The Republican party has gone all in on Trumpian rhetoric and conspiracy theories.
By Solomon Smith, Political News Editor
Speaking solely to its base, a Trump-designed Republican National Convention offered fear, misinformation and tones of nationalism.
With her arms open wide and staring directly into the camera, Kimberly Guilfoyle’s screaming delivery was the symbolic theme of a contentious Monday night filled with more than the usual political exaggerations. She spoke directly to viewers in front of several American flags with a fanaticism that was jarring.
“He emancipates you and lifts you up to live your American dream,” said Guilfoyle. “Don’t let the Democrats take advantage of you … President Trump is the leader who will rebuild the promise of America and ensure that every citizen can realize their American dream. Ladies and gentlemen, the best is yet to come!”
Empty of any real message, it was a passionate delivery that evoked visions of Evita Peron, talking up the greatness of Trump but offering no evidence. . She used words linked to the history of slavery, painting a picture of Trump as Lincoln freeing Americans.
Conversational sections meant to humanize Trump had him speaking to several people in the White House, ignoring social distancing and without masks. Talking to first responders about his handling of the virus, his guests praised his fast response to the coronavirus. The president referred to it as the China virus, a bigoted term used to by the president to cast blame for the spread of the disease on the Chinese. It was interspersed with comments about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been proven to be ineffective against COVID-19.
GOP leader Ronna McDaniel talked about being only the second woman in over a 100 years to be in charge of the party. She attacked banning fossil fuels and accused Democrats of “raising taxes on 82 million Americans” while lying about Democrats pushing for “abortions up until the point of birth.” No party has ever had that policy.
Football legend Herschel Walker described Trump as a “personal friend,” magnanimous to everyone around him. Walker continued, saying that Trump shows he cares about social justice through “personal action.” His speech was centered as a counterpoint to Trump’s history of racist and inflammatory statements but was offered in a vacuum.
“It hurt my soul to hear the terrible names that people called Donald. The worst one is racist,” said Walker. “I take it as a personal insult that people would think that I had a 37-year friendship with a racist. People who think that, don’t know what they're talking about. Growing up in the deep south, I’ve seen racism up close. I know what it is, and it isn’t Donald Trump.”
His comments ignored past remarks the president had made about immigrants, the Central Park Five or the birther movement which was spearheaded by Trump.
Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones, a Democrat, wasted no time in using terms that were unsettling.
“The Democratic party does not want Black people to leave their mental plantation,” said Jones.
He goes on to use more of the slave imagery that had been littered throughout the night. He continued to praise Trump’s support of HBCUs, one of which Jones graduated from. He pointed to opportunity zones and tax reform along with the prison reform bill signed by Trump. He also spoke about police officers needing more training and funding, neglecting to mention the source of recent uprisings: police shootings.
Rebecca Friedricks, the school choice activist who attacked unions in a lawsuit, painted a nation of children under attack from Democrats.
“Democrats stand with deceptive teachers unions who pick on loving teachers and little kids,” said Friedricks. “President Trump stands with America’s families, and most important, great teachers.”
A video of Mark and Patricia McCloskey introduced them defending their home, as they waved guns at unarmed protesters. Their speeches introduced specific fears — of people of color and the poor.
“They’re not satisfied with spreading the chaos and violence into our communities, they want to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single family home zoning,” said Patricia. “This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments into now thriving suburban neighborhoods.”
The McCloskey’s were the only ones with guns in the provided video.
Donald Trump Jr. followed the example set by his father: name calling, exaggeration and outright lying. He called Biden the “Loch Ness Monster” of the swamp and claimed that his father was solely responsible for the improved economy, ignoring the joblessness of the last few months. He almost completely ignored the pandemic.
Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was the most subtle speaker of the night. Having served as governor of South Carolina during the Charleston Church shooting in 2015, she removed the Confederate flag from state house grounds, but the Haley of Monday night was a different person, walking in lock-step with her party down playing her own accomplishments.
“In much of Democratic America, it is now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie,” said Haley.
Haley stated that her family faced “discrimination and hardship”, that her father was given an opportunity at an HSBU (necessitated by racism) but claimed there is no racism in America. She continued with an all lives matter explanation devoid of the introspection or context of her own life experiences. Her speech argued against itself. It indicated racism is the product of Democratic imaginations by pointing to examples of the very racism she claims does not exist. It was logically inconsistent.
The first night of the RNC was a clear display of the Republican strategy expected to be used in the remaining nights of the convention. The RNC will conclude Thursday night on major networks.