I’ll admit it — I lean left. If I could vote, instead of being stuck in the endless purgatory of a green card status, I would vote for Joe Biden in this year’s election. It should come as no surprise, then, that the DNC, to me, seemed to blow the RNC out of the water.
In fact, my first reaction watching the RNC was, and I quote, “Is this a cult?”
The impression that the Republican party left on me begged more questions. Does this convention actually accomplish what the GOP wants?
In this election, with a dwindling approval rating and record-low polling average, Donald Trump and the Republican party should not be playing to its base. The goal of the RNC should be to expand its base — to humanize its candidate and walk back some of its more extreme policies.
After all, that’s exactly what the DNC did. Over its nights of programming, it featured the story of a boy from New Hampshire with a speech impediment that got personal help from Joe Biden. Biden, in his primetime speech, made calls to the other side of the aisle and spoke of a unified American emerging from the darkness.
But in the first days of programming we’ve seen at the RNC, that hasn’t been the case. Yes, there have been humanizing moments for the Trump campaign — the awkward but personal naturalization ceremony, or Mike Pence’s conversations with average Americans — and those moments may have accomplished the goal of softening the rough edges of Trump’s ideology.
But the messaging emerging from the convention is not unified. The Republican party, trying to masquerade an elephant as a donkey, has missed spots where make-up should’ve been applied. Speeches, and speakers, feel through the cracks.
There was the first night of the convention, marked by a dystopian and ear-splitting speech from Kimberly Guilfoyle, and a dog-whistle sit-down with the McCloskey’s. Congressman Matt Gaetz painted a picture of a “horror film” should Biden be elected, complete with the abolition of the second amendment, emptying of prisons and takeover of the MS-13 gang.
Then on the second night, the Trump family’s own Eric and Tiffany spoke, ironically coming after an earlier speaker criticized Biden for nepotism.
While this type of rhetoric may ignite the base, it does nothing to serve what should be the Republican party’s ultimate goal: Swaying swing voters.
There are moments of brightness throughout the night that do serve that goal — and even compel someone like me to try to see the other side, like Senator Tim Scott’s speech on the first night — but the way the RNC has been constructed erases any feeling of goodwill in an instant.
Does any of this matter? Probably not. The percentage of voters that care enough about politics to tune into the minutia of the Republican National Convention must be minuscule. But the fact that the GOP is so muddled in its messaging with close to two months until election day does not bode well for its candidate.
The RNC, so far, has failed to adequately soften Donald Trump and the policies he supports, and it will cost the party with swing voters. This convention was its chance to turn the tide, but its patchwork attempt at changing Trump’s image has failed.
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