Cleveland—The “Party of Lincoln” has become the “Party of Trump.”
But there is not a lot of joy in the GOP.
Donald Trump ran s dark, dystopian campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. He peddled a politics of fear and resentment. And his Republican National Convention is proving to be every bit as harsh and unforgiving as the man a broken party has now designated as its standard bearer.
Trump secured his party’s nomination by attacking every Republican who got in his way; by attacking the Republican establishment of congressional leaders, elite consultants, and big donors; by threatening to exit the party if he was not treated well; and by referring to his supporters as “the poorly educated.” Trump’s slogan may be “Make America Great Again,” but his real message has always been “Make America Bitter Again.”
And the bitterness has taken on a life of its own at its Cleveland convention. This party simply cannot get happy.
Not even when it is supposed to be celebrating.
In speech after speech since the Cleveland convention opened on Monday, Trump backers have talked about how horrible everything is: the economy, trade policy, foreign policy, domestic policy, you name it.
And the many Republicans who are not Trump backers just keep talking about how horrible Trump is.
Trump arrived at the convention of a party that for months had resisted his nomination with more than enough delegates to claim that nomination. And so he has, securing 1,725 votes versus just 475 for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, whose last-ditch #NeverTrump candidacy was crushed by the voters. Another 114 delegates stuck with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who during the primary campaign referred to Trump as a dangerous “con man.” There were 120 votes for Ohio Governor John Kasich, who has pointedly refused to attend a convention being held in his own state. Seven delegates backed Dr. Ben Carson, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul kept two votes, while three delegates abstained—choosing no one at all over Donald Trump. And the man who began the 2016 Republican race as a favorite (at least of the pundit class), former Florida governor Jeb Bush, got just three votes from the first primary state, New Hampshire.