The Corner

Elections

The Convention Tries to Humanize Trump

President Donald Trump speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., August 24, 2020. (Chris Carlson/Reuters)

Several of last night’s speeches emphasized that President Trump can be warm and caring. Not being perceived as such is a common problem for Republicans, and it’s especially pronounced for President Trump. Quinnipiac’s poll last month had only 37 percent of the public agreeing that he cares about the average American, while 61 percent disagreed. (The public split 59–33 in Joe Biden’s favor on that question.)

The idea that Trump needs to improve those numbers to do better against Biden overall is not crazy. But I wonder how many voters there are who haven’t reached a firm judgment on Trump’s personal qualities. It might do more to help Trump’s reelection chances if Republicans spent less time trying to make Trump appear compassionate and more time trying to bring Biden’s numbers down.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.