Even with the 2016 Republican National Convention having set the bar historically low, I was still expecting the 2020 Republican National Convention to be even worse. After all, everyone is now gone from the GOP except the Trump cult, meaning any modicum of non-extremism, and any shred of competence, would be out the door. But even I wasn’t prepared for this.
On night one, Donald Trump Jr was either on drugs or he needed to be on drugs – and that was just the start of what all was wrong. Not surprisingly, the first night of the RNC saw ratings that were 25% lower than the first night of the DNC. By night two, the only reason to continue watching the RNC was if you wanted to sneer at the sheer idiocy, or if your job required you to watch it.
Melania Trump managed to simultaneously come off as a robot whose batteries were winding down, and a hostage who was afraid for her safety. Tiffany Trump reminded us that she still wants her share of the inheritance, no matter how much she hates her father (the joke’s on her; Donald’s assets will be seized after he’s arrested). Eric Trump might as well have held up a sign that said “please pardon me, Dad!”
And yet the non-Trump-family speakers last night may have been even more disturbing. Pam Bondi, the criminal who took a bribe and then let Donald Trump off the hook in Florida, tried lecturing us about Joe Biden’s ethics. Rand Paul’s cartoonish speech practically screamed that Trump is blackmailing him. Every single minute of this convention has been painful to watch.
There’s only one upside here: this Republican convention is such a debacle, so ineffective at reaching anyone outside of Trump’s already too-small base, there is no chance he’ll get a convention bump in the polls. In fact it’s now likely that he’ll drop in the polls as a result of his own convention. At this point the best thing Trump has going for him this week is that, as the low ratings reveal, nobody’s watching his crapfest anyway.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report