Posted by Curt on 22 July, 2016 at 4:11 pm. 4 comments already!


Philip Klein:

“Defeat Hillary Vote Trump,” read one popular sticker being worn by Republican delegates on the convention floor as Donald Trump formally accepted the party’s nomination. It was a fitting encapsulation of the week’s proceedings.

The sticker’s message reflected the defensiveness with which many Republicans have talked themselves into supporting Trump. Instead of enthusiastically backing the nominee, they have framed their choice as an act of resistance against Clinton.

Modern conventions have two central purposes — to unify the party and to make a case to a broader electorate. Ideally, parties hope that they need to do as little as possible work on unifying so that they can spend more time focusing on a smaller universe of the unconverted.

But that was not the case in this convention, as speakers repeatedly had to make appeals to those within the party who are having a tough time supporting Trump.

“I know that some have reservations about my friend Donald Trump,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott told delegates.

A frustrated Laura Ingraham mocked those who were reluctant to get on the Trump train. “We should all, even all you boys with wounded feelings and bruised egos, pledge to support Donald Trump now.”

His friend, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, declared, “A vote for anyone other than Donald Trump in November is a vote for Hillary Clinton.”

This point was reiterated by Jerry Falwell, Jr. on the final night of the convention: “A decision not to vote or to vote for a third-party candidate is a de facto vote for Hillary Clinton.”

Hatred of Clinton, Republicans hope, will be the magic elixir that unites the party and delivers the White House to Trump — the only presidential nominee in decades of polling who is less popular than Clinton.

But no matter how much Republicans try to convince themselves that the lesser of two evils argument will save them from a rout in November, it won’t heal the deep fissures that exist within the party.

When Republicans gathered here, it was already clear that they were not united in any true sense of the word. Dozens of prominent lawmakers skipped the convention. Trump opponents spent the week leading up to the convention — and the first day of the convention itself — in open rebellion against his nomination.

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