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Friday, January 21, 2022

Columns

Applause, fireworks abound at the GOP Convention


The GOP Convention has come to a close after four days of absolute madness, an excessive amount of Trumps, boos and calls to “lock her up.” Donald Trump needed this convention to show him as a party unifier and a reasonable man with conservative values.

Did that happen? Yes and no. There were a lot of ups and downs, but by the end of the RNC I had one thought: Trump may win.

Day one — Make America Safe Again

The first day saw the final act of rebellion from the #NeverTrump movement. The group, led by Ken Cuccinelli of the Virginia delegation, pushed for a roll call vote instead of a voice vote to unbind the delegates. This didn’t work, and proved to only rile up the convention in a strong opposition for those against Trump.

The first day’s theme focused an exceptional amount of time on Benghazi and immigration. My highlight of the night was Pat Smith. Her son, Sean Smith, was one of the men who died in the Benghazi attack. . Her line of the night was, “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”

At the end of the night, Trump made his (now) infamous pro wrestling entrance to “We Are the Champions.” Personally, I loved it, because it was everything Trump embodies; flashy, insane, but expected.

Then came Melania Trump, who is arguably the weakest and least experienced of the Trumps to speak at the convention. Her speech was riveting, but she made the mistake of approving a speech that plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2012 DNC speech.

She also decided to rickroll all of the U.S.

Day two — Make America Work Again

The second day was much more relaxed and calm compared to the first. The theme for the day focused heavily on business leaders and those with economic experience.

My speaker of the night was Donald Trump Jr. He had a low bar to clear after the embarrassment of the Melania situation, but he handled it very well. Trump Jr.’s speech did something Trump himself hasn’t been able to do – he made his father likeable.

Notable speakers also included daughter Tiffany Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who got booed during his speech, Speaker Paul Ryan, who did an excellent job of giving a uniting speech, and Chris Christie, whose trial of Clinton was wonderfully entertaining.

Day three — Make America First Again

The third day was the big day. Three of Trump’s former opponents were going to speak – Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Gov. Scott Walker.

The speech of the day goes to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for his excellent announcement speech to the nation. Not many people — except those who follow politics closely — knew who Mike Pence was until this speech. He announced who he was, what he stood for and showed himself to be Trump’s foil.

Pence showed that there was some rational ground within the campaign and was everything Trump was not in demeanor and policy. It was wonderful.

This night is the one everyone will remember when it comes to Cruz’s legacy. He did not endorse Trump at the convention and openly defied him and his supporters . Cruz also took the time to further explain himself the next day and stuck to his guns despite the backlash.

Day four — Make America One Again

The fourth day was Trump’s coronation day. This was his big celebration as he overcame the odds and became the Republican presidential nominee. The day’s theme was “Make America One Again”, which is ironic given the prior day’s events.

My speech of the day – and the convention as a whole – goes to Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, Silicon Valley billionaire and an openly gay republican.
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“Every American has a unique identity. I am proud to be gay, I am proud to be a Republican, but most of all I am proud to be an American,” Thiel said, in what has to be the best line from his speech.

He did not receive boos or jeers. He received a standing ovation. Kudos to Thiel for showing what the Republican Party is truly about.

Then came Ivanka’s speech. She talked up her father as a man of the people and sounded like an educated, strong and sometimes even liberal women on stage. Many of her talking points did not follow historical republican platforms, but her charisma won over the convention floor anyway.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Donald Trump came out to give his acceptance speech.

During the speech, there wasn’t ever a true message of hope, as many would expect, but constant emphasis on the problems America faces. This is classic Trump — he is great at diagnosing the problem, but not at offering solutions.

This speech was an odd mix of populist, protectionist, authoritarian, liberal and conservative ideals that left many people scratching their heads. Overall, this convention did something the media has been craving for years. It had drama, it was exciting, bold and, at times, it made me proud to be a conservative.

At the end of the day, I was left scratching my head about what’s in store for the rest of us as this election season unravels. God help us all.

Opinion columnist Jorden Smith is a political science junior and the president of the College Republicans. He can be reached at [email protected]

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