GOP convention shows hyping sinophobia won't expand Trump's base: experts

By Yang Sheng Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/25 21:23:40 Last Updated: 2020/8/25 21:22:40

Donald Trump. Photo: VCG

On the first night of its national convention, the US Republican Party showed more hostility against China than the Democrats, and many influential and senior Republicans were not included in the list of speakers. Chinese analysts said on Tuesday that hyping sinophobia is getting less and less effective to draw support for Donald Trump, and the Republicans have failed to attract more swing voters.

Compared to the Democrats' national convention, the Republicans on Monday hyped fear toward the Democrats, Joe Biden, and foreign countries, including China, Muslim countries, and US neighbors Mexico and Canada. 

The speakers in the Republican convention tried to sell fear and hyped xenophobia to cover the Trump administration's failed handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Trump again used the racist term "China virus" for the coronavirus. Experts said the event can only influence uneducated and conservative extremists, but these voters are not enough to get Trump reelected.

The New York Times reported that Trump and his political allies mounted a fierce and misleading defense of his political record on the first night of the Republican convention on Monday, while unleashing attacks on Biden and the Democratic Party, that were unrelenting in their bleakness.

"Hours after Republican delegates formally nominated Trump to a second term, the president and his party made plain that they intended to engage in sweeping revisionism on Trump's management of the coronavirus pandemic, his record on race relations and much else," the report said.

"If you are not a die-hard fan to Trump but a neutral researcher on US politics, you can't listen to those speakers for more than five minutes," Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Ivanka Trump, daughter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, takes the stage on the last day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, the United States, July 21, 2016. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

"Some speakers like Kimberly Guilfoyle, the new girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., the son of President Trump, made her speech extremely radical and maniacal. But it might have made some radical voters emotional," said Diao Daming, a US politics expert and an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing

According to the list of speakers, most Republican senators under pressure to defend their seats in the 2020 elections are not going to attend the convention, which means they want to keep a distance from Trump as they believe this could be a "negative asset" for their own election, Lü said. 

Many influential Republicans are missing on the list, such as former US President George W. Bush, and hawkish senators like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

A group of Republicans opposing Trump held an alternative event on Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina, as counter-programming to the Republican convention.

Organized by former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, a conservative who ran for governor in 2008 as a Republican, the four-day gathering is called "Convention on Founding Principles," the Washington Post reported. 

More than two dozen former Republican lawmakers announced Monday they are endorsing Biden for president.

Former Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania are among those throwing their support behind the Democratic presidential nominee through "Republicans for Biden," and the endorsements came on the morning of the first day of the Republican National Convention.

There is no such thing in the Democrats, as not that many senior Democrats have openly shown their support for Trump so far. The split among Republicans is very likely to lead to major failures this year - losing the presidency as well as the Senate majority, Lü predicted. 

"Trump and his team are playing the game according to a desperately peculiar 'garbage-time playbook'," he noted.

Chinese analysts noted that although the two parties are both playing hard on China, Democrats are much smarter by avoiding playing the endless blame game along with the Republicans against China, but focusing on attacking the Republicans on their failure to handle the pandemic and economic issues.

Lü said "It's easy to reinforce the base, but if Trump wants to get reelected, he has to widen the base. Sinophobia or xenophobia won't get more support. Sinophobic persons will support Trump no matter what he says, but blaming China and other countries can't make the US look better and won't solve problems. Swing voters won't buy their tricks." 

CNN reported ahead of this week's Republican National Convention that Trump's campaign announced its second term agenda. The short document sets out 10 core priorities. Near the top of the agenda is, "End our reliance on China," after "Jobs" and "Eradicate Covid-19."

The campaign said it plans to hold the country "fully accountable for allowing the virus to spread around the world."

Lü said "this is complete nonsense. Even if he gets reelected, there is no way for Trump to realize these unrealistic and unreasonable goals."

Newspaper headline: GOP convention a 'garbage-time playbook'


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