July 22, 2016
RNC: The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Throw Shade
It began as a night of smiling faces and positivity. Nobody mentioned Ted Cruz doubling down on his refusal to endorse Trump. Nobody mentioned Fox News CEO Roger Ailes resigning over allegations of sexual harassment. For hours, the speakers kept things upbeat and the crowd was comfortable. And then Peter Thiel came along. While his “Proud to be gay; proud to be Republican” speech was resounding, it marked a turning point in the evening that received mixed reviews. His calls for federally funded research, criticism of invading the Middle East and support of LGBTQ rights infused some nuance into a night of fun catchphrases. “I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform,” Thiel admitted, to some awkward silence, “but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline.”
But what did Trump say?
The Donald kicked things off by doubling down on his first and only policy: building a wall. He tried to rally Bernie Sanders’ now defunct supporters by promising to fix trade deals, though Bernie quickly took to Twitter to rebuke such an idea. Trump’s foreign policy ideals centered on “Americanism, not globalism,” where ideas like fixing the TSA lines at airports got chants of USA! USA!
Some mentions – like protecting the LGBTQ community and fixing student debt – did not get the robust applause you might hear at a Democratic National Convention, but proved a major deviation from your typical acceptance speech: Trump rarely mentioned religion, personal spirituality or even America as a global actor. Instead, he focused on internal issues and promised to direct his attention to issues inside the US borders …or the forthcoming walls.
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