Weekly Opinion Editorial
GOP CONVENTION RECAP!
by Steve Fair
Last week was the 2020 Republican National Convention. Originally planned for Charlotte, NC and then moved to Jacksonville, FL and then canceled due to COVID-19, the ‘business’ portion of the convention was in Charlotte on Monday. 336 of the 2,550 duly elected delegates cast the ballots of their state’s delegates by proxy unanimously for President Trump and Vice President Pence. Both then spoke to the group. The GOP platform from 2016 was rolled over to 2020. After the business portion was complete, the convention then moved to Washington and the Mellon auditorium.
In four days, the Grand Ole Party had 70 speakers, including the two nominees. Some of the more notable and memorable ones were: U.S. Senator Tim Scott, (R-SC), Alice Johnson(a criminal justice reform activist who served 21 years in jail), Rep. Jim Jordan, (R-Ohio), Ann Dorn(a St. Louis police captain’s widow), Andrew Pollack(daughter was killed in school shooting), Nicholas Sandmann(a young man harassed for wearing a MAGA cap), Jon Ponder(former felon who runs a non-profit to help former inmates), First Lady Melania Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence. Four of President Trump’s children spoke as well as a daughter-in-law. Three observations:
First, law and order will be a major theme of the 2020 Trump campaign. Several speakers spoke of President Trump’s support of law enforcement. None more compelling than Pat Lynch, president of the NYC police union. “There is no other choice than Donald Trump when it to the safety of all Americans,” Lynch said. Lynch criticized Democrats of walking about from police when they voted to defund. “They have made it hard for officers to do their jobs effectively,” Lynch said. This issue puts a squeeze on Biden. The radical left wing of the Democratic Party is preaching defunding- the more moderate wing law and order. Biden needs a united Party to win. Law and order is a winning issue for Trump.
Second, Trump is not conceding the minority vote in 2020. From Secretary Ben Carson to Senator Tim Scott to U.N. Ambassador Niki Haley, the convention featured more people of color than the traditional Republican convention. Trump has found support among those demographics because he has not ignored them. For years, Republicans ignored African-American voters because they didn’t vote for Republicans and African-American voters didn’t vote for Republicans because they ignored them, creating a self fulfilling prophecy. The minority speakers made a case based on what Trump has done for their communities in his first term.
Third, the thin line between government and campaigning has vanished, if it ever existed. Both the president and the first lady spoke from the White House. Critics claim Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech from Jerusalem, while on official business, was a violation of the Hatch Act, a law prohibiting federal employees from engaging in political activities. The president and vice president are exempt from the Hatch Act, however the President did perform two official duties during the convention. He signed a Presidential Pardon for Jon Ponder and spoke to five naturalized citizens after they were sworn in. That thin line between governing and campaigning vanished. Other incumbent presidents have used the office as a campaign backdrop, but never to this extent. The genie is out of the bottle and expect future presidents to do the same.
President Trump’s Thursday evening acceptance speech outlined his plan for the next four years. It was substantive, but the POTUS wasn’t as fired up as normal. The speech was too long(70 minutes). The reported viewership was slightly less than Joe Bidens’, but he did not get a bump in the polls after his speech. Expect Trump to get a substantial bump. Last week’s GOP convention had an average everyday American appeal- unlike the Democratic convention, which pandered to the radicals.