Tuesday’s RNC theme is “Make America Work Again.” But, if you look at the night’s speakers, it’s not really about the American economy: It’s about Donald Trump’s record as a businessman.
That the night would be loaded with people speaking about their personal experiences with Trump the businessman is not especially surprising: Conventions are about humanizing candidates and that means that they inevitably feature people who can attest to the personal character of the nominee. The problem with the slate of “Make America Work Again” speakers is that, like the majority of the speakers at the 2016 RNC, they’re mostly fourth and fifth-rate people few Americans have ever heard of. This is not a terrible thing at face value, except for the fact that, without any political experience to speak of, Trump’s claim that he is an expert negotiator and businessman is a central part of his argument to be president: He claims that the skills that have made him successful will make an America successful as well.
Unfortunately for Trump, the people who are speaking on behalf of his business acumen are inadvertently making the argument that he is not as successful as he repeatedly says he is. UFC president Dana White is probably the biggest star on the program, and his sport was considered to be a barbaric backwater for years. He just got a big payday, but his claim that Trump was helping the UFC in its infancy is odd. Professional golfer Natalie Gulbis was on The Apprentice but does not appear to be in business. (She’s ranked 492nd in the LPGA.) No one has heard of Andy Wist—he owns a waterproofing business and, though he seems like a fairly nice guy, he doesn’t quite bolster Trump’s billionaire image. Kerry Woolard runs Trump Winery, which is owned by Donald Trump.
No one knows what Trump’s real net worth is, and I suspect that voters don’t care. But if the speakers at tonight’s RNC are any indication, it’s much lower than Trump says it is.