Party platforms tend to attract much attention when they are released in advance of national conventions and then diminish in value and sometimes drop out of the picture entirely as the candidates for the White House and other offices express their personal visions of how government should be operated. The writing of platforms is conducted by the Party’s National Committee, not by the candidates. Ideally, platforms reflect the mainstream views of the entire Party; at times, they simply reflect the views of the platform writers. In either case, platforms do not bind any candidate to specific beliefs, expression of beliefs, or actions before or after the election.
This year, the disconnect between the Republican platform and Donald Trump, the Party’s candidate for president, is particularly strong since some of Trump’s core policy statements are nowhere to be found in the platform.