The RNC Convention Edition
APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
FiveThirtyEight Poll: 42.1% — up from 41.5% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 46% — down from 47% last week
Zogby Poll, 8/26/20, Trump Job Approval 52%
Welcome to Trumplandia, a place where with a bit of wit and snark, we keep the world caught up on all of the tasty Nuggets-O-Trump you may have heard about, but were too busy to care. Because most of this minutia occurs just below the massive headlines about the POTUS, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.
So just like the president, we start it all with a little tweet like this:
Greetings from Earth 2
The week of our Trump — Aug. 22, 2020: When the week began, it was evident that whatever the Republican National Convention did during its four days in the national spotlight was going to be vastly different from what the Democrats did the week before.
Sure, we knew there wouldn’t be cool musical performances from hip young stars, no collabo between Common and John Legend and definitely no elaborate, virtual roll call from all across the country. However, when the Grand Ol’ Party held its convention this week it wasn’t just different, it was out of this world!
Held somewhere between North Carolina, the internet and, unbelievably, the White House itself, the convention to re-elect incumbent President Donald J. Trump was so different that we in The Shinbone Star newsroom mused it was from that place we lovingly call “Earth 2.”
Filled with a cadre of Trump sycophants, the 42nd Republican convention showcased a world where the novel coronavirus is a bygone memory, where police brutality is hailed as law and order and “suburban housewives” believe their opinions should come from their husbands after they have cooked a tasty meal.
Featuring praiseworthy speeches both virtual and in-person, Republicans highlighted “celebrities” of a different sort, like the couple that pointed assault weapons at peaceful protestors, a few disgruntled Democrats, and Trumps, Trumps and more Trumps!
But regardless of who was speaking or when, there was a singular message: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were destroying America even though they were not yet in office.
Dark, foreboding and dystopian, every conservative speaker hammered home the point that a country without Donald Trump as president would be a dark, disease-ridden place with astronomical unemployment and riots in the streets — just like every day in 2020. The suburbs would disappear, Republicans claimed, along with your guns, liberty and safety.
The White House, “the people’s house” was used like a cheap political prop and only favored one set of voters for the first time in history.
Republicans offered no formal party platform and no goals other than to serve “Dear Leader,” making the four-day fest a challenge to every presidential norm, as well as to the patience of anyone brave enough to watch. I was not one of those brave folks, instead choosing to scan Donnie’s Twitter feed. It seemed like a much better option.
The festivities kicked-off on Aug. 24. The spectacle featured speeches from Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel; Democratic Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones; Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.); and the usual Trump butt-munching suspects like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)
However, the first night was opened by the founder of conservative student organization Turning Point USA, who described the divisive racist in the Oval Office as “the bodyguard of western civilization.” He said the 2020 election will be “a decision between preserving America as we know it and eliminating everything that we love.”
But the night belonged to the president’s oldest son, Donald, Jr., who delivered a speech that many compared to an infomercial and one that made him look like he may have been high on more than just life. Glassy-eyed but focused, the junior Trump praised his father’s quick action on battling COVID-19, which has killed more than 180,000 Americans in five months, and said his dad’s Democrat challenger wants to crush working men and women.
However, the night belonged to Don-Don’s side piece and former Fox News television host Kimberly Guilfoyle, who exuberantly screamed her support for the president. Guilfoyle screeched:
“They want to destroy this country, and everything that we have fought for and hold dear, They want to steal your liberty, your freedom. They want to control what you see and think, and believe, so they can control how you live.”
The second night was filled with more praising of Trump, including a speech from sarcastic-faced teen Nick Sandmann, who sued and won against CNN for its coverage of his sneer at a Native American protestor. First Lady Melania Trump and the president, who began the night by inappropriately using his office to first pardon a reformed bank robber who created a non-profit group, and then swearing-in five immigrants at an impromptu naturalization ceremony.
But ironically, it was his two sometimes forgotten children who capped the evening by making the case for their father’s re-election.
Eric Trump, who just last week pleaded the Fifth Amendment to avoid an interview with the New York attorney general about his father’s business dealings, said:
“Every day, my father fights for the American people, the forgotten man and woman of this country, the ones who embody the American spirit, which is unlike anything else in the world.”
But faster than you could ask, “Did he just violate the Hatch Act?,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rode in to push the envelope of inappropriate political behavior even further. Speaking on a prerecorded feed from Israel, the former congressman made history by joining the political conversation, something that violates the very purpose of his office.
The seemingly blatant violation was addressed by the State Department, which told Fox News reporter Chris Wallace that even though no one from the Department was supposed to participate in or attend political events, Pompeo transcended the office and participated in the campaign “in his own personal capacity.”
The third night was owned by Vice President Mike Pence, who also told a small audience about the pending doom and gloom expected from Democrats should he and Trump lose in November. Speaking from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md., where workers destroyed part of a brick walkway at the historic naval base in order to erect a stage for Complicit Mike, the veep warned the crowd no one would be safe in Joe Biden’s America.
Instead, Pence said former Vice President Biden would “fundamentally transform” the nation, taking it into uncharted territory towards “socialism and mob rule.”
Pence’s address came as social unrest in Kenosha, Wis., entered its fourth night after police shot a presumed unarmed, Black motorist, Jacob Blake, following an altercation on August 23. The police shooting left Blake at least temporarily paralyzed and touched off protests in the vital swing state.
In what was described as “performance narcissism” by historian Jon Meacham, Trump closed things out on the fourth night of the convention by accepting the nomination for president from his party and by hammering home his fears of a Biden presidency in front of a crowd of 1,500, mostly mask-less supporters on the White House South Lawn.
During his hour-long speech, Trump said he wanted to make sure things would never be happening like they are now during the end of his first term. He recklessly promised a vaccine for coronavirus by the end of the year:
“This election will decide whether we save the American Dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny. It will decide whether we rapidly create millions of high-paying jobs or whether we crush our industries and send millions of these jobs overseas, as has been foolishly done for many decades. Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists and agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens.”
In the end, Trump closed the convention much like he began, in denial of the natural and man-made disasters he failed to address and obsessed with the upcoming political battle against the former vice president under President Barack Obama.
Taking a Knee for Social Justice
Meanwhile, back at the hellscape that exists in many cities in Donald Trump’s America, another Black motorist was mowed down by police, this time in Kenosha, Wis.
The weekend police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake touched off a fresh round of protests for social justice across country.
Blake was allegedly breaking up a fight between two people on Sunday evening when police responded to the scene. As he appeared to return to his car, Blake was followed by officers who attempted to tase and arrest him.
He was ultimately shot in the back seven times by officers as he attempted to enter his vehicle. The incident was captured on a cellphone video and shared across the nation on social media the evening of the shooting. Blake, who is currently paralyzed from the waist down following the shooting, had been handcuffed to his bed as the result of outstanding warrants.
Yesterday Police said warrants for Blake’s arrest had been vacated and the officers guarding him had left his hospital room after he posted bond and was released from custody.
The shooting of a presumed unarmed Black man touched off days of protest and riots, in Kenosha. Police have suggested Blake was armed with a knife during the incident and the shooting was in self-defense.
The incident has drawn the normal response from the White House, which dispatched federal police to the troubled city.
Meanwhile, Blake’s shooting touched off days of protests in professional sports with athletes from the NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and the NFL sitting out games in protest.
On Wednesday, players from the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic boycotted their NBA playoff game to “shed light on the ongoing racial injustices facing American communities,” members of the teams said in a prepared text on Aug. 26:
“When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.”
The move by Milwaukee and Orlando became a league-wide boycott, with games from the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trailblazers all postponed. Each of the Game 5 playoffs are expected to be rescheduled by the NBA.
Players in the WNBA joined the protest, with members of the Washington Mystics, Atlanta Dream, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, Connecticut Sun and Phoenix Mercury also boycotting games on Wednesday.
WNBA games on Aug. 27 were also canceled in protest between the Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever, the Dallas Wings and the New York Liberty, as well as the Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm.
Major League baseball followed suit and canceled most of its games on Aug. 27 in light of the protests and the shooting of Blake.
The most dramatic protest and call for justice may have been held by members of the New York Mets as they prepared to play the Miami Marlins at Citi Field in New York.
The effort was led by Mets outfielder Dominic Smith, who is Black and who knelt during the National Anthem on Aug. 26. Players from both teams began the game late. Both teams stood around their dugouts at the beginning of the contest in full uniforms and participated in the National Anthem.
Both teams then stood silently for 42-seconds before returning to their dugouts and agreeing to call off the game in pursuit of social justice. The two teams left a “Black Lives Matters” t-shirt at home plate prior to their exit.
“After seeing the comments Dom made last night, it’s not just about Dom, but it really touched all of us in the clubhouse,” said Smith’s teammate Michael Conforto.
Players from the NBA have been holding their playoffs at Disneyland in Orlando in recent weeks following the shutdown from the pandemic. The WNBA is playing its games at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, in response to the COVID crisis.
Members of the NBA, led by LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, initially threatened to end the basketball season as a result of the incident in Kenosha. However, all members of the playoff teams met with league officials and decided to resume the season this weekend.
WNBA play resumed yesterday and the NBA is expected to resume play this weekend.
Without much of a peep from the White House, pro athletes — those SOB’s Trump has so often taken to task when they do anything other than play a game — again drew his ire.
Dickhead Donnie said following the protests in the mostly Black NBA that the league’s ratings are bad “because people are a little tired of the NBA. They’ve (the NBA) become like a political organization and that’s not a good thing for sports or the country.”
Trump went on to praise Wisconsin’s governor and boasted about sending the National Guard to the cheese state to maintain order. Without acknowledging Blake, the police shooting or the shooting of protestors that occurred on Aug. 25, Trump blamed the mayhem following the shooting on the Democratic mayor of Kenosha, John Antaramian.
Trump said watching athletes kneel during the National Anthem earlier this month in a call for racial justice made him turn off the television.
The NBA’s biggest star, LeBron James, retorted at the time:
“I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game.”