Shutting the Door on the RNC—-
As we move away from the RNC, I’ve begun reflecting on how effective the RNC was, and what this may mean as we move towards November. There’s clearly a deep divide within the Republican Party. I don’t think anyone is disputing that, but I also think Trump is not doomed. Not even close.
While Cruz gave an impassioned address on Wednesday night that was met with boos, Trump’s speech on Thursday night will be the lasting image of the Republican convention. Trump threw as much read meat to the audience as they could handle. Without sounding hyperbolic, Trump’s speech sickened me and scared me about the direction of our country, but I am not the person, who Trump is looking to appeal to. After reading some reaction from conservatives, it seemed pretty clear that Trump did what he needed to do. I’ve never disputed the fact that Trump can be successful when he’s scripted, but the question is what happens when he gets off script. Trump and his advisors had likely been preparing that speech for upwards of eight weeks since Trump won Indiana leading to Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropping out. There’s no doubt in my mind that it would powerful. With the Republican Party struggling with unity, Trump needed a speech, which would convince supporters of his primary opponents to get off the sidelines and vote for him in November. We won’t know how successful he was until November, but I think he’s taking steps in the right direction. It was clear Trump’s goal wasn’t to appeal to Democrats, or even independent voters, which is why it’s more difficult for me to evaluate the speech at face value.
In additional commentary, I was optimistic after hearing Peter Thiel’s speech. No, I’m not turning into a Republican, but when Thiel said, “I’m proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican, but most of all, I am proud to be American”, and the Republican Party embraced it, maybe the GOP is going to be ready to move away from some of these moralistic issues. Setting my personal issues with Peter Thiel aside (ask me sometime about what he did with Gawker and how absurd it is….), this could be a transformative moment for the Republican Party.
This was not a conventional convention though. Trump relied on C-listers to make the point that he’s the best person to be elected, but that’s Trump for you. He doesn’t want to pander to the political establishment, and I could have never imagined Trump desiring to have the number of the professional politicians that Hillary will have at the DNC, at the RNC. If Trump wins, it’s not likely that he’s going to have the same group of political insiders advice him from inside the White House, but instead, he’ll turn to his contacts from his time in the private sector. What Trump has done thus far has worked effectively, and he’s not looking to change it.
From street level, a moment that is going to stick with me is when we were talking to a convention volunteer about where the parties could find common ground, and she struggled to come up with anything that the parties could do to reach across the aisle to accomplish something. While I have no idea what this volunteer’s background was, I think that viewpoint is probably more common than we’d think among members of both the Republican and Democratic parties, which I think is unfortunate. Whether Trump or Clinton is elected on November 8th, there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed as a country. While I would be disappointed if Trump got elected, because I think we have very different worldviews, I would still want him to be able to keep our country afloat.
On to November,