The Republican president broke the neutrality principle and used the White House to accept his party’s nomination in “the most important election in U.S. history.”
This past Thursday, Donald Trump presented himself as the only guarantor of peace and prosperity in the United States in the face of the threat posed by the Democratic Party, which he described as a dedicated ally of radical socialism. Acting provocatively, typical of Trumpism, the president formally accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for reelection this November, giving his speech in the White House garden between large campaign posters, in a place where, until now, it was considered sacrilegious to conduct party events. There were 1,000 people in the audience without masks and who were not socially distanced as recommended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. On the other side of the wall, a group of protesters demonstrated against the president.
“We are here and they are not,” Trump said at the end of a nearly 50-minute speech, using the same tone he uses in his rallies, drawing laughter from the crowd, mocking Joe Biden and pronouncing his name nonstop (41 times, according to a CNN count). “Joe Biden is weak. He takes his marching orders from liberal hypocrites who drive their cities into the ground while fleeing from the scene of the wreckage,” he stressed amid applause.
The Republican president, who is running for reelection amid an economic and health crisis, is arousing fear aimed at Democrats, taking advantage of the unrest this summer in cities run by progressive governors.
He addressed himself to Americans, showing images of burned cars and stores set ablaze the day before in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and tried to associate those very fresh images with the Democratic presidential candidate. “Make no mistake, if you give power to Joe Biden, the radical left will defund police departments all across America. They will pass federal legislation to reduce law enforcement nationwide,” he warned, despite the fact that the former vice president has said he opposes this proposal by the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party.
Nov. 3 is bound to see a colossal collision between the two political sides in America: The urban Democrat against the popular Republican, the one who chants “Defund the police” and the one who warns against anarchy, the one who wants an end to immigration patrols and the one who wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. Obviously, that isn’t realistic. Polarization doesn’t take into account the millions of citizens who want policies against systemic racism but don’t want to defund the police, who want public health but don’t want to eliminate private health care.
However, what the independent voter feels, the same voter who has doubts and at the end of day is the decisive vote at the ballot box, does not appear on the campaign trail. There certainly weren’t any of these feelings on the White House lawn this past Thursday. “If the Democrat Party wants to stand with anarchists, agitators, rioters, looters, and flag burners, that is up to them. But I as your president will not be part of it,” Trump said. Former Republican New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani took the same approach in a speech, warning, “Don’t let Democrats do to America what they have done to New York.”
Paraphrasing Vice President Mike Pence’s words from the previous night, Trump said, “No one will be safe in Biden’s America.” He portrayed Barack Obama’s former vice president as a puppet of the radical left who plans on leaving the country at the mercy of violent anarchists; meanwhile saying his administration wants to protect the American identity and peace. “We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years,” the president said.
The Democratic Party`s rhetoric has shifted to the left in recent years; however, the Obama era vice president represents exactly the more moderate segment that prevailed in the primaries against more heavily supported candidates. Yet, Republican rhetoric fits with how Trump would have acted against an opponent such as socialist Bernie Sanders. In fact, he referred to the senator from Vermont multiple times, calling him “crazy Bernie,” and said that Sanders wrote Biden’s platform. In speaking about that, he consistently referred to the “Biden-Bernie manifesto.” This is a way for Trump to put on the Democratic ballot the name of a politician who is much more troublesome for the Democrats, even though he is not a candidate.
Despite all this, nothing is more radical than the Republican platform, which this time revolves around a single idea: that of Donald J. Trump. For the first time in history, the Republican National Committee has decided not to adopt a new campaign platform, but will instead “continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.”
Biden’s Soul of the Nation vs. Trump’s American Dream
Trump presents the election as an existential crossroads for the United States, saying, “This is the most important election in the history of our country. There has never been such a difference between two parties or two individuals in ideology, philosophy, or vision than there is right now … [a]nd this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life or allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it.” This is one of the few points on which both candidates agree, considering Biden also says that this election will be a moment of truth for the “soul of the nation.”
In any case, this is the moment of truth for many nations. Half the world is looking at these elections with a heavy heart. In large part, the future of global trade, climate agreements and the stability of defense treaties depend on this election.
The Republican president puffed out his chest when speaking about NATO allies’ increased contribution to the alliance and the renegotiation of the trade deal between Canada and Mexico, also known as the New NAFTA. He defended his erratic management of the pandemic, which has taken the lives of nearly 180,000 Americans, and presented himself as the president who will fight the hardest for industry in America. “We will again build the greatest economy in history,” Trump stated. The American economy had been experiencing its longest period of growth in history when this unexpected global crisis exploded. Despite the disaster, Trump’s base appreciates the tax cuts, the deregulation and his stance as a tough negotiator.
In summary, the night was a glimpse of what is to come in the next two weeks. At their convention, the Democrats presented immigrants and parents of coronavirus victims. Trump brought Davi Dorn’s widow. Dorn, 77, was a retired police officer who died in early June during the riots in St. Louis, Missouri, when he tried to prevent a store from being looted. Trump also brought the parents of Kayla Mueller, an American involved in humanitarian aid, who was kidnapped and murdered by the Islamic State. These reveal two different angles.
Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka, introduced the president and made one of the main speeches of the convention, summarizing the 3 1/2 years her father has been in the White House with, “Washington has not changed Donald Trump, Donald Trump has changed Washington.”
The act ended with the “Nessun Dorma” aria, from the opera “Turandot,” which is generally played at Republican rallies. However, this time, it didn’t come from a stadium’s loudspeakers, but from the White House balcony, conducted by tenor Christopher Macchio. Immediately afterward, fireworks illuminated the National Mall and the great monuments to Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, as if it were the Fourth of July.