Top Takeaways from the GOP Convention

GSPM Interim Director Lara Brown provides a recap of what happened in Cleveland.

GSPM Interim Director Lara Brown shares highlights from the RNC.
July 25, 2016

The Republican National Convention wrapped up last week, with Donald Trump formally accepting the GOP nomination for president on Thursday. There were plenty of newsworthy moments during the four-day event and below, Graduate School of Political Management's Interim Director Lara Brown discusses her top takeaways and what they mean for the future of the Trump campaign and Republican Party. 

Paul Ryan’s Call for Unity

Speaker Paul Ryan gave the most hopeful speech of the convention. He offered Republicans a platform they could run on and a vision for the party. It was unfortunate that he wasn't the lead-in to prime time on the VP's night on Wednesday. Had that night had Mr. Ryan, the VP nominee Mike Pence and Eric Trump, it would have likely been the compelling, hopeful and unifying night the GOP needed. In short, Mr. Trump's campaign, knowing that he would not be endorsing, should have put Ted Cruz on Tuesday night, when attendance was likely to be light—Tuesday nights are usually the quietest nights of the convention.

The Trump Family’s Two Cents

The Trump family did their job. They helped flesh out Mr. Trump as a person. They helped provide a sense of depth and history. That said, Colony Capital CEO Tom Barrack gave, other than Trump’s daughter Ivanka, the best speech on this front. His story about the two going to watch a fight, and Mr. Trump caring about one of his staffers at the hotel was both touching and revealing.

The Ted Cruz Incident

Ted Cruz gave an extraordinary speech on liberty, constitutionalism and the history of the Republican Party. It was unfortunate. Had he simply said, "vote for Republicans up and down the ticket," and omitted the line about "vote for your conscience," he would have been able to exit the arena to far fewer boos. In other words, his choice of phrasing was particularly upsetting because it had been a rallying cry for the "#neverTrump" supporters, and he played into that dynamic.

Frankly, if he didn't want to endorse Mr. Trump, then he should not have gone. He should have done what others did, which was step off the stage, stay away from the limelight, and let the circus that is this cycle pass by. There will be plenty of time after the election to seek vindication for the position (not supporting Mr. Trump) he has chosen to take.  

The Road Ahead for Donald Trump

Mr. Trump's speech was ominous and foreboding. While he and his campaign believe that he is only reflecting the mood of the American electorate, he is once again playing to people's worst fears and preying on their vulnerabilities. He offers himself up as a savior who is willing to make every sacrifice imaginable for the people, but this is precisely how the most notorious rulers in history have gleaned unrivaled power and wrought havoc on world affairs. His speech only solidified his reputation as a demagogue.