- - Thursday, August 20, 2020

Have you, by chance, tuned into the Democratic Convention being held this week? If you have, doubtless the excitement of an hours-long mass-Zoom call is still coursing through your veins. After all, what better conveys the left-wing version of “Morning in America” than a political telethon emceed by a former cast member of “Desperate Housewives,” and featuring the technical pyrotechnics of a public-access cable show?

Republicans, is this the message you wish to convey?

From a psychological standpoint, during a convention, that great in-person event where candidates symbolically accept their nomination as the party representative on the national ballot, intra-party differences are debated, and political fortunes and alliances made (and unmade). Tremendous energy abounds. If party operatives are smart, they harness this energy and channel it toward the base and would-be voters.

In a virtual convention, there is no energy to transmit. It’s all bits and bytes. A perfect simulacrum of the modern environment so many of us feel is killing us. But even if a virtual convention is produced by Hollywood’s finest, there is no excitement. How can there be without a crowd?

A national convention is a party’s opportunity to set the tenor for the next four years. Joe and Jill Biden in a basement with a few strings of confetti — what does that evoke? Fear. Elite distancing. Receding leadership. Fast-paced camera-cuts to Americans all over the country. What does that evoke? Distance. Lack of genuine community. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsing Bernie Sanders. What does that evoke? Well, let’s just say the progressives are out of the Trojan Horse! We could go on.

So, here is a proposal for President Donald Trump: Hold the GOP convention in person. Do it safely, observe social distancing, but do it in person. In a field, in a hangar for the Space Shuttle, wherever. Just do it live. Show face, and by showing face, showcase a strength and resilience we will desperately need these next few years.

Listen, you claim to be the Make American Great Again Man. You claim you’re tough, a maverick. More importantly, you claim the future looks great, that the virus is in retreat, that good tidings are on the horizon. Well, show it by having an in-person convention. Distinguish yourself from the Democrats and their fear-mongering. You hold a virtual convention and you are just like them, only somehow more pathetic, since your actions don’t match your rhetoric.

By the way, and this gives us little pleasure to report, it does appear that you could use a boost in the polls. We are just a few weeks away from the election. Every day, every action counts. An in-person convention is precisely the splash you need to remind voters why you are the best person to secure our future happiness.

Now, your campaign advisers and the RNC apparatus will buck against this modest proposal. They will tell you it’s practically unwieldy, optically grotesque. Well, did you become president by listening to these snake-oil consultants or your instincts? The American people know, by the way, you prefer to do things in person. Don’t let them down. Help them believe, anew, through an in-person convention, that America will be made great by your second term.

And just picture it. In a field, surrounded by greenery, perhaps in the Midwest, you begin your address. The environs connote freedom, safety. You are not in a basement, you are not in a city, nothing is on fire. Everything is very much alive. You talk of the great rebuilding that has now been started but needs to be seen through. Balloons don’t need to fall from the rafters since you have the blue skies above. As day turns to night, the stars come out and the moon shines bright. Party delegates quit their shenanigans as they listen to you — and, importantly, the future young voices of the GOP.

In November, people remember what they saw.

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