The one thing the Republican convention clarified is that dissent is alive and well in the GOP and in America. And that's a good and great thing. It's what the American system of governance was designed to accommodate. Without dissent we've got, well, Donald Trump's true believers.
People who have no tolerance for disagreement, who won't abide those whose honest convictions, analysis and values lead them to a different place. Why else would Trump's true believers conduct themselves as if their like minded true believers would turn out enough votes to get Trump elected president?
Who would posit that Hillary Clinton is a traitor and should be executed? Who would boo a speaker at their own convention--Ted Cruz--who wouldn't outright endorse Trump and who pointed out that the uniting Republican principle should be a devotion to freedom? And that freedom includes freedom of expression?
No, I'm no fan of Ted Cruz. I don't like his superior attitude and his rigid demands and his failure to understand how a democracy works. If he wasn't going to endorse Trump, he should not have accepted an invitation to attend Trump's coronation. You don't follow it up the next day by proclaiming that he isn't a "puppy dog," as if at the other guests at the convention were. And he made revealed at a press conference this morning that his non-endorsement of Trump was personal, that his attacks on Cruz' family still simmered and controlled his actions.
But it's a little late for Trump's true believers to criticize anyone, including Cruz, for bad form and incivility, when Trump's success can be partially attributed to his gawd awful attacks on everyone else, from Sen. John McCain to a physically handicapped reporter. Trump, in a word, disgusts me.
And millions of other people who are trying to decide whether they should vote for a loose cannon in Trump or the ethically challenged Hillary Clinton. Cruz was right when he said this morning that if the Trump campaign continues to focus on negative attacks on Clinton, but not on freedom, he'll surely lose the election. A general election is an entirely different animal than a primary. Conventional political theory holds that if you don't win the middle, you loose.
Trump's true believers apparently think that they don't need the middle. After all, Trump won the nomination by appealing to the hardest of the hardline outsiders. They're counting on the belief that there are more of those who will vote in November than independents. And they might be right, considering the difficulty that independents have in picking between worse and worst. Independents might not show up at all.
Whatever. For now, all we hear are laments about how the Republican Party is fractured, perhaps fatally so. About how the GOP convention was a huge disappointment because it didn't show a united front. I don't share that lament. It's been closer to what a real convention in a democracy should be. I guess we can thank the Trump true believers for that in an odd way.
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