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Republican Message: Be Very Afraid of Biden Presidency

Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

Speakers at the Republican National Convention offered a dystopian vision of life under Joe Biden.

Political conventions are a time for a party, any party, to put the best spin on itself -- but the Republican National Convention, which opened Monday, was a study in lies, distortions, and scare tactics.

Speaker after speaker claimed that a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration would let criminals run rampant in the streets (although some, on the other hand, blamed Biden for mass incarceration and one said Donald Trump has remedied that). They falsely claimed that Biden wants to reduce funding for police forces -- some racial justice activists do, but while Biden supports various reforms to policing, he has not embraced defunding.

Speakers also said Biden and Harris would be held hostage by the far-left wing of the Democratic Party and therefore would establish a socialist government. And there was an attempt to rewrite the narrative on Trump's abysmal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump himself set the tone early on as he accepted the nomination Monday morning, making a surprise appearance at the convention in Charlotte, N.C. Many of the convention proceedings are being held online due to the pandemic, but there have been some in-person activities. Holding the roll call for the nomination at the beginning of the convention was a departure from tradition; it's often held on the second night. In another departure, the Republican Party did not adopt a new platform this year, instead issuing a statement that it "enthusiastically supports" Trump.

Trump, in his speech, made the preposterous claim that Democrats "want no God. No God. It's no religion, no guns, no oil and gas." He also contended that mail-in voting, which many states plan to allow in the time of the pandemic, will lead to widespread fraud.

"They're going to go knock on everybody's door," he said. "Here, would you sign this? Yeah, I'll sign it. Nobody knows who the hell is signing it. And they now want to have it where the signature doesn't have to be verified. That's right. The signature doesn't have to be verified." That is not true, as documented by fact-checking site PolitiFact; every state that allows voting by mail uses some form of verification. He also made false claims about the amount of border wall built during his presidency, how many judges he's appointed, and more.

But some speakers were even worse. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida predicted that a Biden presidency will be "a horror film, really," saying, "They'll disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 [an international criminal gang] to live next door. And the defunded police aren't on their way."

"Mr. Biden, of course, does not support any of those things," The New York Times notes. "While he has called for putting in place universal background checks on new gun purchases and banning assault-style weapons, Mr. Biden did not support the confiscation of existing weapons when it was proposed by former Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas last year. And Mr. Biden supports spending more money on law enforcement, not less."

Donald Trump Jr., speaking late in the evening, likewise painted a dystopian picture of America with President Biden. "It's almost like this election is shaping up to be church, work, and school versus rioting, looting, and vandalism," he said.

He said the Democratic Party "is attacking the very principles on which our nation was founded -- freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the rule of law." Republican activist Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is in a relationship with Trump Jr., delivered a similar message.

So did Patricia and Mark McCloskey, a white St. Louis couple who became notorious for displaying firearms while confronting peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters this summer. "Your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats' America," Patricia McCloskey said in a taped segment.

"They're not satisfied with spreading the chaos and violence into our communities," she added. "They want to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning." Democrats, however, advocate nothing of the time.

Trump Jr. also defended his father's handling of the pandemic, while blaming the disease on the Chinese Communist Party. (While the virus did originate in China, it came to the U.S. through various routes, including through travelers from Europe, the Times points out.)

"Fortunately, as the virus began to spread, the president acted quickly and ensured ventilators got to hospitals that needed them most, he delivered PPE to our brave frontline workers, and he rallied the mighty American private sector to tackle this new challenge," Trump Jr. said.

However, "in reality, the president denied and downplayed the crisis for months, discouraged Americans from practicing social distancing and wearing masks, demanded that states reopen their economies in violation of federal guidelines, and claimed victory at every turn," as Business Insider puts it.

The senior Trump also tried to rewrite history on the pandemic in an appearance from the White House with frontline workers. He referred to the coronavirus with the racist name "China virus," and he said it's going away -- as the U.S. leads the world with 5.7 million cases and 177,000 deaths. In his speech at the convention earlier in the day, he said Democrats are "using COVID to steal the election."

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of North Carolina closed the night; he's the only Black Republican in the Senate, and the only Black person to have served in both houses of Congress. While he was not quite as doom-and-gloom as the other speakers, he did blast Biden and Harris in hyperbolic fashion, saying, "Make no mistake: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution. A fundamentally different America. If we let them, they will turn our country into a socialist utopia, and history has taught us that path only leads to pain and misery, especially for hard-working people hoping to rise."

Some Democrats actually find Biden and Harris too centrist, but Republicans are spreading the idea that they will be controlled by further-left Dems such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Scott also blamed Biden for mass incarceration of Black Americans because of his support for the 1994 crime bill when he was a senator, as did Vernon Jones, a Georgia state representative who happens to be Black and a Democrat. (Many liberals have criticized the crime bill as well, but there are a variety of opinions as to its effect.) Jones credited Trump with ending mass incarceration through the First Step Act of 2018, a criminal justice reform bill.

"But one of the biggest pieces of the First Step Act -- a provision that reduced sentences for crack cocaine offenses -- was an extension of [President Barack] Obama's efforts in 2010," The Washington Post reports. Also, a Post investigation "found that Trump's Justice Department is working to limit the number of inmates who might benefit from the First Step Act," the paper adds.

There were several other speakers offering messages that painted Trump as all that's standing between the nation and chaos, such as young conservative activist Charlie Kirk, who said the election is about the future of Western civilization. "I am here tonight to tell you -- to warn you -- that this election is a decision between preserving America as we know it, and eliminating everything that we love," he said.

There will likely be more of the same in the next three days.

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