4 Things To Look For At The RNC
The Republican National Convention is this week in Cleveland, Ohio. The event, which will crown Donald J. Trump as the Presidential candidate will be a watershed moment in the breaking of a major political party. This started with the creation of the Republican party platform: A platform that is one of the most backwards major political party platforms in recent history, a platform that seeks to roll back the hard fought rights of marginalized groups, while empowering their base of white supremacists with rhetoric of turning back the clock in America to a point when they were at the height of their powers. Here are four things to look for at this year’s Republican National Convention:
Vice Presidential Nominee Mike Pence
Friday, in a very surprising move, Donald Trump chose Indiana’s Republican Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. The move is pretty baffling, quite frankly. Of the three finalists, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Pence, Pence was the candidate that did the least for Trump’s Presidential bid.
His home state of Indiana is mostly likely a state Trump will win. So, his nomination doesn’t help in terms of securing a win in Indiana. In fact, Pence’s approval rating in Indiana is so low that his nomination may actually put his home state in play. His stance on LGBTQ rights and women’s reproductive health care is the reason for his low approval rating and will mostly likely take a few more states out of play.
Pence is the nominee with the least amount of name recognition. Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich are names that most people with even a passing knowledge of politics know. Mike Pence is not a household name. And in those households where he is a known entity, he’s not viewed positively. For a candidate with an approval rating in the 40s to pick a VP nominee who also has an approval rating in the 40s, and has little to no positive name recognition, is baffling.
Regardless, expect to see Pence all over the event. He’ll obviously have a night where his speech is the headliner in prime time. Only time will tell if he has the ability to defend himself from criticism for his previous positions and effectively introduce himself on a national stage to the voting populace.
An appeal to Bernie Sanders supporters
I’ve written previously about about the Bernie or Bust movement. A movement that has been enamored with the cult of personality around Bernie. Following Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton, we’ve seen many former Bernie supporters declare that their former savior is nothing more than a “sellout”. Those involved in the Bernie or Bust movement have made it clear that under no uncertain terms will they ever vote for Hillary Clinton. With that in mind, following Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary, many of these voters have thrown their support behind Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. But, not all of his former supporters will end up supporting Clinton, Stein, or Johnson.
Trump has made appeals to Bernie’s supporters in the past and he, as well as other Republicans, will most likely do so again from the convention stage. 10 million people voted for Bernie, Trump being able to pull in some of those voters who believe that the “system needs a shock” would be a boon to his chances this November. By highlighting what these voters feel is a “rigged” system and bashing a “corrupt” candidate in Hillary Clinton, Trump should be successful in pulling some of the most privileged of Bernie’s supporters to his side along with those who see some of themselves in him.
Speaking of bashing Hillary Clinton...
Massive Hillary Clinton Bashing
It wouldn’t be a Republican event without everyone coming to the mic and doing their best to portray Hillary Clinton as the antichrist. Don’t expect the RNC to be any different. Following Donald Trump’s lead, the speakers at the RNC will mostly likely bring up Benghazi, email servers, Bill Clinton, what they call Hillary’s time as a failed Secretary of State, her gender, and anything else they can think of in the moment to paint Hillary as a villain that is undeserving and unqualified to hold the Presidency.
Let’s be real, this is Trump’s bread and butter. Attacking Hillary based upon more than 20 years of Republican lies is a potentially winning strategy. It’s to the point where even some Democrats are starting to believe that Hillary is a crooked politician.
Trump is a politician that sticks to his guns. He’s gotten to the place he’s in by appealing to white supremacists and making white people believe that they have to work to protect their entitlements (despite the fact that no one is trying to take anything away from them). He has not pivoted to the middle on his campaign promises, but rather doubled down on them as time goes on. I would expect that Trump and other Republicans won’t pull their punches during the convention and rather go on a full offensive with his criticism of the Clintons, in hopes of finding more attacks that stick going into the general election.
The RNC will be an absolute cluster-fuck. With a candidate that’s white supremacy’s new avatar on Earth, we are guaranteed that many Republicans will let loose and do away with the dog-whistle politics in favor of straight talk to the white supremacists backing them. But beyond that, the focus, or more precisely lack of focus, of this Convention shows just how far this party has fallen.
The shortlist of speakers is all over the place: UFC President Dana White, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, astronaut Eileen Collins, boxing promoter Don King, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former college basketball coach Bob Knight, and maybe former NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow? Trump promised “showbiz” and star power at the convention. Star power, indeed.
In additional to that, each night will apparently feature a “theme”. That’s right, theme night at the RNC. According to CNN, the themes could potentially include “a presentation on Bill Clinton’s past infidelities”, because Republicans can’t pass up an opportunity to tie Hillary to the indiscretions of her husband in an attempt to somehow “prove” that neither of them are worthy of inhabiting the white house again.
The RNC will be an absolute cluster-fuck. It should be an entertaining, albeit terrifying, embarrassing and all-around bigoted, watch.