COLUMN: Red meat for red states

Corey Carolina

As the Democratic convention ended in late August, presidential hopeful Joe Biden worked to increase the enthusiasm within his party. Then it was the Republicans' turn to fire up the base.

The week afterward marked the Republican National Committee Convention, wherein President Donald J. Trump accepted the nomination for his party. The convention was jam-packed with conservative speakers, internet personalities, and government officials. A question on many people's minds was, what would the tone be during the convention? The president touted his accomplishments and painted a picture of a prosperous future. To the Republicans and supporters of President Trump, they have a lot to be proud of since he became president.

The Republican Party had a great opportunity to speak to its base to continue to fire them up, but also to reach out to those who are on the fence. Many hoped the president would speak with empathy to why the protests throughout 2020 have occurred and support their right to their opinion. He, of course, disavowed any damaging of public and private property during protests, as he has in the past. His message of a better America should have resonated with millions of Americans who support him. His base of roughly 35 percent will not be enough to win re-election, so he must bring over some red state Democrats and independents.

Trump has an advantage because he is an incumbent, and in American politics, that is half the battle sometimes. He also has name recognition, which is another potentially 25 percent. The convention should give him a pump in the polls, but if it doesn't, the Biden campaign will seize on that and run ads regarding a failed convention. The speakers and Trump threw plenty of red meat to his base during the convention. Most people expected to see messaging about building the wall, immigration, the Obama administration, corrupt intelligence agencies, not defunding the police, domestic terrorist protesters, COVID testing, the economic recovery, protection of the police, Hillary Clinton, fake news and media bias, and a whole list of red state Republican hot-button items. And that is what they got.

Trump showed a coalition of supporters to combat the Democratic Convention, which showcased Republican and Democratic support for Joe Biden. Did this convention show Trump as the president for all of America? As he combats a divided country, he hopes to solidify his base and the thousands of potential voters who went with him last election, but may either not vote, vote third party, or vote for Biden. His 35 percent is with him; he has to bring in another 13-15 percent of voters, and the convention organizers surely hoped to bring some aspect of attracting the latter.

This convention was exciting to some and disappointing to some, just as Biden's convention was. But the most important thing is: Did the convention do enough to make people come out to vote in November?

Corey Carolina is an NSU graduate, North Tulsa entrepreneur and activist, and an author.

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