Four key takeaways from an opening night light on policy, heavy on fear
WASHINGTON — The Republican Party announced it wouldn’t adopt a platform, but it pledged its unwavering support to President Donald Trump as the four-day gathering kicked off Monday.
While the Democratic convention focused on persuasion and de-emphasized base mobilization, the Republican convention so far is focusing on base mobilization and de-emphasizing persuasion.
The president and his allies said the nation is spiraling into chaos and violence, promising that he will work to address it. The convention painted a dark and dystopian vision of the country if he were to lose to the Democratic ticket of former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who were portrayed throughout as beholden to “radicals.”
The effectiveness of the approach remains to be seen, but the mood on opening day was far from the “very optimistic and upbeat convention this week” that Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller previewed Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
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Here are four key Monday takeaways:
1. No policy platform
The Republican National Committee adopted a resolution Monday declaring it will not adopt a policy platform for the election but stated the party’s “strong support for President Donald Trump and his Administration” and its opposition to “policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration.”
The document declared that “the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda” — without saying what it is.
The convention was heavy on adulation for a president whose devoted following has trumped issues that the party has previously emphasized, such as free trade and limits on federal authority. He was painted as a benevolent billionaire who put aside a life of luxury to help the country.
An evening speaker depicted Trump as “the bodyguard of Western civilization” against forces that seek to dismantle it. During the ceremonial roll call, when states touted their proudest achievements before casting their votes, Alabama’s delegate boasted that it was home to Trump’s highest approval rating of any state in the nation.
Sprinkled throughout the evening were video montages of ordinary people lavishing praise on the president.