In case you didn’t have the time or stomach to watch the Democrats’ convention last week, I humbly offer this summary:Trump bad.Biden good.You’re
In case you didn’t have the time or stomach to watch the Democrats’ convention last week, I humbly offer this summary:
You’re all racists.
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Those basic elements were front and center throughout the four, two-hour lectures, starting with Michelle Obama’s address on the first night and ending with Joe Biden’s acceptance speech on the final night.
The disciplined approach was admirable, even though the “facts” used to support each element often were shaky or flat-out false. The ideas were hammered home repeatedly because they reflect the core of the Dems’ case and show how they intend to oust the incumbent.
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The Trump Bad, Biden Good contrast displays an obvious plan to make the election a referendum not just on Trump’s record, but also his character.
His handling of the coronavirus was the central focus, with former President Barack Obama and others claiming that Trump failed miserably because he only cares about himself.
Oddly, the Russia hysteria and the Ukraine impeachment, both of which Dems had insisted justified removing him from office, were not mentioned.
Biden, for his part in the character contest, was depicted as a near-saint when it comes to caring about people, a trait attributed to his personal experience with tragedy and grief. The word “empathy” was draped over him like so much sackcloth.
The third main element, the focus on race, is the most radical and risky, especially the frequent endorsement of the Black Lives Matter movement. Group leaders are avowed Marxists and say numerous incendiary things, including that destroying property is not violence and that looting is a form of reparations.
In addition, there were no efforts to separate the protests in response to the George Floyd homicide from the arson and looting that broke out in many cities. Nor was there condemnation of the double-digit rise in murder and other violent crimes in recent months.
My suspicion is that the campaign decided not to condemn the lawbreakers for two reasons. First, the most violent cities have Democrats as mayors, so Biden’s team was not about to alienate key supporters.
Second, condemning the violence would amount to a call for the police to intervene. That, in turn, would upset the supporters of Black Lives Matter because the organization is essentially anti-police. The net result is that a major party’s nominee for president is silent during a nationwide urban crisis.
The Dems’ failure to address the crime situation and the massive spending plans are two obvious openings for the GOP at its convention.
Biden’s promise to “remove the stain” of pervasive racism also raises potential policy pitfalls, from quotas in college admissions and jobs to reparations. While the activists driving the party’s agenda further and further left support a racial-spoils system, there is no indication that the general public does.
Still, the constant focus on race and Biden’s choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate signal that Dems are aiming for increased Black turnout in cities such as Philadelphia to help them win Pennsylvania and other states Trump flipped in 2016. Not incidentally, Hillary Clinton followed the same playbook.
But with surveys showing that most Black Democrats are not as far left as many of the party’s White supporters, it’s not certain that pursuing radical racial policies would heighten Black support for Biden.
The Dems were also evasive about their big-ticket spending plans, which would cost trillions of dollars and involve massive tax hikes. These plans cover infrastructure, health care and climate change, and while all were mentioned as unalloyed good things, none was presented with any specificity or price tags.
The Dems’ failure to address the crime situation and the massive spending plans are two obvious openings for the GOP at its convention, which begins Monday.
The president already has started attacking Biden on both, and is also citing an intelligence finding that says China wants Biden to win the election. With as many as two-thirds of American voters holding an unfavorable view of China, that, too, could be a potent issue for the GOP.
Although Biden leads in most polls, the momentum heading into September could largely depend on whether Trump can use his acceptance address to win back disaffected supporters and persuade others that he is the best choice.
His Fourth of July speech at Mount Rushmore is a good model. There he sketched the great history of America in stirring language and decried what he called the “left-wing cultural revolution” that is “designed to overthrow the American Revolution.”
Noting the left’s blame-America-first approach, the president said: “We declare that the United States of America is the most just and exceptional nation ever to exist on Earth.”
He also talked about the danger of “cancel culture,” saying: “If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted and punished.”
Now he needs an Act 2, one that expresses an understanding of why cities matter and the great harm being done to them. If they become home only for those who can’t escape, commerce will wither and jobs will vanish.
“Would you,” the president might ask his TV audience, “buy a home today in Portland, Seattle, Chicago or New York, knowing that you and your family stand a good chance of being victims of crime and that the police might not show up?”
“Also, the homeless are allowed to set up tent cities on your sidewalks, and your mayor and governor don’t stop them. Would you buy that house even if it were dirt cheap?”
He could cite the refusal of teachers unions to go back to school in New York and other places, and how that undermines our society and exacerbates the educational inequality Dems insist they want to fix.
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There are, then, no shortages of areas where Trump can draw a favorable contrast with Biden.
But the trick is to weave them together in a way that paints a coherent picture of what is at stake in November. And in a way where the narrative, not the narrator, is the message.
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