With the Republican National Convention underway, Brock University political scientist Stefan Dolgert says Trump’s campaign plays on the fear and anger of his supporters.
The Trump campaign, and specifically the 2016 RNC, appears to be modeled on Richard Nixon’s convention in 1968, and is focused on stoking the fears and resentments of white Americans.
Unless Trump can find another enemy to rally some non-white voters to his cause, it is doubtful this polarization will lead him to victory.
‘Make America Safe Again’ is the theme, and liberal Democrats, social justice activists, Mexican immigrants, and Muslims are the enemy.
But, Dolgert points out American voters in 2016 are far more diverse than in 1968.
“Unless Trump can find another enemy to rally some non-white voters to his cause, it is doubtful this polarization will lead him to victory,” he says.
Dolgert says modern American political conventions are little more than publicity events designed to shape the candidate’s public image, rather than actual venues of democratic deliberation.
The Political Science assistant professor says conventions generally produce only a modest bump in the polls for their candidate and it’ not clear whether they actually influence the outcome of the eventual election.
“The first day of the RNC was an absolute disaster,” Dolgert says. “A series of missteps, topped by Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech, signals to all but the most committed that this campaign is fundamentally inept.”
The questions is: Can Trump find support outside his core white, middle-aged constituency?
Political Science associate professor Paul Hamilton says the RNC is an important milestone in Trump’s campaign as it marks his pivot from a primary campaign where he appealed to the Republican electorate to a general campaign.
“His primary tasks are to articulate a contrasting policy agenda to that of the Democrats and unite a fractured party,” he says.
Having fended off a procedural challenge to his nomination Monday, Trump must now begin a campaign against an experienced and well-funded Democratic party.
“The questions is: Can Trump find support outside his core white, middle-aged constituency?” Hamilton says.