The words “Sleepy Joe” were never spoken at the Republican National Convention this week. Instead, President Donald Trump’s campaign took aim at Vice President Joe Biden as a candidate with a secret socialist agenda.
“This election will decide whether we save the American dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny,” the president said.
“He’s a Trojan horse with Bernie, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi, Black Lives Matter and his party’s entire left wing, just waiting to execute their pro-criminal, anti-police socialist policies,” said Rudy Guiliani, former mayor of New York City.
It’s a strategy the campaign will likely use until November, although political commentator Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina says it’s just not who Biden is.
“He has never been a left-leaning politician. He has always been in the middle of our political dialogue,” said Campos-Medina.
Campaigns often play on the fear of voters. In 2016, the Trump campaign focused on illegal immigrants. This year, on the rioters that have come out during Black Lives Matter protests.
“Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free reign to violent anarchists and agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens,” the president said.
But even as the president drove home his message of law and order, the campaign sought to appeal to black voters.
“Every issue important to black communities has been a priority for him. Prison reform, rebuilding broken families. Bringing jobs back,” said Ja’Ron Smith, White House adviser.
And the president touted his response to the coronavirus pandemic, even as an average of 1,000 people die a day in the U.S. from the virus. And the president’s polling low in that arena, says Ashley Konig, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University.
“The convention itself was trying to combat that narrative, talking about the pandemic, talking about the protests and jobs and the economy and what the Trump administration has done. But the polling tells a different story,” Konig said.
New Jersey’s Rep. Jeff Van Drew took center stage last night to explain his party switch and support for the president.
“Democratic leaders told me that I had to vote for impeachment or my life would be made difficult and I wouldn’t be allowed to run again. Listen, I’m from South Jersey and you better come at me with more than just loud words and empty threats,” Van Drew said.
Other speeches from Ivanka Trump and KellyAnne Conway over the four days tried to paint a softer image of the president than the one the public knows.
“I recognize that my dad’s communication style is not to everyone’s taste. And I know that his tweets can feel a bit unfiltered. But the results, the results speak for themselves,” Ivanka Trump said.
Overall, Doug Steinhardt gave it high marks.
“I think the president really dug down, was measured, was deliberative, made it clear that we need to be tough on China, we need to eradicate COVID, talked about creating jobs, lowering healthcare costs, standing up for and alongside our police departments, and draining the Washington swamp,” Steinhardt said.
And something never seen before, a convention held at the White House. It’s illegal for taxpayer property to be used for a political campaign, and hundreds gathered close with no masks. None of it stopped the president.