Saturday, July 23, 2016

Convention Time, Mistake on the Lake?

July is anything but the summer doldrums during presidential campaigns. A few words about the GOP convention this week and we will take a look at the Democratic Convention next week.

Donald Trump owns the Republican Party lock stock and barrel (except for those pesky Never Trumper's) until November and possibly beyond if he wins. However, his chances of winning cannot be considered very likely if current trends continue.

The Good

Trump was able to unify his party as much as he can and has defied the punditry by coming in as an outsider and effectively wresting control of the GOP from a long-entrenched establishment.

Governor Mike Pence will help bring on the Christian right who have been suspicious of Trump to from the beginning. Additionally, Pence has both executive and legislative experience and is a GOP insider.

Even with all of his gaffes, mistatements, and sometimes mind-blowing policy ideas Trump has stayed within striking range of Hillary Clinton in the polls which speaks to her inherent weakness and lack of trust. This also is a testimony to the GOP coming together after a very divisive primary.

The Bad

The convention can best be described as having an atmosphere of darkness, fear, and immanent destruction of the American dream if anybody but Trump takes the presidency come January 2017. Contrast this with Ronald Reagan's sunny and optimistic disposition and attitude from the 1980s. Some of the speakers painted such an apocalyptic vision of the nation should Hillary win that many swing voters will be turned off by the sheer pessimism that was on display.

Another issue was that the delegation in Cleveland had very few non-white faces. For a party that needs to improve its performance among minority groups this was not a good start if it wants to stay relevant at the presidential level.

The Ugly

Ted Cruz. His publically withholding his endorsement of Donald Trump is understandable on many levels, but he certainly should not have spoken at the convention in such a way as this will undermine party unity. Cruz is obviously betting that if Trump loses he will be the GOP 2020 front runner, but his lack of loyalty will probably serve to make him even more of a pariah within the party.

The one thing that is keeping Donald Trump within striking distance are the very poor favorability ratings of Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately for Trump, his own favorability ratings are even lower.

We will see next week what the Democratic Convention brings. Clinton's choice of Tim Kaine for vice president is certainly going to help her at the very least by making Virginia almost untouchable for the GOP in 2016.


The Prof

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