Sunday, 30 August 2020

Republican Convention

Four years ago in his convention acceptance speech, Donald Trump promised that "the crime and violence that afflicts our nation will soon come to an end". In his inaugural address, he said that "this American carnage stops right here and stops right now". Three and a half years later, however, violent crime in the US is picking up in some cities and protests over police brutality have at times turned ugly. Hence, the president's argument has become that it's the fault of state and local Democrats - and voters can send them a message through Trump's re-election. Note Donald Trump is very good at blaming someone else.

The Republican Party has spent the past four days constructing a psychological bubble around the president, a more comforting reality sheltered from the tumult of the past six months.

The Republicans focused on the steps the president did take, such as banning some travel to the US from China [although commercial flights had already been stopped], streamlining and co-ordinating research into therapeutics, the just-announced $750m on new rapid-result coronavirus tests and talk of a coming miracle of American ingenuity [a vaccine] before the end of the year.

The main focus of the Republican convention, however, seemed to be to remind Americans of the economic accomplishments that took place before the pandemic - the 2017 tax cut law, renegotiated trade deals with Canada, Mexico and South Korea, and what was once record-low unemployment. There have been nearly six million cases of Covid-19 in the US, and more than 180,000 deaths. That is a cold, hard fact that Donald Trump and the Republicans spent the week trying to talk around.

During a speech read from a teleprompter, with little of the free-wheeling, stream of consciousness style typically associated with Donald Trump’s public remarks, he made little mention of the distress that has swept the country in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the more recent shooting of Jacob Blake, focusing instead on what he called the “anarchists, agitators, rioters, looters and flag-burners.” Joe Biden was mentioned 41 times in the speech, whereas Donald Trump was not mentioned once in last weeks Democratic Convention.

At the end Donald Trump looked worn out, not a good sign for the beginning of a campaign.

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