Opinion: Fearmongering ran rampant at the Republican convention

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Kevin Ashley, Staff Writer - [email protected]

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The Republican presidential nominating convention was one of the most impressive moments of fear-mongering one could ever see. From the label of former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden as a socialist Trojan horse to the not so subtle attacks at the Black Lives Matter movement, to the argument that if Biden is elected religious liberties are gone.

The Republican National Convention featured prominent Republican figures like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott to officially nominate Donald J. Trump again as the Republican nominee for president. Those four nights at the convention were spent making the case to Americans why President Trump should stay in office for four more years. 

The main themes of the nights were focused around the American dream and American exceptionalism. How the current administration has made those ideals a reality, while also discrediting and attacking Biden. The idea was to show how  Trump is good for America and her people while saying in no uncertain terms that Biden will lead to America’s destruction. 

This was done in three ways: first, they painted Biden to be a socialist pawn. Second, they used the Black Lives Matter movement and the unfortunate riots that are also happening. And third, they kept inferring that Biden would lead to the death of religious freedom.

For starters, they tried to paint Biden as a socialist and a socialist pawn at the same time. Besides that being incorrect, the message was inconsistent. In essence, what the speakers at the convention tried to convey is that Biden will lead to a socialist takeover of America. This takeover will cause everyone’s taxes to be raised. It will cause over-regulation of small businesses, and the breakdown of American life as it is presently known. Fearmongering aside, none of what they said is anywhere near possible or true. 

The platform that Biden will run will be the most progressive in American history. That is true, but none of what he proposed is anywhere near socialism. Socialism is not everyone having healthcare. Socialism is not raising the minimum wage to a living wage at $15 an hour, and socialism is not defunding the police, which Biden has said on multiple occasions he would not do.

These ideals may have appeared radical to the Republican Party and their base, which is why the accusations were hammered so heavily at the RNC. Most developed nations have a public healthcare option, and they are not socialist. Most have a living minimum wage, and they are not socialist. And most developed nations don’t have their police as militarized as the United States and train their police to de-escalate tense situations, and that is not socialist. 

To try and point out all the inaccuracies, misleading information, and flat out lies told at the RNC is not practical, but what should be focused on is why it was done. 

Why is the Republican Party so desperate to paint Biden as a socialist Trojan horse? The answer is rather simple: there is no other way for them to win unless they tap into Americans’ natural aversion to big government and anything communist. 

The idea is to have people so fearful for their livelihoods, homes and wealth that no matter how bad Trump can be people can take comfort in the notion that he won’t start a communist revolution. Trump may not be perfect, but at least the suburbs will be safe. Trump may not be perfect, but at least religious freedom will be upheld. Trump may not be perfect, but at least the protests and the riots in cities can finally stop. 

They tried to convince people that if Biden is elected these assurances will go away and America will descend into anarchy.  One example is when they talked about the suburbs. They mentioned that under Biden’s administration low-income housing and apartments will be made in suburbia. Insinuating that by allowing people with lower incomes to live near you, crime will increase, your property will lose value, and your children will get addicted to drugs. Although none of that is true, it does not matter because the idea is fear, not facts.

The RNC also took side shots at BLM. The speakers never explicitly mentioned it by name, only its negative actions and their refutation of the movement. On the first night of the RNC, Nikki Haley, a rising Republican figure and former U.N. ambassador said, “American is not a racist country.” That statement goes against the BLM movement stance that America has systemic racism baked into the country, and for all of us to move forward, we need to first recognize this problem and then properly address it. 

However, the RNC flat out denial that racism is a problem in America is problematic, to say the least. By not addressing America’s not so distant past, and still present, we can’t move forward as a country and be the idyllic nation the RNC already claimed that we are; for America to be the best, we need to fix our current issue that has stuck with us for generations. 

Instead of using this as a moment to show the country and the world America is the best, they used it as a means to deflect and sow more fear. Talking only about the riots in the cities and how the people perpetrating these riots,  in the fiery and world-ending manner that they did solves nothing. It fixed nothing, and it addressed nothing. All it did was cause more fear and division, which if you just want to win is a pretty good tactic. Even if it lacks any semblance of a plan on how to address the real issues that people are marching for in the first place. 

They used the BLM  movement and its consequences to paint an us-versus-them picture. If people electTrump for four more years then the order will come back to America. If people elect Biden for president the problems faced now will only get worse.

 The last big point of contention during the convention was the topic of religious freedom. Current Christians in America feel they are under attack.  All the left wanted to do in their eyes is to stop people from attending their place of worship and stop people from practicing their faith how they see fit. On the Republican platform for 2020, which is the same platform from 2016, the party details what they mean by religious freedom. 

The idea is that when the Supreme Court decided in 2015 that same-sex marriage is legal it was the first major attack against religious liberty. It is also stated that they don’t believe that LGBTQ+ people should have legal protection from job discrimination. So the Supreme Court decision in the summer of 2020 to allow it was another attack at religious freedom.  

A third large insult was during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic when people were barred from going to church.  These three reasons have led a lot of Christians to believe their faith is under attack and, to keep themselves safe, they need to elect Trump again. Otherwise, the radical left at this rate will probably make religion illegal.  At the convention, they went as far as calling Biden a Catholic in name only. That came despite Biden’s multiple public displays of his faith when he had to face the many deaths in his family. Christians feel they are left with one choice: they need to elect Trump or risk an even greater loss.

These ideas surely stirred up their base into a fever to vote come Nov. 3. Hopefully, however, not too many people were caught up in the delirium.