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Assault on America, Day 562: Brace yourself for 2020’s unconventional party conventions

Donald Trump
The big political conventions are a month away; the question is whether anyone will attend

Thirty-one days from today the quadrennial Democrat National Convention -- or a drastically scaled-down version of it -- is set to begin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Traditionally speaking, both parties’ nominating gatherings are the culmination of years’ worth of planning and are intended to be celebrations of common values and virtues as well as grand statements of hope that the future is bright for the primary-voter-tested presidential nominees.

Political fans relish the roll call of states as well as the evening primetime pitches featuring a who’s who of faction notables. The program always highlights the current cast of stars as well as provides hints as to who’s seen as an up-and-comer in the estimation of the establishment. Remember Barack Obama’s speech to the 2004 convention? The fresh-faced Illinois pol outshone nominee John Kerry by leaps and bounds that year.

The Democrats’ big party was originally slated to begin last Monday night (July 13), and by the time you read this, should’ve concluded yesterday evening with Joe Biden delivering his poll-based and focus group-approved summation of the (horrible) way things are in America today, packaged with a plea for voters to cast President Donald Trump out of office and install the 77-year old half-century long swamp dweller in the Oval Office instead.

But in today’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP, or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus dominated world, the liberal party pushed the date back so as to allow for more time to “flatten the curve.” Even then, party poohbahs moved the convention site to a much smaller venue and decided to conduct a “virtual” event coordinated with numerous lesser state gatherings across the country. Now, due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the new plan is in doubt as well.

Democrats insist they don’t want to “put people’s lives in danger” like Republicans allegedly are  doing with more of a business-as-usual attitude, as though GOPers are callous and careless by desiring to demonstrate conservatives’ enthusiasm for another four year term for President Trump. It’s the same load of hooey we heard prior to Trump’s Tulsa rally where the know-it-alls lectured organizers on the audacity of holding a real campaign event in the age of coronavirus.

Maybe Democrats will just pipe-in crowd noise and position applause signs around a large banquet room at the Milwaukee convention center to give the line-up a gameshow-like aura that may draw a few curious TV onlookers in addition to the dedicated throngs of rabid anti-Trumpers who would nominate a wart-covered toad if pundits swore it would result in victory.

Will Joe Biden be nominated? Yes. Will the Democrat extravaganza rival the pomp and circumstance of Hillary Clinton’s coronation four years ago? No. Similar to the country’s subdued mood regarding Grampa Joe’s candidacy, August’s convention sounds like it’ll be a real yawner. One can only speculate how the TV networks will cover it. Who wants to see speakers droning on in practically empty (or mostly barren) rooms with scattered masked people pretending to be as amped-up as the circumstances will allow?

The Republicans’ convention (set to commence a week later, on August 24th) promises to be more exciting, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t doubters in President Trump’s sphere as well. Katherine Doyle reported at The Washington Examiner, “As the coronavirus rages across Florida, an Illinois Republican congressman aiding President Trump's campaign said his colleagues are pessimistic about the prospects for the convention in Jacksonville.

“’Everybody just assumes no one is going,’ Rep. Darin LaHood of Illinois, an honorary state co-chairman for the Trump campaign, told the New York Times, joining seven other Republican House members from Arizona, Michigan, Indiana, and New York who said they did not plan to attend.

“Florida is the country's virus epicenter, with 282,000 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Tuesday. The state added more cases over a single day this weekend than any state prior, adding 15,299 new cases Saturday.”

As would be expected, the news media makes a big deal out of every Washington politician who announces that he or she isn’t going to Jacksonville, a list that includes some rather big names (such as Maine Senator Susan Collins, who reasoned she never attends the convention in years she’s up for reelection). I can’t say for certain, but some won’t go because of genuine health concerns, some won’t go because they’re gutless and afraid of being seen as too close to Trump (which would supposedly hurt them politically) and some will stay away because they’re secretly rooting on Joe Biden and pray that a small, unimpressive convention will mean Trump’s on his way out.

The establishment never changes no matter what the location, national mood or year. Four years ago, in Cleveland, for example, wishy-washy ruling class losers lined-up to tell the media that they were ditching the party convention. To name a few, John McCain didn’t want to be there as well as 2012 failure Mitt Romney, George W. Bush and little brother Jeb and reigning Ohio Gov. and Trump primary rival John Kasich. Then-Speaker Paul Ryan sounded sheepish when he said he had to go because he was the one who would open the convention. What a sacrifice!

Nevertheless, Trump promised it would be a meticulously-coordinated and passionate convention, well worth watching. He was right. From the nominee on down, event participants put on a good show. From Trump himself to Vice President-to-be Mike Pence to each of the Trump children to retired Gen. Michael Flynn, the speakers line-up pressed the case against Hillary Clinton. Not even the Wednesday evening dust-up over Sen. Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement spoiled the revelry. Trump’s final night speech was a classic. All in all, a big success.

The atmosphere in Jacksonville will be considerably less tense. If for nothing else, the mandatory mask requirement as well as daily COVID-19 testing and temperature checks will make attending the convention feel a little bit like visiting the doctor’s office. Democrats will probably make their own screening even more intense; don’t be surprised if delegates are ordered to submit to a proctological exam and supply every medical record since birth to gain entrance.

Democrats have significant incentive to limit their convention size since they need to provide the impression that everyone’s still scared to death of their own mortality and there’re no amount of masks or other PPE that will alleviate the fears of the public. One wonders if they’ll go out of their way to screen Black Lives Matter or other leftwing groups’ “protesters” to stave off certain embarrassment from a dramatic increase in COVID cases in Milwaukee and around the country after the final gavel.

Biden himself is in the highest risk category (as is Trump) and party elders would do everything in their power to keep Joe vertical for another six months (until Inauguration Day, 2021). There’s been much speculation that Grampa Joe is a mere placeholder for his carefully selected running mate, who many envision will end up being the nation’s first woman president. If Democrats win in November, will they cancel inauguration festivities in January as well? What if the day is especially cold? They’d have to dress ‘ol hair sniffin’ joe in a parka with Russian-style fur cap (a gift from Vlad Putin?) to protect him from the elements.

As far as Jacksonville goes, it will be interesting to see how Republicans plan the nightly agenda. Trump himself said they’re going to be very flexible, which conceivably means organizers won’t know until the day of whether the program will take place indoors or outside. Or it could be that attendance will be so limited it’ll seem as dry and empty as the Democrats’ Lollapalooza. Not likely. Conservatives don’t seem to be as fearful of the coronavirus -- and with the proper prevention measures, a pretty inspiring convention is possible.

Trump should take a page from his recent Independence Day speeches at Mt. Rushmore and in front of the White House. There haven’t been any reports of people dying by the busload for having gone to see Trump at either of those appearances. And you can bet your bottom dollar the media is overturning every stone searching for a case where someone got sick from being there.

No delegates, no noise, no booing, no cheering. Does a virtual convention equate to real-time boredom?

What would a “virtual” convention look like? Luckily we’ve had a few glimpses of what a spectator-less political gathering might entail. The PGA Tour, for example, resumed its schedule about a month ago with recognizable professional golfers strolling otherwise familiar links without gobs of patrons taking in every drive, approach shot, chip and putt behind the ropes. The players themselves don’t seem to mind too much -- scores have been extremely low in every tournament thus far (for you non-golfers, that’s a good thing). But the complete absence of emotion isn’t enticing either.

Golf isn’t a team sport, so there’s no compelling need to feed off the energy from other people. Oddly enough, the bi-annual Ryder Cup competition was postponed a year because the players themselves didn’t want to participate if there weren’t fans cheering on each side (the U.S. vs. Europe in one of sports’ truly most entertaining events). We could find out soon whether pro basketball or baseball or football will be worth the time to tune-in without crowd noise. Some have suggested it'll be like watching a scrimmage or a practice with referees… and beer commercials.

How about politics? The product of decades in the entertainment spotlight, President Trump can put on a good performance even without thousands of people cheering him at close-hand. He wouldn’t treat his acceptance speech like a run-of-the-mill rally in any case. So there wouldn’t be any dramatic strolls around the stage or nods to people in attendance. It won’t feel that different.

Joe Biden’s address promises to be chockful of race baiting, teeth gritting and finger-pointing in Trump’s direction. His speech writers will touch on all the major fearmongering themes, prominently featuring COVID-19 death figures, the rapid rise in unemployment claims this year and blame Trump for the racial divide even though his predecessor was a black man and didn’t “heal the wounds.” Having no one there to witness Joe utter the words? It won’t matter a darn.

Just like with the rest of this year, 2020’s conventions will feel weird. Neither party is likely to gain or lose much from having a virtual stay-at-home event.

Polls showing Biden way ahead don’t mean much in July. Finally, someone said it.

Switch on any establishment news media channel and you’re likely to see some Democrat pundit or politician crowing about the considerable polling lead Grampa Joe Biden enjoys over President Trump. But with an incredibly volatile political climate, how can any polling operation put together a model that will accurately match this year’s electorate?

Jonathan Easley reported at The Hill, “Speaking with reporters on a conference call about presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s new climate change plan, [Rep. Mike] Kelly said the polls are not taking into account Trump’s support from those who turned out to vote for the first time ever in 2016.

“Kelly argued that ‘likely voter’ models used by most pollsters are not sampling those first-time voters.

“’If you had talked to people the week before the [2016] election, they would have said this guy is so far behind Hillary Clinton he can’t win,’ Kelly said. ‘Well people, they didn’t poll first time voters because they didn’t know who was voting for the first time. By the same token, most of the same polls I’ve looked at, you’re still polling likely voters, so these people aren’t going to get polled.’”

There’s some truth in Kelly’s theory, though one would think pollsters would factor in a certain quantity of first-time voters. In my mind, the real dilemma involves how many votes Trump will receive from disaffected African-American and Hispanic voters who are sick to death of being taken for granted by Democrats and pandered to as though they’re clueless identity politics lightweights who don’t know how to think for themselves.

The burned-out and practically lawless inner cities are bound to change some folks’ minds this year. Democrats have done nothing but make excuses for -- or ignore -- the excesses of the mob. No help is forthcoming from their direction. Are these people being asked to weigh-in?

With one month to go until the parties’ political conventions, it’s still very much up in the air as to what they’ll look like and who will be permitted to attend and participate. Democrats and Republicans take different approaches to dealing with the CCP virus pandemic and its possible threats, and this will be no typical year for political theater.

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