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CLEVELAND — One of the most conservative party platforms in several decades coupled with the vice presidential pick of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence should squash any fears of Trump ticket teetering too far left, several Michigan delegates argue.
“The party needs to come together," said Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo, and Trump delegate. "That's exactly what this platform does."
The new platform, which pulls the party further to the far right than it has been on several social issues, was adopted Monday by delegates on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The move came shortly after party leaders stomped efforts by anti-Trump delegates to disrupt the convention by changing the rules for bound delegates.
"It’s a very conservative platform, and members on both sides of the spectrum of the Republican party can say we’ve really been able to meet in the middle," Iden said.
Keeping a traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman, opposing public funding for abortion and condemning same-sex parenting were among the positions adopted. Social conservatives within the party have remained skeptical of Trump given his previous multiple marriages and views on other social issues outside the traditional conservative realm.
Delegates, however, also moved to embrace some policy taken directly from Donald Trump's campaign, like building a wall along the Mexican border. The platform language doesn't specify who would pay to build the wall.
“It’s a commitment to the Republican party to support stronger immigration policies, to build a wall, and to make good trade deals that will stop and reverse the NAFTA policies that have destroyed manufacturing in Michigan," said Matt Hall, a Grand Rapids resident and Trump delegate. "It's going to mean a balanced budget and also a more conservative view of the judiciary.”
In addition to the platform, delegates say they're pleased with the decision to tap Pence as a vice president, an ardent conservative who Iden said will balance out a ticket with Trump at the top.
"[Trump] recognizes the fact there are some folks within the party who weren’t getting behind him, so he brought in someone whose got more experience, and someone whose been very successful in Indiana with a great track record, very similar to what's been happening in Michigan," he said.
The choice of a Midwestern governor is a highly strategic one for the Trump camp looking to win in states like Ohio and Michigan in November, said Dan Spehler, political reporter for FOX 17's sister station in Indianapolis, WXIN FOX 59.
“A lot of people are pointing to the Midwest and saying that’s where this election is going to be won," said Spehler, who has covered Pence since the mid-2000s. "In places like Cleveland where there's usually a Democratic stronghold, or in Michigan and definitely in Pennsylvania—if Trump and Pence can win in those places, they may very well win this election.”
Trump entered the convention one of the most unpopular majority candidates ever, polls showed.