“A ‘Base’ Election?”: The Trump Campaign Seems To Be Forgetting That Its Real Audience Isn’t In Quicken Arena
Thursday night’s official Republican National Convention theme is “Make America One Again.” After the first three nights, displaying Donald Trump’s campaign as a force for unity anywhere — even just in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena — will take some doing.
On Wednesday night, Team Trump deliberately provoked what can only be described as a lose-lose confrontation with Ted Cruz that created a nasty and divisive scene overshadowing the maiden speech of the vice-presidential nominee. With each such decision, you get the impression the people in charge of this convention have forgotten that the real “arena” is the general election, and that their real audience is an electorate far beyond this bowl seething with unaccountably angry delegates.
Otherwise it’s hard to credit the constant, interminable, over-the-top feeding of red meat to the crowd, beginning with Willie Robertson’s first-night taunting of people who are not “real Americans.” It may be understandable that speakers are tempted to interact with the people on the floor howling for Hillary Clinton’s incarceration, but the job of convention managers is to remind them that these people are TV props — ignore them and remember the whole world’s watching!
It’s almost as though the Trump people are treating the convention as the culmination of the mogul’s campaign: an opportunity to glory in their extremely unlikely conquest of one of America’s two major parties, to gloat over the shattered Establishment that’s being forced to accept them, and to shake their fists at the unbelievers who still mock their orange-tinted champion. That there is still a difficult election ahead and that this convention is a priceless earned-media opportunity to reach out beyond their own ranks seems to be lost on this wild show’s organizers and participants.
Perhaps they have oversubscribed to the idea that this is a “base” election with virtually no swing voters that will be decided strictly on the basis of who can get supporters so whipped up into a hate-frenzy that they vote at unprecedented levels. Or maybe they decided in advance that conventions don’t really matter as anything other than a reward to core supporters who are cavorting over the supine bodies of their class and ideological enemies in the GOP.
In any event, Donald Trump has set quite the challenge for himself in making unity, of all things, his announced theme for the climactic convention address, the one thing that could make people forget the atavistic images from the first three nights. As I noted in an earlier column, Paul Manafort says the tycoon is modeling his speech on Richard Nixon’s reasonably successful (if retroactively ludicrous) 1968 acceptance speech effort to pose as a moderate third-way alternative to the raging forces of left and right. In this case it would be like George Wallace seizing the podium at that 1968 convention and denouncing the furies he had himself conjured up.
Short of self-criticism, which does not seem to be in his repertoire, Donald Trump is going to have a hard time projecting himself as a unifying figure. But to have any chance of success, he needs to begin by reminding himself that it just doesn’t matter whether the delegates physically before him in the arena go away slightly disappointed that he passed up an opportunity to reflect their excited rage.
By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, July 21, 2016
“Deaf, Dumb And Blind”: Trump’s Convention Was The Whitest Thing On TV — His Electorate Will Be, Too
This year’s Republican National Convention was the whitest event on TV. While Donald Trump made sure to line up some minority speakers who could attest that he’s not a racist, despite his multiple attacks against minorities, the ethnic composition and themes of the convention attendees undermined that effort in a big way.
According to The Washington Post, out of 2,472 total delegates, only 18 were black, less than one percent. Latinos made up five percent of total delegates, though only three Hispanics made it on stage.
Even some Republicans were alarmed by the overwhelming whiteness of the convention. A group of minority Republicans sent out a letter to RNC chairman Reince Priebus expressing concern over “deficits” in the party’s engagement with non-white communities.
“We have watched in dismay as the presumptive nominee of our Party, the Party of Abraham Lincoln, has caused massive defection, disgust, and disinterest with comments and behaviors that are offensive to the very demographics we need to win this election,” they wrote in the letter.
The way some RNC attendees and speakers used their ethnicity in order to convince the public of Trump’s character was cringeworthy. Lynne Patton, the vice president of Trump son Eric’s foundation and a Trump family friend, talked about how the Trumps stuck by her through her drug issues, and how she’s proof that the Trumps don’t hate minorities.
“As a minority myself, I personally pledge to you that Donald Trump knows that your life matters,” she continued. “He knows that my life matters, he knows that LGBTQ lives matter, he knows that veterans’ lives matter, he knows that blue lives matter,” she said.
Ralph Alvarado, a state senator from Kentucky, was the token Hispanic, and aimed to bring Latinos into a party that has turned increasingly hostile against them.
“There have been comments that I can’t agree with,” Alvarado said before his speech. “There’s things that he said that none of us like to hear, obviously with the judge… I know a lot of those things come from frustrations.” Yet he aimed to show Trump as someone who will build a wall, but will include “a big beautiful door on the front of that wall,” echoing Trump’s plan to deport 11 million people and allow “the good ones” back in to the United States.
Jessica Fernandez, a 31-year-old Cuban American delegate, found it hard to fit in to a crowd of mostly white, mostly older Republicans.
“Just look around,” she told the Post. “I’m a little unicorn.”
The Miami native was rooting for Marco Rubio during the primaries, but now she was “toeing the line for Trump,” despite the many friends and loved ones who told her not to attend the RNC, and that they could not support Trump.
“I just wish Trump would chill with some of the rhetoric,” she said.
But the rhetoric Fernandez wishes Trump would avoid fuels his campaign’s base, and the convention made that very clear.
During Trump’s acceptance speech on Thursday, a message from a white supremacist was shown in the hall.
“Tonight I’m with you, I will fight for you, and I will WIN for you!” -Donald J Trump It’s time to start WINNING again!
The @Western_Triumph Twitter handle is pretty self-explanatory, but their use of hashtags like #AltRight, #ProWhite, #RaceRealist and #LoveYourRace further evidences their views on race. Apparently, Trump’s social media director didn’t see fit to check that.
The phrases that got the most cheers from the crowd also made clear what kind of party Trump supporters want. Any mention of the wall got them going. When Sabine Durden called undocumented immigrants “illegal aliens,” they went wild.
Infamous KKK leader David Duke expressed unwavering enthusiasm for Trump’s convention. Seeing the opening for white nationalism created by Republican candidate, Duke just announced that he plans to run for a senate seat.
The RNC also tried, unsuccessfully, to reach another demographic at the receiving end of Trump’s rhetoric – women. Trump saved his best card, his daughter Ivanka, for the feat.
“At my father’s company, there are more female than male executives,” Ivanka said. “Women are paid equally for the work that we do, and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out.”
While she discussed the gender pay gap, she denied it as the real issue creating wage discrepancy. Instead, she said motherhood is to blame, and promised her father would change labor laws and make childcare affordable. That hasn’t previously been in Trump’s agenda — did he read Ivanka’s speech? — and his campaign has not elaborated on this promise.
Ivanka is pretty, likable, and a great speaker, but the tone of the RNC completely dismantled her claims of a color- and gender-blind Donald Trump, at least as a candidate.
The racism present at the convention can only be matched by the misogyny it accompanied. Speakers and attendees over and over used Hillary Clinton as an excuse to voice centuries-old rhetoric against women.
Chris Christie’s speech, in which he had the crowd chant “guilty!” seemed like a trial against a woman who dared step outside her lines in the seventeenth century.
The Salem-style witch-hunt against Clinton was a major theme in the convention. Trump advisor and delegate Al Baldasaro, who was present at the convention, has repeatedly stated that Clinton should be shot for treason. An Ohio politician, not at the convention, said the same week that she should be “hanging from a tree,” a statement he later apologized for, unlike Baldasaro, who is now being investigated by the FBI for his remarks.
T-shirts with the words “Life’s a Bitch – Don’t Vote for One,” flew off the racks. Other hot items included a pin that said “KFC Hillary Special. Two fat thighs, two small breasts… left wing,” and a shirt with Trump riding a motorcycle, wearing a shirt that says “If you can read this, the bitch fell off,” showing Clinton falling off the bike.
What does Ivanka think about that?
By: Germania Rodriguez, The National Memo, July 22, 2016
Some of you may have noticed that I have been off the grid for the last several days. Unfortunately, my wife lost her mother and her last remaining paternal uncle, both in the same week and only 2 days apart. We are now in Nebraska to remember and celebrate their lives. Obviously, and I’m confident that you would agree, my first priority is to my wife and family. I will be back and posting as soon as I can. Thanks to all for your understanding.