The GOP national convention opened last night, and the contrast with the Dems’ convention was stark. It was capitalism vs. socialism, optimism vs. pessimism, hope and promise vs. gloom and doom, law and order vs. chaos and lawlessness, unity vs. divisiveness, and celebrating America as the greatest country despite its flaws vs America is “systemically racist” and needs to be torn down and rebuilt. I’ll give you one guess as to which was which.
Below please find some random thoughts and impressions:
1. The GOP’s production was superior to that of the Dems’. I realize this is a subjective comment, but it just seemed to flow better, and the speakers were more interesting. Hiding in a bunker is simply not a good optic. More on the speakers below.
2. Mr. Trump made a point to address and emphasize the two areas that most of us perceive to be where he is most vulnerable – his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his personality. Rather than address these issues himself, which might have appeared to be self-serving, he used surrogates.
3. A few of the speakers, such as Jim Jordan, Nikki Haley, and Tim Scott, reminded us that in January when the CV first appeared most of the country and virtually all of the media was focused on President Trump’s ill-advised and “trumped-up” impeachment. This proved to be the ultimate distraction. Nevertheless, Jordan reminded us that Mr. Trump took immediate and decisive action. Most significantly, in mid-January he instituted travel bans with respect to travelers from China and Europe and formed a task force of medical experts headed up by Vice President Pence to deal with the virus. In addition, we were shown recorded testimonials of several governors, such as Dems Andrew Cuomo (NY), Gavin Newsome (CA), and Phil Murphy (NJ), praising Mr. Trump for his prompt assistance and support. In contrast, we heard quotes uttered in late January- early February from Nancy Pelosi assuring us that “everything is fine, come to Chinatown [in San Francisco to celebrate the Chinese New Year],” NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio advising us to “live your life,” and Joe Biden criticizing Mr. Trump’s early actions as “xenophobic” and “fear mongering.” Now, the Dems conveniently forget this and would have you believe that Trump’s responses were slow and ineffective. Hopefully, this reminder will end the oft-repeated false narrative that Mr. Trump did not act quickly to combat the CV.
4. Incidentally, Cuomo should refrain from any further criticism of Mr. Trump’s handling of the virus. NYS has suffered some 32,000 COVID fatalities, which is the most of any state by far and exceeds the totals of the US’s three largest states – FL, CA and TX – COMBINED. As I have blogged previously approximately 15,000 of those fatalities occurred in nursing homes after Cuomo required these facilities to accept healthy elderly patients who then caught the CV from infected residents.
5. I liked when Scott, in describing his humble beginnings, said his family went “from cotton to Congress in one lifetime.”
6. With respect to Mr. Trump’s abrasive personality we were presented with testimonials from various ordinary citizens who spoke glowingly of their interactions with him. Collectively, in my opinion, they were able to “humanize” Mr. Trump, show a softer side, and, in general, successfully debunk this false narrative. These included Andrew Pollack, whose daughter had been one of the students murdered at Parkland High School, Maximo Alvarez, a Cuban refugee, various COVID careworkers, the McCloskeys, and, most significantly, Herschel Walker, former NFL great. Walker described his 37 year friendship with Mr. Trump and his family, including a family trip to Disney World. Walker’s speech was one of the highlights of the evening.
7. In its assessment of Day 1 CNN, a frequent critic of Mr. Trump’s, acknowledged that Messrs. Scott, Jordan, Pollack and Haley had been very effective speakers. The network was critical of other speakers, such as Charlie Kirk and Kimberly Guilfoyle.
8. I liked Donald Trump Jr’s speech. I especially liked his characterization of Joe Biden as the “Loch Ness monster” of the swamp.
9. In case you missed former President Obama’s speech during the DNC he compared Biden’s ideology as virtually indistinguishable from that of Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist. Huh? I agree. I think his leftward drift has been fairly obvious, but the Biden campaign has been trying to characterize him as a moderate. Obama’s comment destroys that false narrative. In a vain attempt to shore up the support of the “Bernie Bros” Obama may have put a sizeable dent in Biden’s support of moderates and independents.
My expectation is that the next few days will bring more of the same. In particular, I am looking forward to Melania Trump’s speech from the Rose Garden. In my opinion, she has been unfairly maligned by Mr. Trump’s critics, especially certain members of the media, and this will be an opportunity for all of us to get to know her better.
I mentioned how well received and effective some of the speeches were. Don’t be surprised to see excerpts from some of them pop up as campaign ads over the next two plus months, especially Walker’s and Obama’s.
In addition, I am very interested in the tv ratings for the convention. The ratings for the Dems were rather underwhelming. C-Span Live reported 76,000 views for the Dems compared to 425,000 for the GOP. Early returns disclosed that approximately 22 million persons tuned into Biden’s speech. This paled in comparison to Mr. Trump’s State of the Union speech and 2016 acceptance speech, which drew some 40 million each. I expect that his acceptance speech later this week will draw at least that much. I think these numbers are very significant. They are consistent with the suspected “enthusiasm gap” between Messrs. Trump and Biden and are indicative of the hidden support for Mr. Trump that is not being captured by the polls, I expect this to be a decisive factor on Election day.