Donald Trump on Thursday, August 27th
night accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for the November election from the White House Lawn,
in which he sought to defend his record on the pandemic while tearing down Democrat Joe Biden – sometimes inaccurately – as a “weak” instrument of his party’s left-wing. He blasted Democratic rival Joe Biden as a hapless career politician who will destroy “American greatness,”
h said and added, “Joe Biden is not a savior of America’s soul,” Trump asserted during roughly 70 minutes of remarks. “He is the destroyer of America’s jobs.”
In a speech delivered from a huge stage on the White House front lawn he said he did so with a “heart full of gratitude and boundless optimism,” and described the upcoming election as “the most important in the history of our country.”
In direct contrast to what Biden had characterized Trump to be during the Democratic Convention a week earlier, the incumbent who is seeking a second term said, “We understand that America is not a land that’s cloaked in darkness. America is the torch that lights the entire world. This towering America spirit has prevailed over every challenge and lifted us to the summit of human endeavors.”
Among the most noted lines of Biden’s own acceptance speech came when he promised to deliver the nation out of division, arguing that Trump “has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst,” Biden said. “I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness.”
As the president strode to the podium at the end of day four, he had two additional options. The first was to shift the focus from his performance during his first term by laying out a compelling vision for the next four years. After nearly an hour at the podium Trump did lay out a vision for the future, but it was a rushed, almost perfunctory recitation of bullet-points.
The real energy of the speech lay in the alternative strategy—turning the election into a choice rather than a referendum on President Trump’s first term or a competition over plans for the next four years. Trump would have the voters believe that Joe Biden is a “Trojan horse for socialism” too weak to stand up to Bernie Sanders and the radical socialist left, a candidate who if elected president would “demolish the suburbs.”
Republicans largely abandoned talk of the health crisis as if it had abated, in favor of reminding voters of the robust economy that existed beforehand. During the Democratic convention the previous week, Biden put the focus on holding Trump accountable for his actions during the outbreak.
“These two conventions have offered very different pictures of reality, in terms of where our country is now and what our future may hold,” said Christopher Devine, an expert in U.S. elections at the University of Dayton in Ohio.
Although most of the speakers ignored it, the administration’s headliners, First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, did their best to defend the president’s record. The first lady opened with a heavy dose of empathy for Americans who have suffered during the pandemic, assuring people “you are not alone… my husband’s administration will not stop fighting until there is an effective vaccine.” And Vice President Pence claimed that “we’re slowing the spread… we’re opening up America again… and we’re opening up America’s schools,” ignoring the reality that the premature opening up of states, especially in the south, brought the virus back with a vengeance and that most of our schools are not able to conduct business as usual.
During the Republican convention, President Trump’s strategy for closing the gap became clear: intensify his support among white working-class voters while diminishing opposition among white suburbanites (especially women) and peeling off enough African American men to prevail in the Blue Wall states—Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania—whose electoral college votes put him over the top in 2016. The alternative—tacking to the center and softening his tone to broaden his appeal—seems not to have been considered.
While Trump gave the speech on the South Lawn of the White House, protesters gathered just outside the cordoned-off area to call for the end of the Trump administration, blowing horns and sirens in an attempt to drown out his televised speech (though they were at a distance).
Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris has ripped into President Donald Trump to rebuke the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC), saying it was “designed to soothe his ego”.
“The Republican convention is designed for one purpose — to soothe Donald Trump’s ego. To make him feel good. But here’s the thing, he’s the President of the Us. And it’s not supposed to be about him,” Harris said in a speech in Washington, D.C on Thursday. “It’s supposed to be about the health, and the safety, and the well-being of the American people,” she said. “And on that measure, Donald Trump has failed.”
Harris railed on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected 5,863,363 million people and killed 180,595, the highest tallies in the world. “It’s relentless. You can’t stop it with a tweet. You can’t create a distraction and hope it’ll go away. It doesn’t go away. By its nature, a pandemic is unforgiving. “If you get it wrong at the beginning, the consequences are catastrophic. It’s very hard to catch up… President Trump got it wrong in the beginning,” she added.
Biden responded Thursday to the Trump campaign’s recent attacks on him with a lengthy statement directly refuting Vice President Mike Pence’s speech on Wednesday night. “Vice President Mike Pence stood before America and with a straight face said, ‘You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.’ His proof? The violence you’re seeing in Donald Trump’s America,” Biden said. “Did Mike Pence forget Donald Trump is president? Is Donald Trump even aware he’s president?
“These are not images from some imagined ‘Joe Biden’s America’ in the future. These are images from Donald Trump’s America today. The violence we’re witnessing is happening under Donald Trump. Not me,” Biden said. “How safe do you feel in Donald Trump’s America?” The Biden campaign wants the presidential election to focus on Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and on the economic fallout.
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele — a critic of President Trump — warned that the presidential race is a dead heat and that Democratic nominee Joe Biden needs to offer a more compelling argument for why he should be elected.
“This is a 50-50 race. It’s a 50-50 race right now,” Steele, one of the many high-profile Republicans who are supporting Biden, said in an interview Thursday on “The Long Game,” a Yahoo News podcast.
Biden held a robust lead over Trump over the late spring and into the summer, but that lead has been shrinking. The RealClearPolitics polling average
showed Biden up by 10 points in June, but the lead is now around 7 points.
One thing is clear: the suburbs will be the central battleground in 2020, and both parties face challenges. If Republicans persuade suburban voters that Democrats will not stand up to violence and looting, President Trump could win a come-from-behind victory. If Democrats persuade these voters that Republicans are trying to win the election with racist dog-whistles, the result could be a Biden landslide.