The conventions are behind us. What did we learn? Trump and the GOP are out of ideas | Opinion

CLYDE, OHIO - AUGUST 06: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver a speech to workers at a Whirlpool manufacturing facility on August 06, 2020 in Clyde, Ohio. Whirlpool is the last remaining major appliance company headquartered in the United States. With more than 3,000 employees, the Clyde facility is one of the world's largest home washing machine plants, producing more than 20,000 machines a day. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By Carl Hisiro

The Democratic and Republican National Conventions are now history. And what did we learn from these two, very unusual and mostly virtual events?

With the DNC, we learned that former Vice President Joe Biden, and his running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., will be led by science and facts when it comes to handling the coronavirus; that they intend to build back America better, with more emphasis on buying American and ensuring that the middle class and the poor are included in the economic recovery; that they will improve the Affordable Care Act by expanding  health care coverage to more Americans; that they will work to eliminate racial and social injustices; that climate change will again be a focus of the White House, and that they will work to eliminate the divisions in this country with Biden pledging to be a president to all Americans and not just to those who voted for him.

And what was the big take away from the Republican National Convention?

After promising us an uplifting, forward-looking convention, the Republicans failed to deliver. Starved of high-wattage GOP names, President Donald Trump and his family were front and center, where they delivered a message shot through with fear, arguing that if Biden wins the White House, violence and chaos will rule. Of course, only Trump will save us from this certain gloom.

In his 2016 RNC acceptance speech,Trump decried a nation full of “death and destruction” even though we were in the midst of a seven-year economic expansion with more than 70 straight months of job growth, falling unemployment figures, and a nearly tripling of the stock market.

In his 2020 acceptance speech, with nearly 180,000 dead from the coronavirus, double-digit unemployment, and mass protests across the country in opposition to systemic racial and social injustice, Trump declared everything is just great, and, if re-elected, he will give us four more years like the last four.

It sounded more like a threat than a promise.

In an unintentionally hilarious moment, First Lady Melania Trump declared that “her husband always tells the truth.”  With more than 20,000 false or misleading claims — and counting — since becoming president, that statement is more stretched than a well-worn slinky toy.

Trump’s claim that Democrats don’t have an agenda finished a close second in the hilarious statement sweepstakes. Trump has struggled on multiple occasions to explain what his agenda would be in a second term. And for the first time since its first convention in 1856, Republicans left their convention week without a formal platform. The GOP instead contented itself with a one-paragraph statement saying that said the party will do whatever Trump wants.

This is no longer a political party, it is a cult, where Trump is blindly followed no matter the consequences and where his constant lies and misstatements are treated as truth by his 40 percent of the electorate.

Perhaps the most foreboding element that came out of the RNC convention and which has become a constant theme of Trump’s since then is his seeming to encourage the violence and destruction that has occurred at a few of the protests around the country.

By his words and actions, Trump is trying to capitalize on fear and division that he himself is creating to fire up his base and to scare suburban women who have left him in droves.

Taking a page out of Richard Nixon’s law and order playbook in 1968, Trump is trying to run as the challenger and not the incumbent. However, unlike Nixon, Trump is the president now. What is happening in our towns and cities is occurring under his watch. This is Trump’s America, not Biden’s.

Trump is trying to convince voters that he’s the law and order candidate when many of his top aides have been convicted or indicted for various criminal offenses. Further, his organization is under investigation.

This November when you vote, you need to ask yourself only one question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

Carl Hisiro is a retired lawyer who resides in Susquehanna Twp., Dauphin County. His work appears occasionally on the Capital-Star’s Commentary page.