Opinion: Republicans have an opportunity to execute reimagined convention, plan could fly in the masked face of Democrats

Rip up the convention playbook.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, White House

The Democratic National Convention this month, Joe Biden’s coronation, promises to be a dry event. Like a really boring telethon.

It’ll feature various radicals and grievance groups reluctantly pledging their troth to a confused long-in-the-tooth moderate who will politically sleep with anyone to fulfill his lifelong ambition of sitting behind the big desk in the Oval Office. It’s supposed to be a political advertising event full of ballyhoo and rising stars. But this one will feature masked cretins claiming fascism is stalking the land and they can stop it. Ho-hum.

Political advertising is something I know about, having spent almost two decades producing political ads and running campaigns. But Biden and company may be on to a point—they’re just getting the execution wrong.

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In these days of virus and national unease, a sparkling display of party unity and over-the-top patriotism may be a tad out of place. But so is the paint-drying festival the Democrats have planned. Isn’t there something that could connect with voters in these troubled times? Could the GOP do it and reinvigorate their brand? Yes.

But it has to be innovative and it has to speak to the unease. It has to be (to borrow an old 7 Up tag) an un-convention. It has to have the promise of better days while still reminding America (especially swing voters) why they voted for Donald Trump four years ago.

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I propose a picnic. Yes, I know what you’re thinking:  Put down the military-grade Pappy Van Winkle and go back to work. But seriously, it might do the trick.

Hold it in late summer, say 9/12. Do the convention official business in Jacksonville, Charlotte or wherever, but hold the nomination speeches and acceptances separate in a swing state, say…North Carolina. Hold it outside to negate the use of masks. Anybody says anything about masks ask them why they weren’t in a huff over all those mask-less memorials and protests. Establish a security perimeter a mile away to prevent unwanted guests. Then, with everyone dressed casually and Melania in a summer dress, have a family picnic. Only the family is America.

No speeches, no blowhard speakers. Just the president and real families picked by lottery and vetted by the party, with lots of kids in attendance, running around having a good time. Just one day of this for two hours—maybe 2-4 p.m. The press will try to ignore it, so push the hell out of it on social media. And don’t announce it until a week before the event. Let the press in, but only one camera from the press pool and friendly reporters from Fox News, One America News Network, and others who won’t play Gotcha!

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Have the president as host and have him introduce a bunch of casually dressed GOP types who have a conversation with him about the nation and the election. When the time comes for an acceptance, do it surrounded by those families and, at the end, have Trump and Pence do just a couple of minutes each on what is at stake in November. The message? Vote GOP and return to summer picnics, and what they symbolize, and a normal American way of life.

Yeah, it’s a gamble. Sure, the devil is in the details. But it will contrast so greatly with the frightened Democrats and the general unease—it’s worth the risk. The bottom line of it: vote for Biden and get used to the mask and uncertainty for a long time. Vote for Trump and get your life back.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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