New York Times columnist Frank Bruni made a controversial statement yesterday: "Trump isn’t the star of his own convention. Hillary Clinton is."
Is the Republican National Convention focusing too much on Clinton? Their mutual dislike of Clinton is something to rally around. But it could also be a missed opportunity to highlight their own candidate, Trump.
#TooMuchHRC in Cleveland? OR is there #JustEnoughHRC to motivate voters to support Trump?
The theme of Tuesday's events was officially "Make America Work Again," but political observers noted there was scant talk about job creation or economic policy—the evening was predominantly anti-Hillary. Nate Silver noted that "Hillary" and" Clinton" were the most used words of the evening (work came in tenth). Some think that by focusing on Clinton the party is missing their opportunity to lay out a clear agenda.
Focusing on Clinton may be a smart strategy. Trump's nomination has created numerous fractures within the GOP, so trying to unify voters around defeating a common enemy might be easier than unifying around Trump. The biggest hit on the second day was Chris Christie's mock trial of Clinton, which drew screams of "Guilty!" and chants of "Lock her up!" from the delegates. Hammering at Clinton's flaws and alleged lawbreaking could be the tie that binds the Republican Party together come November 2.
People want specific proposals for economic growth—the focus on Clinton makes it seem like the GOP doesn't have any. House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke for 12 minutes, but only mentioned Trump twice. "Speaker after speaker makes the case against [Clinton], not the one for Trump]," Bruni wrote. This convention is a four-day-long opportunity to tell the American people what Donald Trump can do for them—couldn't all the air time spent chanting "Lock her up!" be better used to lay out a clear Republican agenda for the nation?
But some viewers applauded the focus on Clinton— Chris Christie's mock trial of her was the highlight of the evening for many.
Painting Clinton as a felon who endangers American interests could be the GOP's most effective strategy.
Though the mainstream media might be aghast, mock trials of Clinton could be just what the party should do to turn out the base.