Trump & the Party of Crushing Dissent

People react to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., as Cruz addresses the delegate during the third day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, I have given it a few days to think about when I saw on the Republican side.

If the goal of any convention is to introduce the candidate & the party to the general public in the interest of unifying members and gaining new support, they failed miserably.

Amid the hoopla surrounding Melania’s plagiarism, Ben Carson’s riffing about Lucifer, a rogue by the name of Ted Cruz, and the Trump’s own speech painting a picture of a dystopian nation, was a candidate and a party intent on crushing dissent, not unifying the party.

Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort kicked off the first day by instigated a fight with John Kasich of Ohio for his decision to not attend the convention, a popular governor of a state the Republican Party needs to win the presidency.

Then there was the way the Free-The-Delegates movement was handled. At one point a total of 11 states had signed on – Maine, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Alaska, Washington, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Minnesota, Virginia and Colorado, spearheaded by Kendal Unruh, a Colorado delegate. Trump not only “crushed” their efforts to change party rules but also punished them for daring to do so by relegating the Colorado delegation to the back of the hall.

“Usually, swing states or states that solidly support the party get prime floor position. But Colorado was relegated to the rear, as far back as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and behind the Northern Mariana Islands… Colorado wasn’t the only state to oppose Trump and be sidelined at the convention as a result. Texas, which favored Sen. Ted Cruz, and Ohio, which voted for Gov. John Kasich, were also pushed to the margins.” Instead, California, New Jersey and New York were prominently placed in the front.

To complicate matters, the Never Trump movement joined forces with Virginia delegate Ken Cuccinelli, former Virginia Attorney General and candidate for Governor, and Utah Senator Mike Lee who were seeking to close the Republican primary system. Together they requested and were summarily denied a roll call.

Cuccinelli’s anger was caught immediately on camera as he threw down his credentials. Unruh and the entire Colorado delegation walked out. It was hardly a display of unity.

MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff caught up with Donald Trump Jr. over the public infighting:

Soboroff: Are you worried about disunity in the party or are you disappointed how things went yesterday?

Trump Jr: Not at all. I have the same group of four people running around, they wait for a camera to show up and then they take their credentials and try to dramatically throw them on the floor. They look like idiots.

Soboroff: Are you talking about Ken Cuccinelli? Are you calling him an idiot?

Trump Jr: These people look like idiots when they are doing that. It should be about party unity. If they are really Republicans, they should worry more about beating Hillary Clinton and less about getting a couple minutes of air time for themselves. Yeah, they should worry less about that.

It did not end with the convention.

In an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet The Press Sunday, Trump stated that he intends to create a Super Pac to raise between 10 and 20 million to prevent the election of Ted Cruz and John Kasich. The Republican Party has never won an election without Ohio but Trump can’t be bothered with those details because for him it is all about the need to crush dissent and feed personal grudges.

This is not a perfect picture of party unity. Instead, it is a Dorian Gray image of rot and corrosion. A political party is not something that can be led by the nose to victory. It has to enthusiastically carry its candidate on its shoulders to triumph. Exacting revenge on former rivals and crushing dissent may feed Trump’s over-inflated ego but it does not win supporters and it does not win elections.…

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