Republican National Convention — Day Four

CLEVELAND, OHIO — Ted Cruz sent shock waves throughout the Republican convention on Wednesday night when he stopped short of endorsing Donald Trump and instead told Republicans to vote their conscience. Years from now, no one will remember that senator from Florida (what was his name?) who phoned in a half-hearted endorsement, but they will remember a bigger-than-life Texas senator who refused to fully embrace a man who (let's not forget) viciously attacked his wife, lied about his record repeatedly (and then spent months trying to destroy him by calling him "Lyin' Ted), and accused his father (a pastor) of being involved in the JFK assassination. Was it a good political move for Cruz (if it was indeed a political move)? Time will tell.

The theme for Thursday's RNC is "Make America One Again." That's a daunting task, considering that the Republican Party cannot even herd the GOP cats inside the Quicken Loans Arena this week. Bottom line is this is a divided party, both ideologically and in terms of how they view this election. There's not a lot anyone — even Donald Trump — can do to change that.

Republican National Convention — Day Three

Republican National Convention — Day Two

Republican National Convention — Day One

 

It's official -- Trump's was the longest nomination acceptance speech since 1972.

1 hour, 16 minutes.

Go big or go home, I guess.

Trump hit a goldmine of truth when he said, "I'm not sure I totally deserve" the support of the "evangelical and religious community." I want to say that was a rare triumph of humility, but his speech has started to make Barack Obama look humble by comparison.

If elected, Trump will single-handedly renegotiate NAFTA. He will enforce all of America's laws. He will fix the TSA. "We're going to be considerate and compassionate to everyone."

"We will make America strong again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And we will make America great again." Yeah, you're just shy of promising the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Good luck with that.

It was chilling when a woman in the audience yelled, "Yes, you will!" And when Trump basked in it like a spoiled little boy.

This was a great speech, but the one thing it most certainly was not is humble. I get it, you're running for president, but wake up.

On this we agree: "America is a nation of believers, dreamers, and strivers that is being led by a group of censors, critics, and cynics."

 

Trump wondered out loud what his father would say if he could see his son as the GOP nominee. Someone in the audience shouted, "BUILD THE WALL!" Heh.

 

That line about helping college students who are drowning in debt was not in the transcript of Trump's speech released before the event."We are going to work with all of our students who are drowning in debt to take the pressure off these young people," he promised.

The gentleman next to me leaned over and asked his wife, "What does that mean? He's going to forgive the debt?"

Good question. Maybe that's what Trump meant when he said Bernie Sanders' supporters would be jumping on the Trump train soon.

 

Woah! Donald Trump actually gave a lucid speech -- riddled with other problems, but surprisingly clear and politically savvy. He emphasized that "there can be no prosperity without law and order." Then again, he probably overdid it.

"An attack on law enforcement is an attack on all Americans."

"I will restore law and order to our country, believe me."

"In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate."

Trump also mentioned Bernie Sanders, predicting that the insurgent Democrat's voters will rally behind him against Hillary.

Finally, he hit on the very problem that led -- and still leads many -- #NeverTrump conservatives to harshly oppose him: "Nobody knows the system better than me," he declared. "Which is why I alone can fix it. I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just as it was rigged by Bernie Sanders -- he never had a chance."

I'm not sure Sanders never had a chance, and the system is easier to rig the larger the government is. Trump says he will cut down the size and scope of government -- let's see if he really believes it.

 

Tonight is Trump's big coronation at the Q — the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland — and he's killing it. He's sticking to the teleprompter and reading lines that will resonate with Americans who are feeling fearful about foreign and domestic threats.

The first part of the speech focused heavily on national security issues, attempting to tie Hillary to everything from terrorist attacks to police shooting. The crowd is eating up lines like this one: "This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness."

Not surprisingly, he's attacking Hillary in nearly every other sentence.

"That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change — never ever —" Trump quipped, poking fun at the rickrolling Easter egg in Melania's speech Monday night. "My message is that things have to change – and they have to change right now," he added. This is Trump the media star at his best. His timing is impeccable.

There is also a heavy thread of paternalism woven throughout the speech.

"I AM YOUR VOICE!" Trump thundered to the enthusiastic crowd. The underlying message is that Trump will fix everything that is broken. He will take care of us.

 

There have been some pretty astounding goings-on in just the past few hours.

"The Young Turks" booth became the scene of a nearly violent confrontation between Cenk Uygur, InfoWars' Alex Jones, and Trump surrogate Roger Stone. Cenk called Stone "the biggest liar in media," and Stone said Cenk didn't "know anything!"

Here's a video.

Here's the full report on it.

Also, in an interview with PJ Media, Iowa Representative Steve King declared that Ted Cruz will be involved in the effort to elect Donald Trump, even though the Texas senator declined to endorse The Donald at the convention.

Here's the video:

King also agreed with Newt Gingrich that Cruz's insistence that Republicans "vote your conscience" was a subtle endorsement of Trump, as he is the only candidate who will defend the Constitution.

King insisted that, had the convention been able to hear all of Cruz's speech, they "would have liked it a lot."

A lot has been said about security at the RNC. For the most part I've felt completely safe here, even in the middle of raucous protests on Public Square (see my previous post). However, a couple of things have made me feel uneasy.

First, there are so many police officers from so many different units around the country that it would be difficult to know if someone were impersonating a cop. Someone could easily throw on a police costume and blend in with other law enforcement officials. Someone did point out to me that the cops are traveling in groups everywhere they go, so a faker would at least stand out as a lone wolf I guess.

The second, and a bigger concern for me all week, has been the insane way the Quicken Loans Arena is organized. You practically need a sherpa to find your seat because the numbers for the rows, sections, and levels are not intuitively arranged. Here's what my press pass looks like:

RNC

Every time I go into the Q I have to ask half a dozen people how to get to my seat — and then ask some more people how to get to the exit on my way out because the sections are not arranged in logical numerical order. And that's the big problem. If there were an emergency, I'm not at all confident — in fact I have zero confidence — that I could get out of the building in a timely manner. That's a terrifying thought.