Not much to say about the RNC spectacle so far. My assessment from 50,000 feet is that day one was about some hard work to put Biden in his place and to show voters what is at stake. Day two now appears to have been more about what a sweet, caring and capable leader Trump has turned out to be. I think they did a better job on night two, but the issue addressed on night one – labeling Biden – is probably more important to help get Trump across the victory line in November (or December, or January).
The presentation of the convention has been much closer to what we have seen in years past. The greater number of live appearances at the RNC just feels more like what we are used to. The First Lady’s speech seems to have been effective. Instead of criticizing her delivery or text, the mainstream media seems more interested in understanding why the rest of the Republican Party doesn’t act in greater conformity with the Mrs. Trump’s speech. It’s actually a good question.
And Trump himself got the festivities started off early by revealing his kindler and gentler side in a love note directed at CNN:
Don’t get me wrong. There has been an effort with these proceedings to do something new and even push the envelope. Innovation is good, right? The problem is that the innovations involve breaking US law by using the lands and offices of the government to promote one political party’s candidate over another. This may seem like a quaint complaint to many, and I understand. Even before Trump, there was the inevitable blurring a lines between what was said by an incumbent in campaign, mode versus what was said in governing mode. But using government property and also having the Secretary of State speak while on official State Department business overseas, these are norms that have never been broken, until now.
I think we will be seeing more red meat in the last two days of the RNC (I know, safe bet). The kinder-gentler Trump theme from last night is probably being put back in the closet in favor of more fiery attacks and doomsday predictions. This is the challenge for Trump, not just at the convention, but between now and the time that the election results are announced: define Biden.
We have heard it countless times, but it bears repeating: if this election is just a referendum on Trump, he loses. He has to make Biden look worse in order to get re-elected. Night one missed the boat a bit because it depended on current images of the US (Under Trump) as a violent Hellscape. Saying that electing a DIFFERENT President will result in ‘more of the same’ presents a cognitive dissonance that will undermine the strategy.
Republicans have two more days to somehow show that, despite the clear issues that are holding back the US (economic and otherwise), we should ‘stay the course.’ I remain curious about how the Republicans will try to thread that needle.