Mike Pence

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Wrapping Up the Republican National Convention

trump-pence
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and vice presidential nominee Mike Pence on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. / photo courtesy RNC

As part of the Orlando Sentinel‘s Central Florida 100, participants were asked to provide nightly commentary about the Republican National Convention events and proceedings in Cleveland. Below is a compilation of my commentary published in the Orlando Sentinel online last week, with a link to all the commentaries. I look forward to critiquing the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week.

Before moving on, here are some parting thoughts about the “Hispandering” moments at the Republican convention in Cleveland.

Hispanics para Trump

There were few Latinos at the Republican convention (and even fewer blacks), in contrast to previous years. So it was suspicious when on the final night of the convention “Hispanics para Trump” and the “Latinos para Trump” signs popped up everywhere on the convention floor, most of them waved by nonHispanics. That’s a Hispandering moment –  trying to appear more Hispanic-friendly than you really are.

The signs also were incorrect. Not to get too technical but “Hispanic” is not a Spanish-language word. (And besides, it was created in the United States for census purposes.) It should have been “Hispanos.”  Apparently, not enough Latinos around to proofread.

I am not going to quibble, as others have, about whether it should have been “por Trump” or “para Trump.” Irrelevant, at least for me.

Ralph Alvarado

Kentucky State Sen. Ralph Alvarado gave a speech, partly in Spanish (excellent Spanish, too),  reminding Latinos that many have fled dictatorial rule in their homelands for freedom in the United States. It would have been a powerful appeal in any language – for another convention. The words fell flat at a convention in which the presidential candidate has demonized Latinos for over a year and who is threatening to become Strong Man of the United States. Hispandering moment: The Republican Party is not friendly to Latinos this year. Check the irony at the door.

Orlando Sentinel  Nightly Commentary

Monday Night

Who won? Anger and politics as entertainment won the night, as did loose lips and loose facts.

Who lost? The never Trump movement for its inability to rally at the convention to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee. The Republican Party for doubling down on portraying undocumented immigrants, notably Hispanics, as criminals. Donald Trump for the shameful exploitation of the justifiable pain and anger of the parents who lost children. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for being scary crazy and out of control during his fear-mongering speech. The Republican Party, again, for having so few people of color among its delegates – reportedly only 18 blacks – in a country where nearly half the people are people of color. And the Republican Party one more time for turning a serious political debate-convention into a television reality show with third-rate actors.

Read what other Central Florida 100s had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-econ-vote-wrong-myword-071916-20160719-story.html

Tuesday Night

Who won? Donald Trump’s children Donald Jr. and Tiffany did not embarrass themselves or the candidate during prime-time speaking slots, after charges of plagiarism flew against wife Melania for cribbing off a 2008 speech by current first lady Michelle Obama. Paul Ryan managed to barely mention Donald Trump’s name during a speech that emphasized party unity for a party still very much divided.

Who lost? The economy lost Tuesday night, an evening that was supposed to be dedicated to making “America work again.” The slogan didn’t live up to its promise because nobody talked about the economy — how to grow it, how to create jobs, how to steady the lives of the underemployed and unemployed who have been left behind and are huge Donald Trump supporters. Instead, one by one, elected U.S. representatives and senators — who know little about how the economy works — stood before a substantially empty convention hall to talk about government, the very thing Republicans have spent decades badmouthing as ineffective, bloated and out of control. Where’s the plan for the economy? There was none. Because there is no plan, just empty words. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lost because he was booed both times he came on stage.

Read what other Central Florida 100s had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/central-florida-100/os-everyone-loves-donald-trump-jr-cf100-gop-convention-watch-20160719-htmlstory.html

Wednesday Night

Who won? Former astronaut Eileen Collins dared to speak of science and exploration before a Republican audience that increasingly is anti-science. Ted Cruz enjoyed great applause, gave his 2020 “acceptance speech” four years early and never endorsed Donald Trump. But Trump got his revenge by pushing Cruz offstage with his appearance in the convention hall.

Who lost? It was hard listening to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and not think of the Trump University complaints she failed to investigate and the $25,000 donation Bondi solicited from the Trump organization while the complaints were swirling. Bondi lacks credibility, and a whole lot of people know it, including the Twitterverse, which lit up with negative comments. Gov. Rick Scott spoke before Bondi, saying, “It’s time for all Americans to put down the partisan banners,” even as speaker after speaker has spent the week unfurling the flag of derision and division. Marco Rubio was too cowardly to appear at the convention in person, and too cowardly to skip it altogether, preserving his spot for 2020.

Read what other Central Florida 100s had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/central-florida-100/os-boos-greet-cruz-pence-accepts-vp-slot-gop-in-cleveland-day-3-20160720-htmlstory.html

Thursday Night

Who won? John Kasich for remaining true to his word and being a complete no-show at the Republican convention that took place in his very own state of Ohio and which may take the GOP years to overcome.

Who lost? Following a night during which the Republican Party attempted to showcase some diversity – blacks, women, gay and Asian speakers – Donald Trump took the stage on the final night of the convention and continued trampling the truth about the hot-button issues of immigration, the primary vote total, chaos in the streets, crime, Iran, Syrian refugees, Clinton‘s email server and more, a raw appeal to mostly non-Hispanic whites, indicating that the earlier display of diversity was all cosmetic. It is 1968, and Richard Nixon‘s law-and-order mantra all over again. The code-talker used words like rigged, crime, race, Islamic terrorism, sanctuary cities, great border wall and voiceless people, a throwback to Nixon’s silent majority. “Things have to change and they have to change right now,” the strong man said, underscoring people’s fears and frustrations. To his credit, Trump didn’t repeat the chant “Lock her up!” But he and other nattering nabobs of negativism and doom and gloom certainly led the crowd there all week long. Trump simply dropped the balloons on it.

Quote of the day “I have nothing negative to say about Hillary. I have only amazing things to say about Donald.” — Tom Barrack, deputy interior undersecretary, Reagan administration. Imagine if Donald Trump’s team had followed Barrack’s advice from the outset. They might have made a stronger case for Trump. Barrack also did the best job of humanizing Trump.

Read what other Central Florida 100s had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-the-donald-delivers-who-woulda-thunk-it-20160722-htmlstory.html

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor