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Harold Meyerson summarizes the Republicans’ two-track convention

“The convention is now clearly barreling down two very different tracks,” he writes. “The first is aimed at inflaming Trump’s base …. The other track appeals to those who yearn for the kinder, gentler Republican Party ….”

First lady Melania Trump delivering her live address during the 2020 Republican National Convention from the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday.
First lady Melania Trump delivering her live address during the 2020 Republican National Convention from the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

I’d like to share a brilliant summary of the somewhat schizophrenic quality of the Republican convention, written by Harold Meyerson of the American Prospect:

The convention is now clearly barreling down two very different tracks. The first is aimed at inflaming Trump’s base and those susceptible to his racist, nativist appeals. For those militia-heads yearning for civil war, Trump’s son Eric sounded the tocsin last night. America, he noted, had “defeated fascism, defeated communism, and in 68 days will defeat the radical left,” which has seized whole quadrants of Joe Biden’s mind.

The other track appeals to those who yearn for the kinder, gentler Republican Party of yore — mythic though it may largely be. (Recall that George H.W. Bush, who promised such a party, also deployed the racist Willie Horton ad to defeat Michael Dukakis in 1988.) For those who seek signs of sensitivity from the Trumpified Republicans, the party rolled out its sole sensitivity spokesperson last night: Trump’s wife Melania.

If these two strategies coexist only uneasily, well, a campaign whose standard-bearer is down by ten points is in no condition to be hemmed in by consistency. Like Walt Whitman (in this if nothing else), Trump’s Republicans unabashedly contradict themselves. My favorite contradiction of the evening came from Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez’s depiction of life under Joe Biden, who would lead us, she said, down ‘the dark road of chaos and government control.’ The specters of wild riots and authoritarian regimes can each be invoked, but not if they’re bound together.

The full Meyerson piece is here.

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And, for those who don’t always read the comment threads, I wanted to highlight a treasure that Ray Schoch found from 1940 and offered as a comment under my post of this morning. It’s from Henry Wallace, who served as FDR’s vice president during his second term, when he made the comment below. (He had to be dropped for the fourth term, because he was viewed as a lefty, which is how we got Harry Truman.) Said Wallace, in the New York Times, in 1944:

The really dangerous American fascist … is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

They claim to be superpatriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective, toward which all their deceit is directed, is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjugation.