Welcome to Donald Trump’s Republican Party

August 2, 2016 JERRY KASSAR
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Polls following the Republican convention have appeared and show a nice bounce for the Trump/Pence ticket. It was an enthusiastic crowd of 4,000 or so delegates that sent this ticket off to a November battle with the 90-plus New York delegates sitting right in from of the podium due to Donald Trump being a native new Yorker. And those New Yorkers could hardly be happier, taking pictures from their first class seats and sending messages to many back home describing their location.

I have been to several Republican National Conventions, and although I did not attend this convention, I would agree that it was very different from the ones I attended. For one, there were the many Trump family members who helped humanize Mr. Trump. For another, there was a very interesting mix of additional speakers. It’s not to say all conventions do not have good speakers, but this convention really attempted to focus on Trump’s strengths and Hillary’s weaknesses at every turn. There was much less emphasis on platform and philosophy. As they say, welcome to Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

Scott Baio, who grew up in the corner house at 80th Street and 10th Avenue and went to Xaverian during his “Happy Day” years, even mentioned the old neighborhood in his speech. He explained that he had been conservative his entire life and believed it was due to his upbringing in a community in which conservative values were simply a way of life. He did everything except mention Dyker Heights by name.

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I grew up down the block from Baio and went to Xaverian too. And although I am two years older than him, we all knew each other, including his acting cousin Jimmy Baio who grew up in the neighborhood. Even though he was in “Happy Days” and his cousin was in “Soap,” to all of the kids on 80th Street back then, they were just two more kids on the block who, when in town from their acting obligations, would play slap ball and other street games like all of us.

I liked Donald Trump’s acceptance speech although the jury is still out on whether it increased his support among those who had been undecided. A political assumption is that many undecided in a presidential race are really people who do not focus into an election until the convention. If that is the case, then I think the speech will help move Trump forward. If, however, the undecided were following the race, I doubt the speech will increase his support inasmuch as it was just another way to push existing themes. In all likelihood, the undecided are probably a mix of both and the speech did some good in increasing Trump’s appeal.

Brooklyn had many delegates for Trump in Cleveland including State Senator Marty Golden (whom I serve as chief of staff), who found the event very exciting and had a great time with his fellow delegates from Brooklyn and Staten Island including Congressmember Dan Donovan.

For political buffs, the New York Conservative Party nominates its presidential ticket separately from the Republican Party and will do so in early September. The party will be nominating the Trump/Pence team and in doing so designating three Conservative Party members to be Presidential electors for New York State joining 26 Republican electors to constitute the 29 Trump electors for New York State. I am pleased to announce that I will be one of those electors.

Donald Trump really wants to win New York, and although that is a longer shot for him than in many other states, I hope he applies the resources to make an attempt. And if he is successful, I will have an opportunity to go to Albany in early September as a presidential elector and cast my vote for Donald Trump for president and Mike Pence for vice president.

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