Hey, remember in 2012, when the RNC scrambled to build an entire night out of a ripped-from-context and intentionally dishonest interpretation of “you didn’t build that”? They had signs and decorations and chants, and a whole lineup of speakers assuring the American public that there was no such thing as the communitarian spirit in American history, and every success story was entirely individualistic. I thought it was the most absurd thing I’ve ever seen in politics.
There are plans to emphasize different themes each night of the convention. Mr. Trump wants to touch on a few of his favorite hot-button issues, like the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, former President Clinton’s infidelities and border security.
“Border security” is a thing, of course. I think an overblown thing, and an issue which Trump reduces to vile caricatures and demagogic European-style race-hatred, but at least it’s an issue. Clinton’s infidelities? Does he really think that’s going to help him capture any more voters? I know that the yapping and erect idiots in Cleveland will be salivating at the scandal, a chance to chap up and groove back into their salacious 90s heyday, but everyone else? They know this was a losing bet, right?
Also, is marital infidelity really the card Trump wants to play?
And the less said about Benghazi the better. The Republicans love it, because then the party of the Iraq war can pretend they care about Americans dying in the Middle East.
OK, but: the lineup. Peter Theil! It’ll be exciting hearing him tell the crowd that he, as a rich person, has the right to destroy any media he doesn’t care for. Tim Tebow, who, I guess, is a good guy, really. And it’s in theory good to expand the rostrum away from politicians. And maybe a guy with such a squeaky clean and evangelically-loved image as Tebow might help soften Trump’s image, but I doubt it. It’ll allow the already-convinced to rationalize their vote, and maybe that’s good enough.
THe best might be Day 2, with it’s Focus On The Economy. The first listen speaker is Dana White, the President of the UFC. You might think, well, that’s ridiculous. What does he know about the economy? He’s actually perfect. The UFC is an organization known for hardballing its workers and punishing any employees who stray. It has a slavish devotion to wringing out maximum profits from its soon-to-be-broken fighters, demanding complete and total subservience, and then casting them aside the moment they stop being useful. It’s why the model is breaking, as fighters like Conor McGregor try to leverage their own power. But really, it’s the Republican economic apotheosis. Just as you can say that boxing/MMA is sport at its most basic, the UFC is capitalism at its finest: workers should have no rights, should be bled dry, and then discarded, all in the name of huge profits. Don’t be surprised if Dana White is named Secretary of Labor in a Trump administration.
Also, Night 3 is going to have both Newt (scheduled, so if he’s VP he’ll speak anyway) and Ted Cruz. Do you think that Cleveland can handle such collective self-regard? Such faux-intellectual preening and self-righteous anger on cue. I am glad I have softball on Wednesday nights. I don’t know if I could handle the two back-to-back. Although Cruz’s speech might be a masterpiece of self-regard and self-interest. There’s no doubt he sees his speech as nothing more than a launch for 2020. It’s going to be maddening and fantastic.
Oh! And did you think there wouldn’t be diversity? There is, you idiot. There is. “There are a few African-Americans, like Jamiel Shaw Sr., who became an outspoken advocate for tougher immigration laws after his son was killed in 2008 by an undocumented immigrant…” See? Trump knows he needs minority outreach. So let’s get a black guy who hates Mexicans!
(That isn’t totally fair. This man suffered a hideous tragedy. But still: reducing immigration to a series of bloody handbills is dangerous nonsense, and Trump’s idea of minority outreach is pitting them against each other.)
I’ll give Trump credit. He seems to have backed off on his “loud people that everyone hates” strategy, as Don King and Sarah Palin seem to be off, and there’s no Mike Tyson, either. But still. This is going to swing between surreal lunacy and scratchy, hateful, pseudo-tough chest-thumping anger. They’ll denounce the lies of Hillary and how she, and she alone, is responsible for Americans dying in the Middle East. We’ll hear about how Bill once had sex about a million times. It’ll be a carnival of juvenalia, projected paranoia, fear-mongering, race-baiting, and hate. It’s a nightmare vision of a broken America, beaming from a possible future, coming at you in primetime, four days next week.
Stock up on a good bourbon and a lot of cheap beer, America. It’s gonna be ugly.