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5 Takeaways From the GOP Convention

Including clear signs that the GOP is Trump's party now
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2020 9:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – The assessments are rolling in from the Republican National Convention. A sampling:

  • Trump's party: Remember at the 2016 convention when Ted Cruz caused a ruckus by failing to endorse Trump in his speech? No fear of anything like that in 2020. "If any proof were needed as to how completely Trump has taken over the Republican Party, it could be found in the contrast between this year’s convention and the 2016 event," per an analysis at the Hill. Most anti-Trump members of the GOP "have been banished," or at have at least gone silent.

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  • The aim: Yes, some of the messaging was contradictory, with Trump billing himself as a law-and-order candidate while Biden was taken to task for a 1994 crime bill seen as too harsh, writes Mike Allen at Axios. But other parts worked, including stories of "personal empathy" about the president and testimonies from his Black allies. "All those moments were designed to create a permission structure for nervous suburbanites to vote for Trump despite possible stigma in their social circles," a Trump aide tells Axios.
  • The promise: At the Washington Post, Aaron Blake calls attention to the "boldest promise" in Trump's speech: that we will have a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year. "Trump has long sought a quick fix to the coronavirus outbreak, promoting both an unproven drug and therapy," he writes. "On Thursday, like his predecessor Barack Obama, he in some ways campaigned on hope and change—hope of something intangible and unverifiable, and change in the threat of his successor."
  • From the right: Trump nailed it, writes Matthew Continetti at the Washington Free Beacon. "I love my country, and the Constitution, and the principles that animated its Founders," he writes. "And I don't think I'm alone. The Republican convention did a good job of demonstrating that white, Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans agree. What Donald Trump has done is reframe the 2020 election as a referendum on the American idea. And Joe Biden might not know how to answer."
  • What it lacked: Trump's long speech wasn't very good, counters Tim Alberta at Politico. Yes, he covered everything under the sun, "but despite the statements and overstatements, Trump’s speech was most notable for what it lacked," he writes. "Call it humility. Or self awareness. Or introspection. What the president failed to do Thursday is what he's refused to do throughout his presidency: acknowledge the thing that makes so many people dislike him." Just a hint of humility would have made headlines, challenged "every caricature" about Trump, and helped wary voters support him, writes Alberta.
(Read more Republican National Convention stories.)

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