Republican National Convention Recap

Robert Brooks Contributor
Republican National Convention Recap
Read Time: approx. 2:18

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RNC Recap: The Republican National Convention wrapped up last night with President Donald Trump accepting the nomination during a prime-time speech delivered from the White House grounds—the first time a president has ever held a party convention at the executive mansion. The speech concluded with a display on the National Mall, during which “Trump” and “2020” were spelled out in vibrant fireworks. Over the span of four-days, the schedule of speakers included a mix of high-profile politicians and everyday Americans. On Monday much of the focus revolved around Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. On Tuesday First lady Melania Trump spoke along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Nicholas Sandmann, a student from a Covington, Ky., high school who had a widely publicized encounter with a Native American activist on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 2019. On Wednesday South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem had a breakout night. Madison Cawthorn, the Republican nominee for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district also gave a speech in which the paralyzed 25-year-old stood up from his wheelchair. Then last night, America heard from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Ivanka Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Franklin Graham, and Dana White. Here is the reaction to the convention from both sides:

On the Right: Unsurprisingly, conservatives and right-leaning commentators reacted positively to the convention. Writing for the New York Post, John Podhoretz said the RNC “was, all in all, sensationally effective — and effective in ways that the mainstream media and its Twitter chatterers clearly found it impossible to understand.” Podhoretz said Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, was most effective when the Congressman said this:

  • “Growing up, he had to cross the street if a white person was coming. He suffered the indignity of being forced out of school as a third-grader to pick cotton, and never learned to read or write. Yet he lived to see his grandson become the first African American to be elected to both the United States House and Senate. Our family went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime. And that’s why I believe the next American century can be better than the last.”

Podhoretz pointed also to Nikki Haley, child of Indian immigrants, who said:

  • “America isn’t perfect. But the principles we hold dear are perfect. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America. … We seek a nation that rises together, not falls apart in anarchy and anger.”

In summary Podhoretz says, “There was a wacky freshness to the Democratic confab. Shockingly, given the Democratic advantage when it comes to A-list showbiz glitz, the GOP event was more efficiently produced and more authoritative.”

On the Left: Left-leaning outlets and commentators had a less optimistic reaction to the RNC. Writing for The Washington Post’s opinion section, Dana Milbank titled his piece, “Republicans’ ‘uplifting’ convention turned into a rage-fest.” Milbank says, “It was a veritable festival of fear — made all the more intriguing because it was delivered by the incumbent president’s party. Four years ago, Trump pledged to end ‘American carnage.’ Now he’s asking for another four years to put an end to all the additional American carnage he created in his first four years. The difference is his leadership has turned the dystopian America Trump pictured into more of a reality.” Milbank says “even Fox News cut away from live coverage — and the rage and dystopia invariably overtook the scripted calls for ‘hope.'” Writing for The Guardian Cas Mudde says “The Republican convention is proof that traditional Republicans have given up.” Mudde says, “sure, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, both spoke, but they were exceptions, and sideshows to the Trump show.” Mudde adds, “The Washington Post claimed that this means that ‘the Republican party stands for nothing’. But this is obviously wrong. Trump is the platform! And by now, even the Post should know what Trump stands for: authoritarianism, corruption, egocentrism, nativism and populism.” In conclusion, Mudde says “he’s argued before [that] US democracy is not dying in darkness. It is dying in plain sight … if it is dying at all, but that is up to the American people and its vote.”

Flag This: Which convention was more ominous? Obviously it depends on who you ask and what prime-time network you watch, but that’s the question each party and their respective media outlets want you to think about. Take a look:

This matters because the conventions have made it clear that the upcoming election is based on fear, not hope. This makes it feel like a race to the bottom. With that said, it’s important to note that during both conventions there were upbeat remarks about America’s history and its future. Unfortunately, by the time multiple speeches get spliced together into a highlight real, media outlets opt for hyperbolic fear-based language to drive clicks and engagement. In terms of what’s next, there will be a focus on early voting (which you can find out more about here) along with candidates attempting to get back on the road to campaign in person. Joe Biden said Thursday he will soon campaign in person in battleground states that could decide the US presidential election, a change of course for the Democrat who has largely hunkered down during the coronavirus pandemic. “I’m going to be going up into Wisconsin, and Minnesota, spending time in Pennsylvania, out in Arizona, but we’re going to do it in a way that is totally consistent with being responsible,” the 77-year-old former vice president told reporters. Trump will undoubtedly be out and about as well. In roughly a month the first debate will unfold. As The Drudge report states on its banner headline this morning: “IT’S GOING TO BE UGLY.”