I Think I Know Success When I See It

Everything but Los Lobos…

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All Eastern Time

Throughout the day: Donald Trump will pop up when you least expect it as part of the second day of the Republican Party convention. His schedule lists him as attending the First Lady’s speech at 10:30pm in the Rose Garden.


8:30pm – 11pm: Republican Party convention Day 2 with speakers including:

Melania Trump

Mike Pompeo

Rand Paul

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

Abby Johnson, anti-abortion activist

Jason Joyce

Myron Lizer, Navajo Nation vice president

Mary Ann Mendoza, a mother whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant

Megan Pauley

Cris Peterson

John Peterson

Nicholas Sandmann

Eric Trump

Tiffany Trump


If you think the president has zero chance of winning reelection, then analysis of how Team Trump does at the convention is pointless.

I proceed from the premise that the incumbent is behind but can still get 270 electoral votes.  Most of my sources in both parties agree with that framework.

When it comes to evaluating the success of a political convention, the only metric that matters is, did the programming help the candidate win?

Were Donald Trump’s chances of victory enhanced by Monday night’s opening confab?

I don’t know for sure, and/but nor doesn’t anyone else.

Even the canniest analyst is more Clive Barnes than Nostradamus. 

Most talking heads effusively praised the staging of last week’s Democratic virtual gathering, but there remains no clear indication it helped Joe Biden’s prospects.

So the best guess comes from taking the objectively true and combing it with the subjectively true to reach a tentative conclusion.

My tentative conclusion: S2, E1 was at a minimum a very solid start and perhaps was even a big success.

The vast majority of the coverage by the anti-Trump media does not reflect that perspective. 

For the time capsule and to encapsulate, here are three representative paragraphs from the New York Times’ lead story:

At times, the speakers and prerecorded videos appeared to be describing an alternate reality: one in which the nation was not nearing 180,000 deaths from the coronavirus; in which Mr. Trump had not consistently ignored serious warnings about the disease; in which the president had not spent much of his term appealing openly to xenophobia and racial animus; and in which someone other than Mr. Trump had presided over an economy that began crumbling in the spring….

[I]t was far from clear that the programming would appeal to any undecided voters….

[M]uch of the program appeared aimed at antagonizing the left and issuing stark warnings about civil disorder….

With the possible exception of the line about antagonizing the left, all of what the Times wrote is true.

But I think these words reflect a mindset of many Democrats, many in Left Twitter, and some in the media, who fail to appreciate the resonance of a whole range of issues – issues that these people largely didn’t even notice were front and center Monday night.

This failure to grasp the power of certain themes and topics in these quarters is not new, of course. But it matters a lot in the final days of this campaign, as we all try to figure out what is happening and what will happen.

Here is a partial list of the issues highlighted in this convention: school choice, gun rights, urban policy, religious freedom, government regulation, the economic costs of the shutdown, the power of labor unions, the threat of civic unrest and violence, the crimes committed by those who come to America illegally, and opposition to abortion.

These are not everyday concerns of most people in Chevy Chase or at Gang of 500 brunches (no longer held at Lauriol Plaza).

They are the concerns of a lot of Trump voters.  But not just of Trump voters.

If you think those messages are only meant to make Rachel Maddow angry or to satisfy some strange desire of Team Trump to rally enough support to win 42% of the vote in November, you need to get out more often — at least virtually.

Most (but not all) of these are issues that George W. Bush and Karl Rove talked about in Texas and in two presidential campaigns. Most (but not all) of the Trump convention speakers would have been a-ok for W as well.

If Andrew Pollack, the man whose daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting, brought his passion and eloquence to the Democratic convention in support of Joe Biden, you can imagine he might have gotten a lot more sympathetic attention than he has so far since his remarks.

While the Democrats and the media largely focused on the convention’s often dark tone and Team Trump’s inaccurate statements, you need to read two things to understand the message machinations of the Republican gathering.

First, this Washington Post column with a “HILLSBORO, Ohio” dateline (According to Google Maps, Hillsboro is 5 million miles away from Chevy Chase.):

[W]hile Trump’s base will assuredly embrace the McCloskeys, that less polemical part of their message could also resonate with right-leaning moderates who are concerned about systemic racism — but also agree it’s reasonable to offer a show of force in response to a perceived threat to one’s home and personal safety...

[I]f you’re wondering how the McCloskeys ever wound up on your screen Monday night, that probably just means the message wasn’t aimed at you.

Second, the most essential read of the day – assuming you believe (a) Trump can still win; (b) a successful convention can increase Trump’s chances of winning; and (c) that sometimes (sometimes) Blue America fails to see Purple America, let alone Red America.

Please read John Podhoretz’s New York Post column in full.

Here is a chunk:

The first night of the Republican National Convention was, all in all, sensationally effective — and effective in ways that the mainstream media and its Twitter chatterers clearly found it impossible to understand.

America’s opinion leaders loathe Donald Trump so much that it remains a great puzzlement to them how he can retain the support of even 42 percent of the population, rather than, you know, zero.

The implicit theory they share is the “deplorables” theory — that anyone who wants Trump to be and remain president is, at root, a bad person or someone too easily tempted by false promises and evil lies….

If Trump can turn this election around, it will be because these ideas resonate with the Americans the media have lost the power to hear and to whom they no longer even attempt to speak.


The success Mr. Podhoretz and I think we saw (despite the fact that the Upper West Side is contiguous to Chevy Chase), were echoed in the sore-thumb words of Wolf Blitzer, the likes of which have been rare among the so-called MSM -- giving rise to the musical question

But, objectively, Monday’s 2 ½ program was produced without technical glitches, and in fact was as good or better than the Democrats in this regard.

The quality of the pro and non-pro speakers – in their symbolism, their issues, the writing of their speeches, the length of their segments, and their Teleprompter reading – was exceptional. I have never in my memory seen a group of real people recite their lines so naturally and with such inherent emotion at a political event. Never.

I thought Team Trump was playing with fire last week in boasting that their convention would be a better show than what the Biden campaign put on.  

One can’t overstate how much Day 1 gave a much-needed shot in the arm of enthusiasm and confidence to those at the top of the Team Trump pyramid.

And I think it is a safe bet that the strong opening night has made it more likely that people will want to watch Day 2 – if not in Chevy Chase.


On the occasion of the Washington Post having written a very strong article on Mike Pence, 2020 and 2024, with an emphasis on the former, please congratulate me.

This is the week when I can finally stop having to explain to inquirers the reasons why Donald Trump was not going to replace Pence with Governor Haley (or someone else).

To quote the poet, I’ve done it, a thousand times a day.


Immediate aftermath of video showing police shooting Jacob Blake from behind spawns state legislature special session; emergency curfew; state Natl. Guard deployment; teargas use on protestors by Kenosha police; protests in other U.S. cities

by Brian P. Nadeau

WKOW-Madison: Monday, Gov. Evers ordered the State Legislature to convene special session on police accountability;

Evers signed Executive Order #84 on Monday which requires the State Senate and Assembly to convene and take up a set of bills outlined in the order. The session is scheduled to begin at noon on Aug. 31.

"Today I am calling for a Special Session of the Legislature to take up the package of legislation we announced earlier this year," Evers said. "We must begin the long but important path toward ensuring our state and our country start to live up to our promises of equity and justice."

Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the family of George Floyd, now also is helping Jacob Blake and his family after Sunday’s incident:

WTMJ-Milwaukee correspondent Mary Jo Ola covered protests Monday afternoon:

With a state of emergency declared, 8:00pm-7am curfew in place, Gov. Evers deploys 125 state Natl. Guard troops to Kenosha:

WISN-Milwaukee reports - Gov. Evers’ statement on Natl. Guard:

"I know folks across our state will be making their voices heard in Kenosha and in communities across Wisconsin. Every person should be able to express their anger and frustration by exercising their First Amendment rights and report on these calls to action without any fear of being unsafe," Evers said. 

"This is a limited mobilization of the National Guard focused on supporting the needs of local first responders to protect critical infrastructure, such as utilities and fire stations, and to ensure Kenoshians are able to assemble safely."

- and statement by ACLU of Wisconsin:

"Deploying the National Guard in response to people exercising their right to protest is unnecessary," the ACLU of Wisconsin said in a statement. 

"People in Kenosha have a constitutional right to express their indignation over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, as well as to demand an end to the epidemic of police violence that has systematically harmed and killed Black and brown people for generations."

Protestors ignore emergency curfew, Natl. Guard presence, police use teargas, protests in other U.S. cities, reports USA Today:

Protesters ignored the mobilization of the Wisconsin National Guard and an emergency curfew on Monday night to again protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The Kenosha County Courthouse was the site of more protests Monday, as a large crowd gathered in the evening and members of law enforcement barricaded the area, according to local reports. Some Interstate 94 exit ramps in Kenosha County were closed, too. 

Officers used tear gas to disperse protesters in front of the courthouse and protesters threw water bottles at officers in riot gear after the county's 8 p.m. curfew went into effect, according to reports from the scene. 

By late Monday, a truck had been lit on fire, recreating a scene from Sunday's protests that saw city trucks on fire. A large group of protesters also marched to the state Capitol building in Madison

There were protests elsewhere on Monday, too.

Hundreds gathered in Times Square in Manhattan and marched to Washington Square Park, according to CBS New York. In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed by a now-fired police officer on Memorial Day, protesters marched to a police precinct, according to WCCO-TV. The station reported five people were arrested for crimes related to "civil unrest."


The Big 4.2 - by Brian P. Nadeau

Arizona - Early Voting Begins October 7th

* Former GOP Sen. Flake backs Joe Biden; “Character matters. Decency matters. Civility never goes out of style[.]” (KSAZ FOX10)

* Sovereignty concerns raised as U.S. Gov. set to execute Navajo man Wednesday. (Arizona Republic)

* State Health Dept. sending inspectors to resorts, will review COVID-19 safety measures. (Arizona Daily Star)


Michigan - Early Voting Begins September 19th

* 'Seattle zone of lawlessness' avoided via use of force, says Motor City Police Chief. (The Detroit News)

* 54 CMU students test positive for COVID-19, in-person Greek events suspended. (MLIVE)

* Black Ann Arbor high school student alleges racially hostile environment. (The Detroit News)


Nebraska-2 - Early Voting Begins October 5th

* NE’s largest university welcomes students back, COVID-19 safety measures in place. (KMTV CBS3)

* Omaha nonprofit Outlook Enrichment assists blind, visually impaired parents with kids’ remote learning. (WOWT NBC6)


Pennsylvania - Early Voting Begins September 15th

* U.S. District judge expected to rule on Tuesday whether Philly can clear out 150-person homeless encampment. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Central Dauphin South elementary school teacher tests positive for COVID-19. (PENN LIVE Patriot-News)

* FEMA approves additional $300 lost wages grant for Keystone State. (WTAE ABC4)


Wisconsin - Early Voting Begins October 15th

* 'I don't hear any farmers complaining,' Trump says as Badger State experiences highest in the nation farm bankruptcies. (The Cap Times)

* Dane County private school parents 'really mad' about virtual learning executive order. (WMSN FOX47)

* COVID-19 ranks 8th on causes of death list for WI in 2020. (WLUK FOX11)


TOP STORIES - by Brian P. Nadeau

Sports: 76ers, Brett Brown part ways after seven seasons, playoffs sweep by Celtics.

CBS Sports

Business: In Dow Jones reshuffle, Salesforce, Amgen, Honeywell replacing Exxon, Pfizer, Raytheon.


Entertainment: 2020 Primetime Emmys to broadcast live from 140 locations.



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