The festival of demagoguery, jingoism and cult of personality is over, and seldom has the public been deluged with such a combination. Is it any wonder then that the GOP establishment is hiding in embarrassment. Should the Democrats be relieved? They probably are, though they could have wished for it to run longer as continuing proof of Trump incompetence.
This was the worst, most poorly run, boring convention ever. Mr. Trump had called the 2012 convention boring. He topped it. He had promised excitement, glitz, showmanship, celebrities, stars. Perhaps the latter refused to come as did all the past Republican presidents.
Where were the Republican senators and congressmen? Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin spent ten minutes: he returned home to find the Koch brothers had pulled $2million of support. Yes, the rich, powerful, ardent right-wing supporters of the GOP cannot stand Trump. Yes, there was change: the main body of the Republican party was absent.
We were treated to a parade of prime time speeches by the family, the women, like mannequins, indistinguishable, the men grim unless on camera, all larding us with images of a softer Donald who had phenomenal rapport with the working man, for whom he was going to fight.
He would bring back jobs, repair infrastructure while cutting taxes, renegotiate trade deals, use American business leaders who know how to get things done … . Really? The ‘how’ remained missing. And the American businessmen? Suffice to say that the loss of jobs and trade imbalances are caused by the very same businessmen manufacturing in China, and elsewhere, to cut costs, and then importing the products. It is all a matter of profits, and the profits are tied to share prices and their bonuses.
In his campaign, Trump has alienated the Hispanics, the African-Americans, the Muslims and the women’s vote. His appeal is to the white working class, particularly the less well educated. That is now a small demographic constituting less than a third of the electorate. But, in an electoral system where the winner of a state gets all its electoral votes, he can never be completely discounted. Minority populations are centered in big cities, and there are plenty of states without them. One final caveat (hope) though: In 2012, Mitt Romney won the whole white male demographic, yet it was not enough to win the election.
The convention droned on, with miscues, mistiming, unscripted faux pas like a prime time speaker, Ted Cruz, repeating mostly his primary campaign address, and then refusing to endorse the nominee to a chorus of boos from the audience at the chaotic end of his speech.
The best in the hall came from Mike Pence, the Indiana governor and vice-presidential candidate. Looking clearly more presidential than the nominee, he extolled the virtues of his tenure, bringing jobs to his state. His strategy was to offer big corporate tax breaks and subsidies to beat out neighboring or competitor states. On a federal level it’s a different ball-game however.
What’s more, Governor Pence’s family seemed real; the public could relate to it. In Mr. Trump’s case, we listened in three days to a son from one marriage, a daughter from a second and a wife from a third (who was also caught plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech from the 2008 Democratic convention). If Mr. Trump was seeking balance on the ticket, he certainly got it.
So to the climax on the final day. Daughter Ivanka married to property developer Jared Kushner (whose father is an ex-convict!) gave the introductory speech. Who else could it be when he is shunned by the Republican establishment? Aside from repeating the laudatory fluff heard earlier from siblings, she bucked the week’s repeated mantra of big government to actually offer a government program: childcare for single working mothers.
Gross hyperbole was to follow from the nominee. It was not morning; it was the darkest hour, midnight, in this great land. A raft of statistics to bolster … but then who was it who coined the phrase, “there are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics?” For example, killings of police officers are about the same as last year, not in some hyper overdrive as claimed. The speech was long, very long, in fact the longest in living memory, almost all of it focused on problems, real and imagined, followed by assertions he would solve them, yet hardly ever any hint of HOW. No prescriptions, just assertions … and the desperate will trust him.
The election of Donald Trump casts a pall; the election of “crooked” Hillary simply appalls. What a choice?