After Last Night, the GOP Has Got to Be Nervous

I was pleasantly surprised by the first night of the Dem virtual convention. There were a few small glitches, as there always are with live events, but on the whole the evening was engaging, inspiring, and often gripping. Clearly, the Dems had thought this process through and took care to get the details right. I think they should consider doing conventions this way from now on, in fact.

Not everyone agrees; a couple of people at Slate thought the evening was weird.  But Michelle Obama’s talk got five stars.

See also Paul Waldman, Trump’s unhinged Twitter meltdown shows Michelle Obama drew blood.

I believe the Democrats committed to a mostly virtual convention some time in mid June. The Republicans, meanwhile, wasted a lot of time and money trying to accommodate Trump’s insistence on a live, maskless, no-social-distancing event. They didn’t give up on that plan until July 23.

This means the Republicans gave themselves a lot less time to pull something together to put on the teevee screen. Their convention begins is next week.

According to news stories, among the mostly still unknown speakers will be the McCloskeys and Nick Sandmann, the Catholic schoolkid who became famous for dissing a Native American elder. The theme for the RNC convention is, apparently, “Fear, Grievance, and General Whining.” I’m looking forward to more videos of rioters burning cars.

The RNC does have some recent experience to go on, such as the virtual Texas Republican Convention. Which was a disaster. Texas Monthly called it a “goat rodeo of galactic proportions.” But maybe Republicans will have learned from mistakes. Or will at least use a different technical team.

Right-wing media is dismissing the first night of the Dem convention as a snooze. Some guy at Townhall called last night “the night Trump won re-election.” He was especially outraged at one speaker who blamed Trump for her father’s death.

But what’s left of the establishment Republicans must realize they’ve got a big act to follow. They’ve got to be nervous.

Now back to the first night of the Dem convention, which is getting mostly glowing reviews in the mainstream press. This is from the Washington Post theater critic.

Without convention floors and podiums to cover, the cable channels and other outlets gave the Democratic National Committee extraordinary control over the evening’s content. Not only did that sideline the anchor folk for much of the proceedings, but it also allowed for a smooth and surprisingly rich program of videos and live speeches to flow dynamically from segment to segment. And with actress Eva Longoria Bastón serving as a serene and confident host from a Los Angeles studio, Night 1 of the four-night production came across as an elegant, multidimensional campaign ad.

As television drama you can’t beat the old days when the conventions really chose the nominees. But since the primary system took over the conventions have just been television extravaganzas anyway. I don’t miss the spin room interviews and the stupid hats. Dana Milbank:

Gone, mercifully, are the corporation-financed parties where lobbyists ply their trade and big donors buy access to public figures. Absent, thankfully, are the convention-floor pageantry and theatrics that haven’t meant a thing for decades. Missing, too, are the preening journalists bagging trophy interviews on media row. Vanished are the scores of interest groups threatening to withhold support if they don’t get their moments in the spotlight and their planks in a platform the nominee will eventually ignore.

Milbank had good things to say about Bernie Sanders’s talk:

In apocalyptic terms, Sanders made the case for his former opponent. “Joe Biden will end the hate and division Trump has created. He will stop the demonization of immigrants, coddling of white nationalists, racist dog-whistling, religious bigotry and the ugly attacks on women. My friends, I say to you, to everyone who supported other candidates in the primary, and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake. … My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”

Indeed. So, good first night. I have concerns about the second night:

The old-guard of the Democratic Party — in speeches by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, former Secretary of State John Kerry and former President Bill Clinton — will share the spotlight with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York, the young progressive star who, despite being given only a minute to speak, could provide the night’s most closely watched moment.

AOC should get more time. Maybe not a primary slot — she’s a junior congresswoman — but more than a minute.

And here’s the closing musical number, which MSNBC walked over so I couldn’t watch it last night.


20 thoughts on “After Last Night, the GOP Has Got to Be Nervous

  1. Let’s assume Trump loses the 2020 election and leaves office peacefully in January 2021.  This is an unlikely scenario but, for the moment, let’s assume it does happen.

    Should he be prosecuted for the incredible and criminal harm he has done to America?

    Definitely not!  What’s best for us, for the world, is to just forget that the Trump dictatorship ever existed.

    Let’s prepare to move on, and then move on.

    • I disagree. We need a truth commission. We need to make an example of these creeps. We need all the ugliness exposed to the light of day.

    • "Should he be prosecuted for the incredible and criminal harm he has done to America?"

      Absolutely punish those responsible.  Tell the world we do not tolerate fascists.  You want to have a government you can be proud of, then you must be prepared to clean up that park/statue once in a while.

    • I too disagree. Ignoring oligarchic criminality does not make it go away. To move on, we must look back, lest they attack from behind, again. Enforcing the law is a dirty job, but sometime you gotta do it.

    • You can't just move on.   It not just about holding Trump and his criminal cohorts accountable. It's about restoring our values and the credibility and decency of the United States. Maybe Trump can avoid prosecution by operating in a theater of subjectivity where a specific violation of a statute might exist, but at a minimum Congress should at least issue a resolution of condemnation for Trump's breaking the faith and violating his oath of office in protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States.

       We probably won't get our pound of flesh from Trump's fat ass, but we can acknowledge we went astray and desire to reaffirm our values as a nation.

      It's simple..  Be it resolved: Trump is a big bag of shit who lead our nation astray with his incessant lies, cheating, colluding with foreign powers, the separating of families, extortions, and countless other criminal activities. We hereby declare Donald J. Trump an abomination and a shit bag. In the present and in perpetuity. Amen

  2. Once upon a time there was a mad emperor. Let his name be never spoken, his likeness never shown. But what he did, and how he came to power, be forever told as a warning for the children that such a person NEVER be allowed to rise again.

  3. How many people even watch these conventions?  And then how many people on the fence do?  That number is probably pretty tiny. 

    Meanwhile Trump raises more money (not necessarily a virtue but possibly useful), Republicans sign up more new voters than the Dem party has, they aren't afraid to vote in person AND they aren't afraid to campaign in person, to knock doors, for Trump to campaign etc..  And yes besides those advantages Trump will also cheat if he can get away with it.

    Now it should just be a referendum on the last 4 year and Trump should be justly kicked to the curb as one of the worst presidents ever.  But noone ever went broke betting against the stupidity of the American people, and if there is no ground game, Trump could win.

  4. I too wish AOC was given more time. She's a star, and they're probably afraid of her stealing the limelight. Read that Colin Powell will appear on Tuesday and endorse Biden-Harris.

    My fantastic congresswoman, Katie Porter will be grilling DeJoy on Monday. She tweeted, "I hope the Postmaster General comes prepared. I know I will". Nancy Pelosi rebuffed DeJoy's walkback today, saying it's insufficient. Thank God for these two women. Three if you include AOC.

  5. Now I understand why AOC was only given a minute. She's going to nominate Bernie Sanders.

  6. "The (Mod?) Squad," with AOC, Pressley, Tlaib, etc., should have been given 15 minutes together, to 'do their own thaaang!'

    That might be a welcome break from "The Ghosts of Conventions Past:" Bill Clinton, Kerry, etc…  

    • They are true rising stars.  Limelight will not make them brighter.  Their strength lies in their ideas and their ability to communicate them.  What a pool of talent.  And for the opposition, only a pool of pathology and incompetence.  

      No need to show your hole cards when you have this strong of a hand.

  7. I actually liked the second night even better than the first. And AOC made her minute count.

  8. My fantasies of tar and feathers, along with putting bad people in stocks so we can throw vegetables at them have carried me through several republican-dominated eras.  But now I'm old and support the idea of using the justice system we have in place.

    It is time to let the crazies know that they had their moment in the sun, and it's over. 

    That war belongs in the past.  A Truth Commission would just start them up again, as will the courts – think Roe v. Wade and our slow progress since then.

  9. I didn’t watch day two of the convention, just reading about it.  What’s striking is the diversity – not just in people but also in political ideology and approach.  The democrats have everyone from John Kasich to Sanders; Colin Powell to AOC.  This diversity is a more accurate reflection of the nation.  Given that reality, the democrats, progressives and centrists, deserve credit for making it work through tolerance and compromise, to stay focused on the goal of ridding the country of Trump.  Republicans cannot credibly make the case that the party is “extreme” with that lineup.  And they’re all united in not just defeating Trump, but changing the direction of the country, led by Trump but supported by the GOP. 

    The republicans, with their focus on white grievance, gun worship, hatred, etc. have their work cut out for them trying to convince a majority of voters of their vision of America. 

  10. I felt that we should have prosecuted Nixon. I'm not sure the pardon was constitutional because Nixon had not been charged. That's been my opinion for decades and Trump is the proof that for lack of a criminal threat, POTUS will consider adherence to the law optional.

  11. Knowing Trump, even if he loses the election, he will not go away peacefully.  Remember, for him winning is everything.  He will do anything he can to incite his followers to do what they can to vindicate him because the "election was rigged" and stolen from him.  It could get very ugly.  He might even refuse to leave the White House.  What could be done to make him leave?  The Secret Service would still be required to protect him.

    Biden and Harris could be in physical danger as some nutjob could try to assassinate one or both.  These are very unstable chaotic times.  Of course, I don't have the answers only questions.

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