The latest survey from AAPI Data may show Asian Americans backing Biden by 59 percent, but take away the undecideds and nearly 1 in 3 of us still support Trump. Thirty-three percent is a pretty big number, one that rivals Hispanics for Trumpiest people of color in the country.
Based on the ethnic breakout, if you were watching the Republican National Convention, you might be Vietnamese (because of allegiances to military or the Nixon GOP). Or maybe you were Filipino, many of whom are devout Catholics, who lean toward pro-life conservatism.
So did you see yourself at the RNC?
I kept looking at places where we might pop up. The roll call would have been it. But it went by so fast and didn’t have much drama. I might have seen a glancing Asian face. There were folks from Pago Pago in American Samoa, and a handful from the Northern Mariana Islands. They stuck out. Was Elaine Chao (Mrs. Mitch McConnell) anywhere? If she was, I missed her.
Besides, it all had been fixed. Trump said to expect surprises, and he showed up at the RNC in Charlotte at the lunch hour for a nominating roll call vote. It made for a nice distraction to Congress’ grilling of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and any attempt to sabotage the mail-in ballot process.
One thing missing from RNC Day 1 was a sense of humor. Even the DNC had host Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the HBO “Veep” star, depart from solemnity with a few notable laughs.
A humanizing sense of humor was definitely missing from the RNC, unless the suggestion by one speaker that Donald Trump “believes in the rule of law” was an attempt at humor.
Now that would have been funny.
This is the president who has not fully divested himself from his businesses and enriched himself while in office. Emoluments, anyone? And then there are all the ongoing investigations over Trump’s financials in New York. Rule of law? Trump believes in the Rule of Trump, fighting the law to get his way.
Another speaker on Day 1 claimed Trump ended “black incarceration.” Or that the Democrats believe in a “socialistic utopia.’” Or that America was a land where “anarchists have been flooding our streets.”
They’d all be knee slappers if the speakers intended them as jokes.
But they weren’t.
The Washington Post fact-checkers have accused Trump of more than 20,000 such lies and misstatements since he’s been in office. His underlings must also think a little fudge is OK.
But it’s not. And that’s what is making the RNC hard to watch, besides trying to find an Asian face.
TRUMP’S FAMILY BULLDOGS
For me, the most notable speakers were Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former San Franciscan, ex-Fox News host, and her boyfriend, Donald Trump Jr. The two of them had a special role on Day 1—to give the family insider speeches as if they were in an arena full of 19,000 zealots, not an empty D.C. auditorium. They were both LOUD, SHRILL, AND OVER THE TOP, in delivery and content. They were angry. They were haranguing. My father-in-law could hear them all the way in Delaware without his hearing aids.
Guilfoyle was especially harsh, warning that Democrats were going to “destroy this country and everything that we have thought [sic] for and hold dear. They want to steal your liberty, your freedom. They want to control what you see and think and believe so that they can control how you live. They want to enslave you to the weak dependent liberal victim ideology to the point that you will not recognize this country or yourself.”
Scary talk. Almost makes Trump casting doubts on the post office and mail-in voting sound innocent instead of a cynical attempt to disenfranchise Americans.
Guilfoyle’s boyfriend was only slightly more welcoming.
“Our party is open to everyone,” said Trump Jr. “It starts by rejecting radicals who want to drag us in the dark, and embracing the man who represents a bright and beautiful future for all.”
As my left-wing friends like to tell me, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not radicals. So Don Jr.’s remarks could actually be seen as an attempt at humor. The radical Joe Biden? A joke, right?
Or was it the man who represents “that bright and beautiful future”– Trump Jr.‘s father–who has given us an economy where 30 million people are unemployed, small businesses are failing each day, and people are going hungry. That definitely is not funny at all.
Let’s not forget more than 175,000 Americans who died because the president believed Covid-19 would just go away and had no plan of action to deal with the pandemic. Or the $25 billion dollars that has been approved by Congress and sits at the Department of Health and Human Services, waiting to be spent on expanded federal testing programs or other disease surveillance, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Nothing funny about this. But it’s a fact. And you didn’t hear any of that on RNC Day 1.
STORYTELLING BY SCOTT AND HALEY
Sen. Tim Scott spoke about growing up poor with a single mother, failing Civics in high school, but then finding a mentor at a Chick-fil-A. He capped it off as going from “Cotton to Congress” in a generation. (That speechwriter earned his keep).
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley described her personal story of how Indian immigrants came to settle in a small southern town. “My father wore a turban, my mother wore a sari,” Haley said. “I was a brown girl in a black and white world. We faced discrimination and hardship, but my parents never gave in to grievance and hate.”
Haley said her mom built a business, while her dad taught for 30 years at an HBCU. And she became governor. Good for them. But what of the others who struggled?
Said Haley on Monday: “Every life is protected, where every girl and boy, every woman and man of every race and religion has the best shot at the best life.”
So what about George Floyd? And Jacob Blake, the unarmed black man who was walking away from police to his vehicle when he was shot multiple times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday? Can Haley seriously say that “America is not a racist country”?
Interestingly, both Haley and Scott backed Sen. Marco Rubio and not Trump in 2016. Back then, diversity was embraced by the GOP. Four years later, diversity is a dirty word, and Haley and Scott are conforming to Trump’s command. Isn’t that what Guilfoyle was warning about, only GOP-style?
The Republican convention.was showbiz slick, not like the DNC, which seemed to replicate the Zoom experience everyone is having these days. The GOP was done without masks or social distancing, at least in all the scenes where Trump appeared, standing with regular folks discussing what a great guy he is.
That will be the problem all week with the RNC. If the Democrats focused on Joe Biden as nice guy, then how do you sell Donald Trump—as a nicer guy?
But look where we are as a country right now in August 2020. The party with no platform simply picks the man with no plan.
Does that inspire you to say an oft-repeated phrase from Monday night—“Four more years?”
Or perhaps you prefer the only real hopeful phrase to come out of the GOP’s first night: “The best is yet to come.”
It only sounds like a joke. To the Trump base, it’s no joke.
And what about to Asian Americans? Look for yourself. Or a mention the next few nights. Make it a drinking game, but would it even bring on the Asian flush?