At the end of a chaotic Republican Convention, Donald Trump presented a dim and horrifying future of the United States and the world. “I am your voice!” he promised all the hurt and frustrated.
Before the convention in Cleveland, Donald Trump announced he would put on a such a great show there, one like the U.S. had never seen. There were supposed to be famous sportsmen, celebrities, much fun and many other attractions. After the dismal and disorganized convention, the question has emerged: Will the Republican candidate’s promises be realized with the same effect?
His speech, made on the Thursday, the last night of the convention, was the logical end to a four-day spectacle motivated by frustration and anger. There was anger at Washington’s elites, at the diminishing position of the U.S. in the world, at low middle-class salaries, at Hillary Clinton, who, as the crowd chanted, needed to “locked up. One of the Trump’s supporters, adviser for veterans issues Al Baldasaro, claimed during an interview on NBC that punishing Clinton with prison was too gentle, and that the Democratic candidate should be shot.
During the convention, many politicians and activists also took the floor: mothers mourning children killed by illegal immigrants; even a pastor prayed angrily.
“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” Trump began, declaring himself “the candidate of law and order.” He recited statistics and claimed that in the president’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 people have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And he claimed that almost 4,000 people have been killed in the Chicago area since Obama took office.
Although these numbers are true and horrifying, they distort the truth. The overall level of crime in the U.S. has dropped significantly and has been the lowest in half a century.
“Our roads and bridges are falling apart, our airports are in Third World condition,” Trump said dramatically (sometimes even shouting at his microphone). Horrible free trade deals take jobs away from American workers, he said. Furthermore, illegal immigrants murder innocent citizens, he claimed.
Luckily, there is a recipe to solve these plagues. Trump will eliminate crime, defeat the terrorists of the Islamic State in a flash, build a great wall on the border with Mexico, renegotiate free trade deals, make the United States’ NATO allies pay for their security, and make the United States’ enemies show respect for America. “I am your voice,” Trump shouted to the frustrated gathered in the arena and watching on television. It was a clever move, challenging Clinton’s campaign slogan, which reads, “I’m with her.” Trump’s slogan reads: “I am with you.”
Could this angry performance, theoretically the most important one in the whole campaign, gain him new followers (not only the faithful fans)? The polls will show. In the latest polls, only a few percentage points separate the New York City billionaire and Hillary Clinton. When asked by reporters about the conclusions people were supposed to draw from this convention, he responded that they should conclude he is strongly admired.
This is also not the whole truth because even some Republicans do not want to have anything to do with Trump. No one from the Bush family came to Cleveland, nor did either of the two former Republican presidential candidates John McCain (who said last year that Trump had fired up the crazies) or Mitt Romney, who has said that Trump is a con man. Conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, defeated in the primaries, came to the convention to speak but did not back Trump. He called on Republicans to vote their conscience.
These ultraconservatives who still do not believe in Trump and have only backed him because they can’t stand Clinton, may be pleased with Trump’s agenda (traditionally passed during the convention). This year it was a radical one. The platform contained the idea of building a wall on the border with Mexico.
We also learned that the platform provides that citizens should have a right to purchase automatic, semi-automatic rifles or clips for several dozen cartridges (which is forbidden in some states). And that there is a need to amend the Constitution to make abortion illegal, to revoke Obama’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power stations across the country, to increase the military budget (which is very high now; the U.S. contributes nine times more to its military than does Russia), to revoke regulations which protect consumers from greedy banks (laws which Obama has signed), and to promote abstinence instead of sexual education in schools. Trump’s platform considers last year’s legalization of gay marriage to be a scandalous usurpation by the Supreme Court, which needs to be overturned , perhaps, as in the case of abortion, by passing a Constitutional amendment.
This platform should not be treated too seriously; it is rather a list of pious hopes, often out of touch with reality. Even the Republican one.
Trump said that security for gay people should be assured (50 people were killed during the recent massacre at a gay club in Orlando.) Two delegates from conservative Louisiana, who had been applauding before, were perplexed by this statement. “Are we also applauding now?” they asked each other. After some hesitation they started doing so.
In addition, Peter Thiel, a billionaire from Silicon Valley who is openly gay, was invited to Cleveland. A few years ago, someone like him would have been booed during the Republican Convention. But now he received applause as he declared that he was proud to be gay and even more proud to be American.