In a Thursday post, Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall previewed the Republican convention. Based on his scrutiny of a “tentative list” of speakers “and some indication of what the program will involve,” Marshall foresaw “an oily ball of rage” featuring Donald Trump and “a hard doubling down on the red meat base Republican politics that got him here in the first place.”
Marshall was especially upset that the first night of the convention reportedly will center on “a new rehashing and re-exploitation of the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi…The Benghazi 'scandal' itself has been a four year running gob of hate and derp sticky enough to grab on to it an almost limitless number of conspiracy theories, bogus hearings and almost all the residue 'stab in the back' revanchism available on the American hard right, which is quite a lot…It is also fundamentally based on a series of lies about what happened almost four years ago.”
Also on the RNC agenda, Marshall wrote, “is what is being described as a prime time presentation detailing former President Bill Clinton's sexual history. I'm not sure if this is meant to suggest some sort of excursion into softcore pornography or a timeline or what. But it's probably best to note that just as 'Benghazi' was the scandal that failed to win the 2012 election, Bill Clinton's sex life was the one which kept losing Republicans elections through the 1990s. Of course, this is coming from a man, Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault and/or rape under oath in three separate legal proceedings by three separate women.”
Marshall concluded that Quicken Loans Arena will host four days of “relentless hammering of the things that get the base of the Republican party -- roughly 20% of the electorate [--] most fired up. Just as Trump's campaign has been a paean to White Christian America and rumblings for revenge at its passing, the 2016 GOP convention seems set to cast its eye backwards, a bridge to the 19th century.”
In an earlier post, Marshall observed that Trump’s minimal interest in ideology created an opening for staunch conservatives (e.g., Kris Kobach) to influence the party platform:
Normally, the nominee and the people around him invest a fair amount of time keeping party activists and interest groups in check, the ones who want to really pile on the red meat and extremism. The…hardcore folks want X; the nominee tussles with them and makes them settle for 1/2X. But this time, Trump doesn't care and no one is there to provide a counterbalance. He may not even know there is a platform. So instead of 1/2X it's 2x or, shall we say, XXX. It's allowed the hardest core of the right to produce what's probably the most extreme GOP platform in history.