COLUMN: Republican National Convention epitomizes hypocrisy within the Republican Party

Night one of the Republican National Convention utilized scare tactics in an attempt to rally support for Trump’s reelection.

Sydney Lewis is a first-year journalism and political science major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about politics and identity for The Maneater.

On night one of the Republican National Convention, false claims and fearmongering overshadowed the night’s main event through the use of divisive intimidation tactics. These tactics were used to tear down the Democratic Party and accumulate support for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

Within the first four minutes of the introduction, the narrator, actor Jon Voight, mischaracterized the Republican Party’s stances on several key issues. “We come together tonight to imagine a country with [...] the belief that all are created equal, that lives matter irrespective of race, creed or color,” said Voight.

Historically, Republican leaders have consistently made decisions that contradict this. When it comes to removing Confederate statues and portraits from the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said removing every person who has a connection to slavery is “a bridge too far.” The Republicans want to memorialize slave owners and traitors to the Union. Stuart Stevens, a Republican media strategist, was quoted in The New York Times, claiming race as “the original sin of the modern Republican party.” The party cannot claim that “lives matter irrespective of race” when Trump is calling white supremacists “fine people” and telling Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar to “go back” to where she came from. The Republican party says that “all lives matter,” but they don’t mean it. They say it to discredit the work being done by the Black Lives Matter movement.

The RNC chose not to adopt a new platform because they “did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement.” According to their 2016 platform, they aspire to “protect the voting rights of every citizen,” while Trump simultaneously undermines the mail-in voting process for the November 3 election. The Republican Party has also been responsible for gerrymandering in several purple states. For decades, Republicans have deliberately zoned districts to benefit their candidates. The Republican Party is the party of voter suppression.

The RNC attempted to boast that “President Trump’s swift action [on COVID-19] saved lives.” The 2019 Global Health Security Index reported in October 2019 that of the 195 countries studied, none were prepared for a pandemic. The United States, included in this claim, had previously made troubling decisions regarding public safety. In 2018, the global health security team founded under the Obama administration was disbanded by then-National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in the U.S. in January 2020, Trump has done little to slow the spread of the coronavirus. He urged governors to open their states in the spring despite all indications that it wasn’t safe due to the increasing number of confirmed cases in major US cities. Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, said that reopening schools this fall would not be dangerous. This has been proven false, following reports of cases spreading at summer camps and schools that decided to open.

Trump tweeted that taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug the FDA said can cause kidney, heart and liver problems, would help defend against COVID-19. A couple in Arizona who followed Trump’s suggestion faced dire consequences; one died and one was hospitalized after taking chloroquine. Instead of “saving lives,” Trump has only increased the number of preventable deaths due to COVID-19. As President, Trump has a responsibility to use his platform to accurately inform his audience, especially when it comes to public health.

Besides the misleading statements that started the convention, the speakers themselves used recycled tactics to accumulate support. They attempted to instill fear in voters by highlighting the “socialist” views of former Vice President Joe Biden, calling him the Loch Ness Monster of the swamp. This juvenile name calling shows the true priorities of the Trump campaign and the lack of professionalism within the RNC.

This fear stoking tactic is not new for Trump or the Republican Party. Their dark language at the convention resembles the language of Trump’s inauguration speech in 2017. In that address, he said, “the American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” But the carnage didn’t stop. It got worse. Trump called for a “MAGA night” at the White House while Black Lives Matter protests were raging outside, instigating a potentially violent confrontation between white supremacists and protesters. Trump has a history of racist remarks and actions which have only been amplified since he took office.

Despite this, Trump chose to campaign on the slogan “Keep America Great.” The campaign fails to realize that America is only great for people like Donald Trump. For people who are living through injustices everyday, America has never been great and as long as Trump is president, America will never be great.

With the presidential election approaching, it is crucial that MU students know the true values of the party they’re voting for.

As part of its commitment to highlighting organizations fighting for racial justice, the Maneater is encouraging readers to donate to The Milwaukee Freedom Fund, a bailout fund supporting protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Donate at: https://supportwomenshealth.salsalabs.org/mkefreedomfund/index.html

Edited by Sofi Zeman | szeman@themaneater.com

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