Ivanka Trump’s speech on the final night of the 2020 Republican National Convention was not especially memorable. It did not need to be. Thursday and the three nights before it were her convention long before she took to the podium.
This was true for a number of reasons. The first is simply that it was for the most part a polished, professional affair. Speeches were not overlong; the last-minute Zoom ethos of the Democrats’ convention was curiously absent. The RNC was a sunny, bright, well-organized affair.
The woman who is arguably the most influential child of a sitting president in American history has always found her father’s base distasteful. This, I think, is the reason why this year’s RNC felt utterly unlike its 2016 predecessor, with its atmosphere of doom and carnivalesque violence. The overriding theme of this convention was optimism about America over the last four years. We heard almost nothing about immigration, which polling has shown is still a top priority of white evangelical voters, or about impeachment. “American carnage” gave way to “Morning in America.”
Instead of endless talk about the wall or the perfidy of Lyin’ Jim Comey, we had segments devoted to criminal justice reform and a deliberate attempt to showcase the Trump administration’s commitment to improving the lot of African-American voters. In the place of “Lock her up,” we heard about the president’s commitment to releasing millions of Americans from prison.
Was this the convention Donald Trump’s fans wanted? I think probably not. But they are not about to abandon him because Louie Gohmert was not given a 35-minute slot to rehearse the number of injuries inflicted upon his asparagus. It was an attempt to reach for the center. Matthew Walther