In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.
The four-night Republican convention had twin aims, officials tell Axios:
Parts of the convention were effective — including stories of personal empathy, and testimonies from Black allies like Herschel Walker, the former NFL star, who said: "I take it as a personal insult that people would think I've had a 37-year friendship with a racist."
- Make Trump more palatable to suburbanites who hate his rhetoric but like some of his policies.
- Ratchet up the fear factor for the Biden-Harris ticket, mostly using riots and safety as hot buttons — "deadly sanctuary cities," and charges Biden would let in jihadis, take down the wall and turn criminals loose.
The bottom line: All those moments were designed to create a permission structure for nervous suburbanites to vote for Trump despite possible stigma in their social circles, a Trump aide told Axios.Yes, the permission ramp was quite rickety.
- But Trump advisers admit there was there was lots of contradictory messaging, such as hitting the Biden-backed 1994 crime bill as too harsh, while crowning Trump the candidate of law and order.
- And harping on rising violence in big cities, when Trump is in charge.
Damon Linker at The Week:
Donald Trump is far behind with female voters. Given that fact, one would expect the Trump campaign to make some moves to appeal to women. Yet on Tuesday night, anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson addressed the RNC and its audience of millions, despite her holding views that go far beyond garden-variety opposition to abortion.
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Johnson faced a firestorm of criticism for saying in a YouTube video earlier this year that her "brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons." Then, shortly before the RNC began, a White House reporter for CBS News drew attention to two of Johnson’s tweets from May in which she expressed support for "bringing back household voting," which would give each household a single vote — and give husbands "the final say." (Johnson doubled down on this outlandishly retrograde position on Tuesday evening just a few hours before her speech.)
No wonder, then, that when she stood at the podium at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C., Johnson unleashed an unmodulated attack on her former employer Planned Parenthood, denouncing its "racist roots," deploring its "barbarity," and even pausing to evoke "what abortion smells like." The assault naturally culminated in gushing praise for the anti-abortion efforts of President Trump.