The Democrats virtual convention was a bit of a damp squib despite the effusive coverage not least from our own Brian O’Donovan the RTE correspondent in Washington who must be due a Consular post in Andorra or Tierra del Fuego if Biden wins.
Just 6.1 million viewers bothered to tune into the TV coverage last Tuesday which was 48% lower than in 2016. Even the big hitters of the Obama/Clinton family could only muster 22.8 million on Wednesday as they attempted to compensate for what is surely the worst candidate ever to contest the Presidency for one of the big two.
Of course, the DNC may be thinking that the fewer people who see Biden the better but he will have to face Trump face to face soon, and no longer with the safety harness of pre-recorded gibberish. Trump’s corresponding TV figure in 2016 was just under 35 million, as a matter of interest.
The Democrats made much much of the cameo appearances of Republicans with grudges such as the former Governor of Ohio, John Kaisch and others. This was made out to be some sort of Damascene conversion but Kaisch’s hatred of Trump has no other basis than his not getting the Republican nomination in 2016.
Kaisch later claimed that Trump had offered him the Vice-Presidency, but apparently he was the only one who recalled that. Trump was not exactly complimentary with regard to his adversary’s new role: “He was a loser as a Republican, and he’ll be a loser as a Democrat.” As the gloves come off and the Trump campaign stops being nice, they described Kasich. Whitman and Molinari as “useful idiots for the radical left.”
Petulant sour grapes aside, there is a more serious aspect to the desertion of some prominent Republicans to the Biden camp. This is the last gasp of the anti Trump neo-conservatives who are desperate to defeat the President who they regard as an interloper and a threat to the foreign policy hawks.
It is surely one of the main ironies of the Trump Presidency that he, “the warmonger,” is facing his decisive battle against a bizarre coalition of Democrat veterans of the belligerent Obama/Hilary/Sleepy Joe era and Republicans who served under the likewise gung ho George W. Bush administration.
Add to that the ultra leftists who have been riding shotgun for Biden during the burning looting season, and one sees just how bizarre that alliance truly is.
The most significant figure among the anti Trump neo cons is Bill Kristol, who served as Vice President Dan Quayle’s Chief of Staff in the early 1990s. In February this year he declared that he would be a Democrat until Trump left the Oval Office. Kristol’s support for the Democrats dates to 2011 when he called on Republicans to back Obama’s ill judged intervention in Libya.
The Bush neo cons launched the 43 Alumni group in July to campaign and fundraise for Biden. The group’s name comes from George W. Bush having been the 43rd POTUS, and they claim the support of over 200 leading members of his administration and campaign.
Trump’s most grievous offence is to have largely spurned the GOP aristocracy and appealed to the instincts of ordinary Americans who are patriotic but not blind to foreign policy misjudgements. Trump’s theme of strong defence combined with urging other democracies particularly in Europe to become more self-reliant has struck a chord.
He is facing an election in the midst of probably the most unfavourable circumstances ever to face an incumbent. The Covid outbreak, for which he is being blamed, and the anarchy unleashed by Black Lives Matter and Antifa and given a nod and a wink by the Democrats introduced an uncertainty that was not there in early 2020 when Trump’s economic success appeared to have him coasting towards victory in November.
The real battle begins now, and we may expect to see the Trump campaign ratchet things up a notch from next Monday when the Republican convention begins.