass laws and pay hefty legal fees to let the courts sort things out.

Another new plank would require the minority party to get 20% of the primary votes in the last four elections and to elect two “constitutional” candidates in a 10-year period to get anyone on the redistricting commission. (Democrats barely pass the first test, but haven’t elected a statewide or Congressional candidate since Marilyn Howard retired in 2007.)

Changing our redistricting commission would require an amendment to our state Constitution, which needs a two-thirds vote of both houses and a majority vote in a statewide election. Republicans have, however, nearly 10 years to work on this.

Other planks forbid parents from confusing a minor’s sense of gender identity, require laws be interpreted according to what they meant to “reasonable people” at the time of passage, support the “free exercise of religion” even in one’s place of employment, and nullify all marriages not between a man and a woman.

No, there are no planks concerned with the shortages of housing, transportation, medical personnel and teachers. And, while cutting income taxes remains a major goal, the growing burden of property taxes and school levies and the ever-continuing state tax on groceries gets little to no attention.

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