Dispatches From Cleveland: Day 4

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

Texas delegates watch Senator Ted Cruz address the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 20, 2016. 

HAROLD MEYERSON

Boos for Cruz

Day Three of Donald Trump’s convention has come and gone, and we have already seen two unplanned disruptions the likes of which hadn’t visited the GOP since its uproarious Goldwater Convention of 1964. On Monday afternoon, Ted Cruz’s delegates booed and shouted so loudly after they lost their fight to change the convention rules that the party chairman left the stage and the proceedings ground to a halt. Last night, as it became clear that Cruz would not conclude his speech to the delegates with a Trump endorsement, Trump’s delegates all but booed him off the stage.

Maybe this is what happens when Republicans abruptly shift course, as they did in ’64 and as they’re doing today. When the GOP takes a radically new direction, all hell breaks loose.

In ’64, a party that had been dominated by moderate Eastern elites, friendly to civil rights and even resigned to living with unions, personified by such big-spending governors as Nelson Rockefeller (of New York), George Romney (Michigan) and William Scranton (Pennsylvania), was upended by the triumph of Barry Goldwater. The Arizona senator had voted against the Civil Rights bill earlier that year, railed against government and unions, cozied up to Southern segregationists, and declined to denounce far-right conspiracy theorists who believed that many of the nation’s leading centrists were actually Communist agents. Read More.

 

ADELE M. STAN

Ted Cruz Pours Gasoline on the Trumpster Fire

One of the best speeches you’re likely to hear in the quest for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination was delivered on Wednesday from the podium of the 2016 Republican National Convention by Ted Cruz, who, of the 16 defeated contenders in the primaries, came the closest to winning the prize that was ultimately claimed by Donald J. Trump.

In the battle for national attention, Trump has few rivals who can come close to beating him. Ted Cruz, the U.S. senator from Texas, proved with his speech that, like the Republican presidential nominee, he knows how to grab the spotlight by breaking form. 

On a night that was to have shone a light on Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, the party’s vice presidential nominee, Cruz blocked the view with a well-crafted speech that pointedly contained no endorsement of the party’s new standard-bearer. Cruz used his primetime spot to masterfully touch on the convention’s themes—love for law enforcement, contempt for Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton—in softer language than that used by other convention speakers. Read More.

 

AMANDA TEUSCHER

Immigration Activists Speak Out in Cleveland

Fear of illegal immigration has dominated the Republican National Convention this week, but outside the high fences and concrete barricades that surround Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, Latino and immigrant advocates have been making their voices heard.

A high point for immigrant advocates came Wednesday, when hundreds of activists gathered for a visually dramatic “Wall Off Trump” demonstration. Draped in sheets painted with red bricks, activists formed a human wall of their own, linking arms and chanting pro-immigration slogans.

It was a satirical rebuke to Trump’s campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and to make Mexico pay for it. The demonstration, which drew broad media coverage, pushed back against the anti-immigrant rhetoric inside the arena, particularly in the speeches delivered Monday night, when the theme was “Make America Safe Again.” Read More.

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