Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

GOP Convention Enables Trump to Broaden His Campaign

Donald Trump proudly accepted the GOP’s 2020 presidential nomination last Thursday night at the finale of the four-day, mostly virtual Republican National Convention. The program featured leaders of the party and ordinary citizens who praised Trump’s leadership and accomplishments. They also warned that electing Joe Biden in November would put the country’s future into the hands of radical leftists who hate America, reject its democratic heritage and condemn American society as irredeemably racist.

Trump spoke for 74 minutes from a red-carpeted stage adorned with American flags against the background of a brilliantly illuminated grand portico of the White House. His live audience consisted of about 1,500 invited Trump supporters and GOP party leaders, seated side-by-side, mostly maskless, on the South Lawn of the White House.

Sticking closely to his prepared script, Trump laid out his case for re-election to a second term, and excoriated the lies and distortions about his record promoted by his political enemies and the mainstream media. He promised the American people that he would restore law and order, and blamed Biden and other Democrat officials for turning a blind eye toward the organized social unrest, vandalism and gun violence sweeping the cities of this country.

“This is the most important election in the history of our country,” Trump declared. “This election will decide whether we save the American Dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.”

“Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens. And this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it.”


Trump depicted Biden as a willing tool of the progressive and the Black Lives Matter movements, and “a Trojan horse for socialism. . . Joe Biden is not the savior of America’s soul; he is the destroyer of America’s jobs — and, if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American greatness.”

“For 47 years, Joe Biden took the donations of blue-collar workers, gave them hugs and even kisses, and told them he felt their pain — and then he flew back to Washington and voted to ship their jobs to China and many other distant lands. Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders, and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars. . .” Trump declared.

“Biden’s record is a shameful roll call of the most catastrophic betrayals and blunders in our lifetime. He has spent his entire career on the wrong side of history.”

Trump also blasted Biden’s long history of accommodation to China’s unfair trading practices, which resulted in the loss of millions of good-paying American jobs. The president warned that “China would own our country if Joe Biden got elected.”

Trump recalled that soon after he became president “Washington insiders asked me not to stand up to China. They pleaded with me to let China continue stealing our jobs, ripping us off, and robbing our country blind. But I kept my word to the American people. We took the toughest, boldest, strongest, and hardest hitting action against China in American history.”

Trump also accused Democrats of wanting to stand “with anarchists, agitators, rioters, looters and flag burners. . .”

“Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans,” he told the convention audience, “or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens.”


“Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather it’s a surrender to the virus,” Trump argued. He predicted another spike in the pandemic if Biden were elected president, and that “the cost of the Biden shutdown would be measured in increased drug overdoses, depression, alcohol addiction, suicides, heart attacks, economic devastation, job loss and much more.”

Trump vigorously defended his own handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, in response to Democrats who insist on directly blaming him for the deaths of almost 180,000 Americans due to the virus since March. “Our nation, and the entire planet, has been struck by a new and powerful invisible enemy,” Trump said. “Like those brave Americans before us, we are meeting this challenge. We are delivering lifesaving therapies, and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year — or maybe even sooner. We will defeat the virus, end the pandemic and emerge stronger than ever before.”

Trump listed the many policy accomplishments he has achieved since taking office, and expressed his satisfaction in doing “what our political establishment never expected and could never forgive, breaking the cardinal rule of Washington Politics: I kept my promises.

“Together, we have ended the rule of the failed political class — and they are desperate to get their power back by any means necessary. They are angry at me because instead of putting them first, I put America first!”


Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised Trump’s speech as “a controlled, serious, thoughtful and eminently presidential Trump — exactly what his critics had called for over the last three-and-a-half years,” and Gingrich seemed amused by the fact that Trump’s critics seem to “confused” when he actually delivered what they had long been asking him for, “a serious, adult speech” delivered in “calm, commonsense language.”

Some critics complained that Trump’s acceptance speech lacked the spontaneity and provocative zingers for which he became famous during the 2016 campaign, and which still characterize the endless flow of Trump tweets on almost every conceivable subject. Gingrich responded by referring to a revealing breakdown of Trump’s 5,000-word speech by former George W. Bush political strategist Karl Rove. While the mainstream media focused on Trump’s direct criticisms of Biden and the Democrats, that represented only about 10 percent of the total word count.

The largest portion of Trump’s speech was devoted to a vigorous defense of traditional American values and patriotism, in response to continuing attacks upon them by progressive Democrats and the Black Lives Matter movement. The second-longest speech segment was Trump’s summary of the promises he made to the American people during the 2016 campaign and subsequently kept. The next largest portion of the speech was devoted to Trump’s pledge to restore law and order to the streets and cities of America. It was followed in size by a progress report on Trump’s plans to halt the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trump was introduced on the final evening of the GOP convention by his eldest daughter, Ivanka. She, along with her husband, Jared Kushner, suspended their successful business careers to serve as senior, unpaid White House advisers to her father over the past four years.

Ivanka called her father, “the people’s president,” governing with “common sense” and “fighting for you from dawn till midnight, when the cameras have left, the microphones are off and the decisions really count.”

The evening was capped by an elaborate firework display over the Washington Monument standing majestically nearby in the National Mall. Some of the exploding rockets spelled out TRUMP 2020 in glowing letters against the night sky.


Former New York City mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani also spoke on the final night of the convention, condemning the rising rate of gun violence in American urban areas. While he served as its mayor in the mid-1990s, Giuliani turned New York City into the safest large city in the country. At the GOP convention, he blamed the city’s current “progressive” Democrat mayor, Bill de Blasio, for policies which prevent the NYPD from enforcing law and order, leading to a spike in “murders, shootings and violent crime [that] are increasing at percentages unheard of in the past.”

Giuliani then warned the country’s voters, “Don’t let Democrats do to America what they have done to New York!”

He called Joe Biden “an obviously defective candidate [who] has changed his principles so often, he no longer has any principles. He disavowed his authorship of the 1994 [federal] Anti-Crime Bill.” Giuliani also predicted that a Biden victory would lead to the implementation of the progressive Democrats’ “pro-criminal, anti-police policies.”


A nomination acceptance speech by Vice President Mike Pence was the highlight of the third night of the Republican convention program. Pence cited the clashes between left- and right-wing protesters which cost two lives last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as well as the nightly rioting in Portland, Oregon, which has continued for the past three months. He argued that if elected president, Biden would “double down on the very policies that are leading to violence in American cities.” He then warned, “the hard truth is you will not be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” re-emphasizing one of the Trump campaign’s main talking points.

Consistent with the ongoing patriotic theme of the convention, Pence’s speech was delivered in front of a live audience at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, whose bombardment by British ships during the War of 1812 was the inspiration for the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” based upon a poem written by Francis Scott Key.


Another goal of the convention program that night was to soften President Trump’s tough image by offering a glimpse of his empathetic side from two women who have worked closely with him: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and senior political advisor Kellyanne Conway.

McEnany spoke of how Trump reached out personally to give her encouragement during the darkest days in her battle against cancer.

Conway said, “I have seen firsthand, many times, the president comforting and encouraging a child who has lost a parent, a parent who has lost a child, a worker who lost his job, an adolescent who lost her way to drugs. ‘Don’t lose hope,’ he has told them, assuring them that they are not alone and that they matter.”

Conway also spoke about “women’s empowerment,” but not as an empty slogan on social media or in the sanitized language of corporate human resource handbooks. She saluted the women who are “the everyday heroes who nurture us, who shape us, and who believe in us. I was raised in a household of all women. They were self-reliant and resilient. Their lives were not easy. Money was tight, but we had an abundance of what mattered most: family, faith, freedom.

“I learned that in America, limited means does not make for limited dreams. The promise of America belongs to us all. This is a land of inventors and innovators, of entrepreneurs and educators, or pioneers and parents, all contributing to the success and the future of a great nation and her people.

“These everyday heroes,” Conway declared, “have a champion in President Trump.”


The highlight of the second night of the convention was an impressive speech by First Lady Melania Trump, which she delivered with dignity, poise, and a total lack of partisan rancor from the Rose Garden of the White House. “I don’t want to use this precious time attacking the other side,” she said. “Because as we saw last week [at the Democrat National Convention], that kind of talk only serves to divide the country further. I’m here because we need my husband to be our president and commander-in-chief for four more years.”

Implicitly refuting accusations by her husband’s critics that he is intolerant of immigrants, the first lady recalled her own experiences as a legal immigrant who was born and grew up in Slovenia while it was still a province of communist-ruled Yugoslavia.


“I arrived in the United States when I was 26 years old. Living and working in the land of opportunity was a dream come true, but I wanted more. I wanted to be a citizen. After 10 years of work, I studied for the test in 2006 and became an American citizen,” adding, it was “one of the proudest moments in my life.”

She had a special message, “to mothers and parents everywhere”: “You are warriors. In my husband, you have a president who will not stop fighting for you and your families.” She also paid tribute to her own parents, who “worked very hard to ensure our family could not only live and prosper in America, but also contribute to a nation that allows for people to arrive with a dream and make it reality.”

“Like all of you,” the first lady acknowledged, “I have reflected on the racial unrest in our country. It is a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of our history. I encourage people to focus on our future while still learning from our past. You must remember that today we are all one community, comprised of many races, religions, and ethnicities. Our diverse and storied history is what makes our country strong, and yes, we still have so much to learn from one another.”


As her husband sat in the front row, the first lady made her case for why his re-election to another term as president as “what is best for our country.” Rather than apologizing for his blunt and often provocative demeanor, she called it a character trait which has contributed to his success.

“As you have learned over the past five years, he is not a traditional politician,” Melania Trump said. “He doesn’t just speak words. He demands action and he gets results. The future of our country has always been very important to him, and it is something that I have always admired.

“We all know Donald Trump makes no secrets about how he feels about things. Total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president. Whether you like it or not, you always know what he’s thinking. And that is because he’s an authentic person who loves this country and its people and wants to continue to make it better.”

The first lady’s biggest applause line came when she warned Trump’s critics, “If you tell him it cannot be done, he just works harder.”

In a comment intended to shore up her husband’s appeal to female voters and to answer critics who accuse him of being a misogynist, the first lady said, “He has built an administration with an unprecedented number of women in leadership roles. He welcomes different points of view and encourages thinking outside of the box.”


She opened her speech with an emotional tribute to the Americans who have died due to the coronavirus. “I want to acknowledge the fact that since March, our lives have changed drastically. The invisible enemy, Covid-19, swept across our beautiful country and impacted all of us.

“My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one and my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering. I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know you are not alone.”

She promised that her husband would “not stop fighting until there is an effective treatment or vaccine available to everyone. . . Donald will not rest until he has done all he can to take care of everyone impacted by this pandemic.”

Near the end of her speech, Melania Trump issued an impassioned plea to the media to report on the plight of millions of Americans struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs. “Addiction has touched every part of our society in some way. Now more than ever, we have programs and medicine to combat it. We just need to talk about it openly, and you, the media, have the platform to make that happen.”

The first lady’s speech was unlike any other offered at either convention, in both its positive tone and substance. It drew high praise, even from some of her husband’s harshest critics. The few Democrat partisans who sought to ridicule her remarks because she delivered them with a noticeable accent only demeaned themselves by revealing their own prejudices.


Another highlight of the second night’s program was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s four-minute video message. It celebrated Trump’s relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to “this very city of G-d, Jerusalem,” and was recorded with the night skyline of Yerushalayim behind him.

Pompeo was traveling last week in the Middle East and Africa, following up on the US-brokered agreement to establish diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The agreement has been widely recognized as a potential breakthrough in the effort to make peace between Israel and the Arab world, and the most important progress on that front since the signing of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty some 25 years ago.

Throughout the GOP convention, Democrats complained bitterly about the effective use of backdrops and locales, including the White House itself, which emphasized speakers’ official duties to the national TV audience. Administration and GOP officials insist that all additional expenses incurred by those events were covered by campaign funds, and that they had been reviewed and cleared in advance by government ethics review boards.


The Tuesday night program also featured a video reinforcing the message that President Trump really is strongly in favor of legal immigration. It showed Trump presiding, along with acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, over a naturalization ceremony in which five immigrants were granted US citizenship.

Trump praised the three women and two men from all corners of the globe for their perseverance in meeting the qualifications for American citizenship, saying, “You followed the rules, and you obeyed the laws. You learned your history, embraced our values and proved yourselves to be men and women of the highest integrity.”

Another Tuesday night video featured Trump granting a pardon to Jon Ponder, a convicted bank robber and three-time felon who turned his life around with help from the former FBI agent, Richard Beasley, who arrested him. Ponder now runs a program to help convicts released from prison to adjust to life in the outside world. The two men, now close friends, appeared alongside Trump in the video of the president signing Ponder’s pardon in the Blue Room of the White House.


One of the emotional highlights of the convention came on Thursday when another former prisoner, Alice Johnson, who is black, described her personal journey in prison, where she had been serving a life sentence on drug charges until Trump commuted her sentence in 2018.

“I was once told that the only way I would ever be reunited with my family would be as a corpse,” Johnson said. “But by the grace of G-d and the compassion of President Donald John Trump, I stand before you tonight — and, I assure you, I’m not a ghost. I am alive, I am well, and most importantly, I am free.” Trump surprised Johnson by telling her that he had upgraded his previous commutation of her jail sentence to a full pardon.

It reminded American black voters that one of the Trump administration’s lesser known accomplishments of importance to them was its successful sponsorship of legislation which reformed harsh federal prison sentencing guidelines responsible for sentencing thousands of young black males across the country to lengthy prison terms for minor drug offenses.


Endorsements of Trump throughout the convention by prominent blacks and others from non-white backgrounds sought to refute Democrat charges that the president is a racist and issues thinly disguised appeals to the bigotry of white supremacists. They included tributes from former South Carolina governor and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Halley, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (a Republican), Democratic State Senator Vernon Jones from Georgia, and Housing Secretary Ben Carson, who campaigned on Trump’s behalf in black neighborhoods across the country before the 2016 election.

“Many on the other side love to incite division by claiming that President Trump is a racist. They could not be more wrong,” said Dr. Carson, a retired former brain surgeon at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Medical Center who made a serious bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination before dropping out and endorsing Trump’s candidacy.

“Years ago,” Carson recalled, “Jesse Jackson gave Donald Trump an award for the economic opportunities he created for black people. In Palm Beach, Florida, Donald Trump led the crusade to allow blacks and Jews into private clubs and resorts. One of the first things he did as president was bring the office of Historically Black Colleges and Universities into the White House so that it could get proper attention and financial support.”

Carson also praised Trump’s support for giving parents school choice for their children, “fully recognizing that no matter what circumstances a person is born into, they can achieve success with a good education.”

“It was true for me,” Dr. Carson continued. “My mother always told me, ‘Ben, you can do anything, but I will never allow you to become a victim.’ It was then that I stopped listening to the people who were trying to convince me that I was a victim and that others were responsible for my victim-hood.”

Attorney General Cameron of Kentucky criticized Biden for telling a black radio host in May that African Americans who are still uncertain which candidate to support “ain’t black.”

“Mr. Vice President, look at me, I am black,” Cameron said. “We are not all the same, sir. I am not in chains. My mind is my own. And you can’t tell me how to vote because of the color of my skin.”


In his convention remarks appealing to directly to black voters, Trump declared, “I say very modestly that I have done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president. And I say that I have done more in three years for the black community than Joe Biden has done in 47 years.”

Trump believes that his success as president in bringing black unemployment to all-time record low levels and boosting the economic opportunities available to black entrepreneurs has significantly strengthened his appeal to black voters. In the November election, Trump and other Republicans are hoping for a black voter backlash against the failure of local Democrat elected officials to address the problems of the urban neighborhoods they govern. Most poor minority residents also understand that Democrat efforts to defund local police departments will result in a further increase in crime, gun violence and the destruction of local businesses in their neighborhoods.


The opening night of the GOP convention was launched by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who condemned allegedly “‘nice’ guys like Joe [Biden and other Democrats who] care more about countries like Iran and China than the United States of America.” McDaniel promised that over the next four days, viewers would see a “big contrast. . . between the Democrats’ doom-and-gloom, Donald Trump-obsessed convention [and the GOP] convention focused on real people, their stories, how the policies of the Trump administration have lifted their lives, and . . . an aspirational vision [for] the next four years.”

Several GOP first night convention speakers who followed directly contradicted the Black Lives Matter narrative adopted by the Democrats the previous week and the argument that only the Democrats were dedicated to correcting the problem facing the black community and the other “victimized” minority ethnic and gender-based identity groups which now dictate the Democrat political agenda.

Nikki Haley, this country’s first Indian-American female governor, who re-established America’s moral leadership at the UN when she served there as the US ambassador, said, “Here is one more important area where our president is right: He knows that political correctness and cancel culture are dangerous and just plain wrong. In much of the Democratic Party, it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country.”

Haley retold the story of how, as governor of South Carolina, she fought alongside Senator Scott to achieve bipartisan agreement for the removal if the “divisive symbol” of the Confederate flag from state property as a proud moment for the country.

When his turn came to speak, Scott claimed that the “evolution of the Southern heart,” leading to a rejection of racism by South Carolina Republican voters, had helped him to win his Senate seat in the state which had served as the cradle of the Confederacy almost 160 years ago.

Scott, the only black Republican member of the US Senate, sought to personalize the November election. He declared that “it is not solely about Donald Trump and Joe Biden. It’s about the promise of America. It’s about you and me — our challenges and heartbreaks, hopes and dreams.”

Scott had been the author of a Senate bill which he had hoped would serve as the basis for a bipartisan consensus to reign in police brutality in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Speaking to the GOP convention, Scott recalled his disappointment when “Democrats called our work a token effort, and walked out of the room during negotiations because they wanted the issue more than they wanted a solution.” Scott then asked, rhetorically, “Do we want a society that breeds success, or a culture that cancels everything it even slightly disagrees with?”

He went on to lament the fact that, “We live in a world that only wants you to believe in the bad news — racially, economically and culturally polarizing news. The truth is, our nation’s arc always bends back towards fairness. We are not fully where we want to be, but I thank G-d almighty, we are not where we used to be,” Scott concluded.


Clarence Henderson, who spoke on the third night of the convention while standing in front of a large mural showing his participation in a lunch counter sit-in demonstration protesting desegregation nearly 60 years ago, declared that Trump was continuing a struggle “that embraces the spirit of the civil rights movement of the ‘60s.”

“Freedom of thought is a powerful thing. Joe Biden said if you don’t vote for him you ain’t black.” But, Henderson continued, “if you vote for him [Biden], you don’t know history. Politicians are a dime a dozen.

“There are African-American voters all over the country who the media is trying to convince to conform to the same old Democratic talking points. You know what that’ll get you?” he warned. “The same old results.”

Regarding President Trump, Henderson declared, “His policies show his heart. He has done more for black Americans in four years than Joe Biden has done in 50.”

On the other hand, Henderson spoke proudly of the success of those demonstrations in the 1960s in which he defied threats to his life by the KKK and the risk of arrest. “In the end, segregation was abolished and our country moved a step closer to true equality for all. . .

“That’s what an actual peaceful protest can accomplish!” Henderson declared, drawing a sharp contrast to the continuing nationwide violence, vandalism and attacks on police being organized and led by the Black Lives Matter movement and Antifa left-wing terrorists, and tolerated by local and state Democrat elected officials.

Georgia Representative Vernon Jones argued that it was actually elected local Democrat officials whose policies of benign neglect were responsible for the chronic lack of educational and economic opportunity for African Americans to advance themselves, compared to members of other immigrant groups. “The Democratic Party does not want black people to leave their mental plantation,” Jones provocatively suggested. “We’ve been forced to be there for decades and generations.”


One of the most effective speeches during the convention’s first night was delivered by Cuban-American immigrant and South Florida businessman Maximo Alvarez. He accused the radical Democrats controlling Biden of trying to put this country on the path to totalitarian communist rule. “I’m speaking to you today because I have seen people like this before. I’ve seen movements like these before.”

Alvarez explained that some of the things that he has heard some of those Democrats say, “don’t sound radical to my ears; they sound familiar. [Before his revolution took over Cuba in 1959,] Fidel Castro was asked if he was a communist. He said he was a Roman Catholic.”


A recurring theme of the GOP convention program was the highlighting of brief messages by ordinary American citizens from all walks of life who told deeply emotional, personal stories in the context of their endorsement for Trump’s re-election. They included Ryan Holets, a New Mexico police detective who befriended a drug addict, and then, with his wife, adopted her newborn baby, and Andrew Pollack, the father of one of the victims of the fatal shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

Mark and Patty McCloskey are a couple from St. Louis who became heroes of the conservative media after they were charged for brandishing firearms when Black Lives Matters protesters — whom Mr. McCloskey described as “criminals” and an “out-of-control mob” — threatened to invade their home and property during a protest in late June.

Ann Dorn told the story of her late husband, Dave Dorn, who had spent 38 years with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, followed by six years as Chief of Police for the nearby suburban community of Moline Acres. After his retirement as a law enforcement professional, Mrs. Dorn said that her husband, “never retired from helping a friend in need. Since he befriended every person he met, he was a very busy man.

“One example of that was his friendship with a young man named Lee. Dave met him when Lee was just a kid, after members of his family were attacked and murdered. Dave took a special interest in the boy. They bonded, and their friendship grew and remained strong through the years. Lee eventually opened a pawn shop. He trusted Dave implicitly and asked him to help with security. Dave readily agreed.”

Dave responded to many false alarms at the pawn shop, but his wife recalled that when “the alarm that went off the morning of June 2, [it] was for real. It was a violent night in St. Louis. Four police officers were shot. Others were hit with rocks and fireworks. At least 55 businesses were damaged, looted, or set on fire. . .

“After I had gone to bed,” Mrs. Dorn said, “Dave received a call from Lee’s alarm company. The front door of the pawn shop had been breached. . . Looters were ransacking the shop. They shot and killed Dave in cold blood and livestreamed the execution and his last moments on this earth. Dave’s grandson was watching the video on Facebook in real time, not realizing he was watching his own grandfather dying on the sidewalk. . .

The gruesome details of Dave Dorn’s murder went largely unreported by the mainstream media, which has deliberately downplayed acts of deadly violence perpetrated by those whom it has chosen to characterize as “mostly peaceful protesters.”


Mrs. Dorn told the GOP convention audience, “I re-live that horror in my mind every single day. My hope is that having you re-live it with me now will help shake this country from the nightmare we are witnessing in our cities and bring about positive, peaceful change.

“How did we get to this point where so many young people are so callous and indifferent towards human life?” she asked. “This isn’t a video game where you can commit mayhem and then hit “reset” and bring all the characters back to life. David is never coming back. He was murdered by people who didn’t know — and didn’t care — that he would have done anything to help them.

“Violence and destruction are not legitimate forms of protest. They do not safeguard black lives. They destroy them. President Trump understands this and has offered federal help to restore order in our communities. In a time when police departments are short on resources and manpower, we need that help. We should accept that help. We must heal before we can effect change, but we cannot heal amid devastation and chaos. President Trump knows we need more Davids in our communities, not fewer,” David’s widow declared.

Another GOP convention celebrity was Nicholas Sandmann, the Kentucky Catholic high school student who was confronted on the National Mall during a class trip to Washington, DC, last year by a left-wing Native American activist because the boy and his fellow students were wearing bright red pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” baseball caps. Even though video proved that Sandmann remained completely passive in the face of provocation, reports of the incident by mainstream media outlets were so unfair and hostile that Sandmann’s family sued eight of them for $250 million in damages for defamation. The Washington Post and CNN eventually agreed to settle the legal claims of the family against them in return for payments of undisclosed amounts.

In his brief GOP convention remarks, young Sandmann said, “I learned that what was happening to me had a name. It was called being canceled. As in annulled. As in revoked. As in made void.”


The convention program also gave national exposure to some of the rising young stars of the Republican Party.

One of them was Madison Cawthorn, a 25-year-old running for a seat in Congress from North Carolina’s 11th district who lost the use of his legs in as a passenger in a car accident. Cawthorn later joined the staff of former North Carolina congressman and now White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

At the end of his brief convention message, Cawthorn demonstrated his belief that all Americans should stand for the national anthem by struggling to stand up from his wheelchair with the help of a walker.


Other young GOP elected officials who were given air time at the convention included Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. He created a storm of controversy on June 3 when the New York Times published his op-ed column which condemned local elected officials, such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, for standing by “while Midtown Manhattan descended into lawlessness.” After noting the other cities across the country in which “outnumbered police officers, encumbered by feckless politicians, bore the brunt of the violence” Cotton called for “an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers,” under the federal Insurrection Act which authorizes the president to employ the military “or any other means” in “cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws.”

Cotton’s op-ed piece triggered protests by liberal members of newspaper’s staff that resulted in the appearance of an editor’s apology on the newspaper’s website, followed by the forced resignation of James Bennet, editor of the paper’s op-ed page.

In his speech to the GOP convention, Cotton, a highly decorated US Army officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, focused on the issue of national security which was totally ignored throughout the Democrat convention.

Cotton warned that as president, “Joe Biden would return us to a weak and dangerous past. Barack Obama’s own secretary of defense said Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every major national-security decision over the past four decades.”


Cotton then offered a point-by-point comparison of Biden’s record on vital national security issues to President Trump’s policies over the past four years:

“Joe Biden slashed defense spending again and again [during his 37 years of service in the Senate.] President Trump rebuilt our military — and added the Space Force.

“Joe Biden let ISIS terrorists rampage across the Middle East. President Trump eliminated ISIS’s leader — and destroyed its caliphate.

“Joe Biden opposed the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. President Trump avenged the murder of hundreds of Americans by killing Iran’s terrorist mastermind, Qassim Soleimani.

“Joe Biden sent pallets of cash to the ayatollahs. President Trump ripped up the dangerous Iran nuclear deal.

“Joe Biden treated Israel like a nuisance. President Trump moved our embassy to Jerusalem and brokered peace deals in the Middle East.

“Joe Biden coddled socialist dictators in Cuba and Venezuela. President Trump fights against communism — in America’s backyard and around the world.

“And on the Communist Party of China, there is no comparison,” Cotton emphasized.

“Joe Biden aided and abetted China’s rise for 50 years with terrible trade deals that closed our factories and laid off our workers. President Trump stands up to China’s cheating, and stealing, and lying.

“Joe Biden allowed Chinese fentanyl [a powerfully addictive illegal drug] to flood across our southern border. President Trump sanctioned Chinese drug dealers for poisoning our kids.

“Joe Biden said the Chinese Communists aren’t even our competitors, aren’t ‘bad folks’— just months before they unleashed this [coronavirus] plague on the world. President Trump is clear-eyed about the Chinese threat, and he’s making China pay.”

Cotton then said that China is “rooting for Joe Biden” to win the November election, and that “Biden would be as wrong and weak over the next four years as he has been for the last fifty.”

Cotton’s conclusion was that “we need a president who stands up for America — not one who takes a knee,” in a clear reference to liberal submission to the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement.


Another young Republican featured during the convention program was three-term Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who represents a district covering most of the Adirondack and North Country regions of upstate New York.

She spoke with patriotic pride of her region’s long history dating back to the Revolutionary War, and where “generation after generation of everyday Americans served and sacrificed to preserve and strengthen the American Dream. The vision of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — and the idea that if you work hard and dream big, you can achieve anything you imagine.

“I believe in the American Dream because I’ve lived it. Like millions of Americans, I grew up in a small business family where I learned the values of hard work and determination. . .

“I am honored to support President Trump for re-election because I know that he is the only candidate who will stand up for hardworking families and protect the American Dream for future generations,” Stefanik declared.

The convention program also provided prominent speaking opportunities to House Republican leaders Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan.


Many Republican strategists and elected officials, who have expressed frustration with Trump’s narrow focus on motivating his base since taking office, said they were pleasantly surprised by the inclusive approach taken by the GOP convention planners in a conscious and consistent effort to refocus the party’s voter appeal on a much wider audience.

“The convention message is much more pleasurable, broader, a sweeter touch than Donald Trump on a typical day-to-day basis,” said Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary to George W. Bush. He co-wrote a report in the wake of the GOP defeat in the 2012 election calling upon the Republican Party to expand its base to include several new groups of voters at whom sections of this year’s GOP convention program were clearly aimed. “It has really been heartening,” said a surprised Fleischer, who has publicly criticized Trump’s public relations strategy since he took office almost four years ago.

Trump campaign strategist Jason Miller confirmed Fleisher’s observation. He said that in programming the convention, “we wanted to offer a warm invitation to independents, Democrats and Republicans alike to come support President Trump. . . We wanted to show a more accurate representation of who helped to elect President Trump the first time and our growing base of supporters heading into the fall’s election.”

Former Speaker Gingrich wrote, “as someone who has been watching conventions since 1956, I think this was the most historically effective convention of my lifetime.”

His take on the president’s acceptance speech “was more like a State of the Union than a traditional rah-rah convention speech. I think this made it more effective in the long run. This was an incumbent president sharing with the American people his understanding of what had been accomplished, what was worth fighting for, and what he would accomplish if reelected.”

Gingrich also expressed confidence that “the choices have been made clear by the Democratic and Republican conventions.

“As someone who said throughout 2016 that Donald Trump would win, I am confident after these two weeks that if everyone who is for him turns out to vote, President Trump will win by an amazing margin. At the same time, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will gain [GOP] seats in the US Senate, and we will be addressing [House] Speaker Kevin McCarthy in January.

“These two weeks sealed the deal, and now it will be played out in the campaign,” Gingrich predicted.


Veteran Democrat pollster and political analyst Doug Schoen, writing for Fox News, agreed with Gingrich’s appraisal that “President Trump delivered one of the best speeches of his political career. . . as he accepted the Republican National Convention’s nomination for a second term, boosting his chances for reelection.”

Schoen concluded that Trump will run a campaign similar to the one he conducted in 2016. He is once again portraying himself “as an outsider and a non-politician against Democratic presidential nominee Biden, who Trump characterized as embodying the political class and the establishment.”

Schoen writes that Trump is framing the choice between himself or Biden for voters in November as “a choice between freedom versus socialism, and optimism [about America and its heritage] versus negativity.”

Schoen also credited the planners of the GOP convention for successfully framing the Republicans as the “party of law and order, a theme that was undeniably made more impactful by the current urban unrest in swing states, such as Wisconsin, and by convention speakers who were crime victims.”


Schoen as well as other Democrat strategists have belatedly recognized that “Republicans undeniably benefit from the current unrest, as this lends credence to their ‘law-and-order’ message.”

This has persuaded Biden and other Democrat candidates who will face voters in November to overcome their previous reluctance to openly condemn the vandalism, gun violence and attacks on police which have characterized the Democrat-led public protests over racial inequality since the George Floyd killing on May 25.

After spending months in voluntary self-confinement at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden made his first post-convention public appearance in Pennsylvania on Monday, and his campaign announced planned visits to the battleground states of Arizona, Michigan and Minnesota in the days ahead. The traditionally “blue-voting” states of Michigan and Pennsylvania provided Trump with very narrow but decisive upset victories in the 2016 election. Arizona is a traditionally “red-voting” state where Democrat candidates have made impressive gains in recent elections, and Minnesota is a traditional “blue-voting” state which Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016, but which now is considered by both sides to be a virtual tossup in November.


Schoen writes that “both parties at this point have provided a clear message, strategy, and vision — and voters appear to understand the stark differences between Trump and Biden.

“In essence, the two parties’ differing platforms can be summed up as follows:

“At the Democrat Convention, Biden made the case that ‘character,’ ‘compassion,’ ‘decency,’ and ‘democracy’ are on the ballot.

“At the Republican Convention, Vice President Mike Pence made the case that ‘our economic recovery’ and ‘law and order’ are on the ballot, [and during his acceptance speech] Trump reinforced these points.”

There is a growing consensus among veteran political analysts that while Biden retains a reduced single-digit lead in national polling averages, the races are tightening in the crucial battleground states of the Midwest “Rust Belt,” including Pennsylvania, which decided the 2016 election. Schoen writes that, as in 2016, Trump retains a narrow but clear Electoral College path “to win the election if the economy picks up, if we get a coronavirus vaccine before Election Day, and if urban unrest continues.”

Another “wild card” which could determine the winner in November are the performances of Biden and Trump in their three scheduled televised debates, starting at the end of September. Other crucial imponderables are how well the contrasting messages of the two campaigns will be received by suburban swing voters, whose preference will likely to be decisive, and whether GOP efforts will succeed in making significant inroads in the support for Democrat candidates traditionally exhibited among black and other minority voters.

Crucially, Biden failed to get a post-convention “bounce” in the polls, but it is still too soon to tell whether Trump’s electoral prospects will get a bigger boost from the Republican convention.

The race promises to accelerate further from this point. The most crucial question yet to be answered is the outcome of the head-to-head confrontations on the campaign trail and on the debate stage between Biden and Trump during the two months remaining before Election Day.



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