At the Republican Party convention, intended to showcase President Donald Trump’s vision for his would-be second term, two things happened, that could very well prove as setback for the incumbent president’s reelection campaign in the November polls.
On Sunday night, another black man was shot by the police in Wisconsin. The man, Jacob Blake, lies in hospital in a serious condition after he was shot 7 times in the back by two police officers in the town of Kenosha.
The circumstances are yet to be revealed, but the video of the shooting went viral and riots erupted immediately. The state is investigating the incident and has imposed a nightly curfew in Kenosha.
In any case, the November election, held in the most unusual circumstances, because of the relentless coronavirus pandemic, is shaping up to be a very interesting one to watch
The shooting comes three months after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and prevailing racism against African Americans.
Trump fared poorly during the Floyd protests. He failed to show any sympathy with the victim and called on the National Guard and police forces across the US to stop what he described as staged riots by thugs and outlaws.
A dented public image
His reaction to the Floyd murder has surely dented his support among America’s minorities and his image as the leader of the nation.
On Monday, Jerry Falwell junior, an influential leader of the Evangelical movement and a staunch supporter of Trump reportedly resigned as president of Liberty University, the biggest Christian college in the country following the revelation of a sex scandal involving his wife and business partner.
Falwell Jr took over at the college in 2007 after the death of his father, the famous evangelist and a founder of the Christian Right movement, Jerry Falwell. The son was key in Trump’s nomination by the Republican for president in 2016.
Running a conservative agenda
The two incidents will naturally further hurt the image of Trump, who is running on a conservative social agenda. However, more than two months to the presidential polls, it is too early to dismiss him, although he seemed vulnerable in face of a strong Democratic opposition.
Armed with a proactive foreign policy and rebounding markets, Trump, to bolster his position, could use the ongoing convention to win back America.
He needs to come out of the convention as a unifying symbol — a leader of all of America, not only the white America base of support he has been relying on so far. That is a tough call, understandably.
In any case, the November election, held in the most unusual circumstances, because of the relentless coronavirus pandemic, is shaping up to be a very interesting one to watch.