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RNC 2016: The Right Place at the Right Time

Binyamin Rose, Cleveland

The morning buzz was more powerful than a double espresso at Starbucks: Considering how much Donald Trump loathes President Obama, it’s hard to believe that his campaign would copycat anything closely related to Michelle.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


CLEVELAND, OHIO: A group of Anarchists are briefly detained and searched by police in downtown Cleveland during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. (SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP / IMAGEBANK)


ontributing editor Yisroel Besser found himself face-to-face with Donald Trump Jr., head of the New York delegation, just as the state was casting the votes that put his father over the top, clinching his nomination.
The public address system came alive to the melody of New York, New York. Over the din, Yisroel and Don Jr. traded greetings. “We know your community,” Don Jr. said, “and not just because of Jared [Kushner] and my sister [Jared’s wife, Ivanka]. We’re friends of your community.”
Following a name drop of Jason Greenblatt, one of the new Republican nominee’s trusted attorneys and top Middle East advisors, Don Jr. lit up. “Jason’s a great guy and a great part of this.”
The ubiquitous security detail arrived just at that moment and whisked Don Jr. away. The official tally gave Donald J. Trump almost 400 delegates more than the 1237 required. After the last ditch #NeverTrump movement fizzled on the floor on Day 1, the vote felt almost anti-climactic.
Trump might be over this hump, but the real battle lies ahead. His Thursday night speech accepting the nomination will be critical in determining whether he leaves Cleveland having buttressed his presidential image, and just as importantly, if he can unify a fractious party squarely behind him.

Mishpacha News Editor: Binyamin Rose 

Good Copy, Bad Copy 

The day didn’t begin so well for Trump. Having gone to bed thinking his wife Melania had stolen the show, he woke up to reports that Melania had plagiarized portions of her address. The morning buzz was more powerful than a double espresso at Starbucks. Considering how much Donald Trump loathes President Obama, it’s hard to believe that his campaign would copycat anything closely related to Obama.
If someone goofed, for that reason alone Trump might take a page out of his own book at The Apprentice and tell the speechwriter: “You’re fired.” However, that would prove rather difficult for Trump if, as Melania insists, she wrote the speech herself with some assistance. It’s not easy for a writer to be original, but if you Google “original speechwriting” you’ll come up with 2,330,000 entries, so, speechwriters of the world, there is help out there if you need it. The media jumped on the story like a lion pounces on raw red meat, but to its credit, as the day unfolded, reporters pointed to several other instances where politicians — even liberal Democrats — may have cheated on their speeches.
Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort exacerbated the controversy by trying to pin the blame on Hillary Clinton, accusing her of planting the story. If the Trump campaign wants to blame Hillary for Benghazi, as it did in large doses on opening night, that’s fair game, but once you start blaming your opponents for your own unforced errors, you just erode your credibility. In the great scheme of the campaign, this too will blow over. But the Trump camp got stung by this one and it’s going to hurt for a while.

Making America Great Again, Cajun Style 

When Abhay Patel was a boy, his parents, immigrants from India, owned and operated a small hotel in Mississippi. Everyone in the family pitched in. 
“My parents told me unless you want to clean hotel bathrooms the rest of your life, you better get an education,” Patel told me on the sidelines of the GOP convention. He took their advice and today, the 40-year-old Patel, a former investment banker for Deutsche Bank is one of 11 candidates bidding to fill a vacant US Senate seat in Louisiana. He has vintage GOP credentials. For the past five years, Patel spearheaded implementation of a strategic growth plan transforming New Orleans — virtually washed away by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — into a boom town for entrepreneurs and startups.
“Katrina broke the city. The entire governmental system failed, but that gave an opportunity for individuals to step up and say let’s try it our way. To me that’s Republicanism and that’s conservatism,” Patel said.
Washington can learn a big lesson from New Orleans in that regard, and Patel says that’s where he and Donald Trump fit right in.
“If we keep sending the career political classes to Washington and allow them to stay there, we’ll get the same poor results. We need disruptive, next-generation leadership to reform a broken entitlement system and put a tax code in place that spurs entrepreneurship,” Patel says. If elected, Patel says he would promote a US-Israel-India economic and strategic triangle. “Israel is our most important ally. India is the world’s largest democracy, and if you look at where it’s positioned geographically at the end of the Middle East and bordering China, strengthening this relationship will improve stability and security in the world.”

The Secret to Longevity 

People seeking political office for the first time would do well to consult with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad — who has served six terms in office.He attributes his longevity to “hard work and keeping in touch with my constituents,” but his strong pro-Israel credentials haven’t hurt him with the state’s conservative and evangelical voter bases. The son of a Jewish mother and Norwegian father, Gov. Branstad signed a law two months ago that prohibits state funds from being directly invested in companies that boycottIsrael.Jews comprise two-tenths of 1% ofIowa’s population, so for Gov. Branstad it’s the principle, not the numbers that matter.“We need to do the right thing. We need to make it clear that these kind of boycotts, especially against a friend and our only democratic ally in the Middle East is counterproductive to what’s right for America,” Gov. Branstad told Mishpachain an interview at a gathering honoring pro-Israel state legislators sponsored by the Israel Project and the Israel Action Network. “Israel is also a great trading partner and from the perspective of our national defense, we need to maintain a strong relationship.”If there’s anything Jews can do to show its gratitude in return, it’s to pray forIowafarmers. “We have great crops right now,” Gov. Branstad said. “All we need is better corn and soybean prices.”

This Week in Jerusalem 

The first time we wrote about Ron Dermer was exactly three years ago, when he had two occasions to celebrate. Prime Minister Netanyahu named him Israel’s ambassador to the US and Dermer had just named his newborn daughter Goldie. We caught up with Ambassador Dermer again this week, a day before he was set to take off for Israel for another simchah. This time it’s the bar mitzvah of his son, Meir, who was named in honor of Dermer’s father, the former mayor of Miami Beach. Ambassador Dermer will have to rush back from Israel to Philadelphia to stop by next week’s Democratic National Convention. He’s making the rounds at both party parleys, while adhering to a strictly nonpartisan stance, even though it’s no state secret that Netanyahu is looking forward to dealing with America’s next president, whoever he or she may be. “We can never take anything for granted. We want to make sure we have strong bipartisan support for Israel and look forward to just engaging with leaders and ensuring that support continues for decades to come,” Dermer said.

Speaking of Security 

West Fourth Street in downtown Cleveland is a narrow street of shops, restaurants, and pubs, and this week, it’s been the venue where the bulk of the wide array of demonstrators have been relegated to. It’s a wacky mix of neo-Socialists who feel the Bern, evangelical recruiters with megaphones pushing leaflets on passerby, and anti-Trumpers. Most are young. Many are the type you’d like to shout at to “get a life.” They have raised challenges for delegates and media trying to pick their way through the crowds, and for police, some on horseback, who need eyes behind their heads to keep them all at bay. 

Asked if there were any clashes in the vicinity, one policeman told me: “Let’s put it this way. Nobody’s been taken to jail today.”

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