At last, the conventions have ended. Donald Trump’s convention had a much larger audience than Biden’s, but the surprising thing is that Americans did not pay enough attention to either one.
The White House lawn was the perfect setting for projecting Trump’s message. The argument that the law prohibits the use of public spaces for party political campaigning by parties was fainter than the silent presence of COVID-19. These are exceptional times. Nevertheless, those attending Trump’s convention, with the exception of a few respectful citizens among the crowds, did not wear masks or respect required social distancing measures. May the Lord have mercy on them.
The Republican campaign theme has been the supposed “socialism” of the Democrats. I have heard this argument before, and I do not believe it. Neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris have anything to do with the communist vision of society.
I remember the Spanish elections of 1982, in which Felipe González triumphed with an absolute majority. A Cuban with whom I worked, a good person, entered my office to tell me that he was leaving for the United States. He had suffered considerably from Fidel Castro’s collectivist delusions, having been forced to sow “Caturra” coffee in the cordón de La Habana.* “Why are you leaving?” I asked him. “He [González] can stick his cord of olives where the sun don’t shine.” Any reasoning I could have put forward would have blown up in the face of my colleague’s lived experience.
Four Cubans were featured at the Republican National Convention. Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez, Mercedes Schlapp, Lourdes Aguirre and Máximo Álvarez, a man who delivered a very persuasive speech. He arrived in Florida on the back of “Operation Peter Pan,” orchestrated by Cuban priests and the CIA during the John F. Kennedy administration.
It is likely that none of the above would have been able to settle in the United States with an anti-immigrant nationalist in the White House like Trump.
The proof is there to see. Trump, who promised to tear up Barack Obama’s executive orders, respected the one that put an end to the “wet feet, dry feet” order signed by Bill Clinton, which allowed Cubans to seek asylum in the United States or show up at any border post in order to receive American protection. Trump does not want Cubans. At least, he does not want them on American soil.
Not only does he deny Venezuelans the temporary protected status requested by Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart and 30 other members of Congress, despite the fact he knows of the failed communist dictatorship there, Trump is also playing with lives of the 800,000 “Dreamers”— Americans, sociologically speaking, who were dragged to the U.S. by their parents—all for the simple reason that his base does not like immigrants.
At most, Cubans represent 4% of the electorate in Florida; they cannot even win in Miami-Dade. In the election prior to Trump’s, Obama obtained 49% of the Cuban vote. Trump might get about 60% of the Cuban vote in Nov. 3 election. However, Puerto Ricans, clustered around Orlando, Florida, could hand the victory to Biden, as they have cause to feel insulted by the White House. According to Miles Taylor, a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security, Trump attempted to sell Puerto Rico as if the island were just another property in the board game “Monopoly,” without taking into account that for over a century since 1917, Puerto Ricans have been American citizens as a matter of birthright.
I cannot be a Trump supporter, precisely because Trump is an anti-immigrant nationalist and a protectionist, three labels that inspire strong aversion within me. I like that he is prudent, theoretically speaking, that he prefers to lower government spending before increasing taxes, and that he moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. On the other hand, his outrageous hyperbole annoys me, as does his bullying and his inability to understand that the Danes do not want to sell Greenland or that NATO members do not like being publicly insulted..
I understand that his idea is to earn the support of evangelical Christians and that he publicly takes the side of the anti-abortion camp, even if it is a matter that will be resolved by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, someone with a record of his sexual exploits, who takes pride in grabbing women between their legs, surely does this more as a campaign sacrifice than because of any deeply held conviction. This is what Jerushah Duford, Billy Graham’s devotional granddaughter, demands as she habitually accuses him of being an unrepentant hypocrite.
There are now only two months until the election on Nov. 3, so we will see what happens then. According to Real Clear Politics, Biden is ahead in the polls, but we already know that this counts for little.
*Translator’s note: The author is referring to “the Havana cord,” a failed agricultural project in late ‘60s post-revolutionary Cuba intended to provide coffee to Havana by creating a loop of plantations around the circumference of the city.