I have seen some stupid things at political conventions over the years. Much like a get together with in-laws after a couple bottles of scotch have been downed, the party atmosphere can get the better of the attendees. Meeting other activists who share a similar goal is likely to partake in a little hyperbole. Additionally, the party cannot be blamed for the behavior of every random individual in attendance, but surely it must stand by the comments made by its primetime speakers?
I had previously thought the 2004 Presidential Election was the most contentious in my lifetime, but looking back at that season’s convention highlights, it seems rather tame compared to what has transpired in Ohio.
Delegates in the crowd below began to yell: “Lock her up! Locker her up! Lock her up!”
Christie paused for several seconds at it spread throughout the room.
“Alright, alright. We’re getting there. Give me a few more minutes, we’ll get there,” Christie said, and continued his remarks.
The chant was first heard the night before during a speech by Retired Lt. General Mike Flynn said: “We do not need a reckless president who believes she is above the law.”
“Lock her up, that’s right,” Flynn said. “Lock her up.”
Mind you, crass political buttons and signs are always present to some degree at events of this nature. I do recall seeing some Democrats in 2004 with signs that read “Two terms for Bush: one in the White House, one in jail!” but this was hardly the official message of the party. While John Kerry’s “Reporting for Duty” slogan was hokey, it was a far cry from the unofficial-official slogan used at the 2016 Republican Convention: “Lock Her Up!”. With the party in disarray, with little agreement as to what “Make America Great Again” actually looks like, what seems to bind the party (including its official prime-time speakers) is the belief that the opposing candidate should be jailed.
This is the Party of Trump, and a sign of the illiberal direction the Republicans have embraced with Donald as its king. A party that publicly calls for its challenger to arrested, just as practiced in Iran, Maldives, Venezuela and Russia.
This is a moment in the Republican Party’s history that it will not recover from until the forces of Trump are trounced.