2016 GOP convention under way

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20 July 2016

Trump supervillains

Every notorious character was in attendance, excepting only anyone the Convention had nominated in previous years.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The 2016 Republican Nominating Convention opened here on Monday to confirm Donald Trump as the party's candidate for U.S. President.

The first order of business at the quadrennial tax-funded infomercial, after demonstrating how stern and uncompromising Chairman Paul Ryan looks holding a gavel until he opens his mouth, was turning back a minority of the Rules Committee that moved to change the rules so that delegates would be free to vote their consciences, rather than the will of the voters who had sent them. This faction of the Party of federalism, law, and order stated that the Party would put its best foot forward by violating state election laws. The faction included much better nominees Mitt Romney, John McCain, Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Kate Bush. Unfortunately, all of these had boycotted the Convention and were late to realize that that would reduce their influence there, and the motion failed.

To harmonize with Trump's theme in the primary, "Make America Great Again," while trying to make it mean something definite, each day of the convention had its own stirring copycat theme. Monday's was "Make America White Again," in which speakers promised to rectify eight years under a Negro President, without necessarily undoing anything he did, as it would surely have done after begging for and getting control of the U.S. Senate in 2014 if it intended to.

Tuesday was "Fire America Again," as Trump reprised his television role in The Apprentice, showing how an enlightened boss motivates his workers by not just firing the deadwood but mortifying it with smug wisecracks and insults on its way out. The Republican Party has a long record of targeting federal agencies for closure, including Planned Parenthood, Public Broadcasting, and the Export-Import Bank — a record not marred in the least by failure to actually close any of them — and political pundits see no downside from informing federal employees that the Party's goal is that they join the nation's vibrant army of 94 million who have found satisfying alternatives to gainful work.

Wednesday was "Give a Speech Again," as Melania Trump gave a speech once given by Malia Obama. The evening put the Trump family on a par with national plagiarists Rand Paul and Ben Carson, and even Vice President Joe Biden, who rose to fame after claiming to be Welsh coal miner Neil Kinnock. Unlike the previous day, Trump would not bellow "You're Fired!" and leave any speech-writers bawling and unemployable, but just clam up and "move on" as though he were Hillary Clinton.

The final day was "Bore American Again," as the convention noted the danger of over-exciting the American voter in the four months of platitudes and policy shifts before the general election. The Convention would endorse Indiana Governor Mike Pence for Vice President. He made a name for himself in the 2012 primary as the nation's foremost expert on the federal budget and several other topics that voters don't care about. However, adding Pence to Moneybags will convince voters that a Trump Presidency will not be entirely name-calling and insults — if it does not convince them that other aspects of Trump's primary victory were also, to quote a Richard Nixon aide, "inoperative."

The Convention is being held in the grimy industrial state of Ohio, whose Governor, John Kasich, is a Republican but also boycotting the convention despite having gotten Trump to co-sign a pledge to "support whomever wins the nomination." The principal concern of Cleveland homeowners is the unrelenting eastward shift of the color line. Those who had moved out of the ghetto, only to see it move back toward them, will be astonished when #BlackLivesMatter leapfrogs them entirely, scheduling noisy protests that will be Trump's fault for having a personality that incites them. Ohio is an open-carry state, which means that citizens can carry weapons, though they are advised not to point them at anyone famous, and no one brings them to a Nominating Convention except Libertarians. A security perimeter was organized around the convention hall, for which Trump will send the bill to Mexico. Comparable precautions will be taken next week, when Democrats hold their Convention in Philadelphia, but putative nominee Hillary Clinton said the bill for it will be sent to Goldman Sachs.

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