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Updated 8:00 PM |

What Went Down On Day Two Of The Republican Convention

Filed under 2016 Election


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Micah Cohen 11:14 PM Two Days Down, Two Days Left

That’s a wrap on Day 2 of the 2016 Republican National Convention. (We’ll be back here live-blogging tomorrow night.)

If you didn’t watch the convention, you can experience it all in order by starting at the bottom of this live blog and scrolling up. But if you have other commitments, here are a few highlights:

  • Donald Trump became the official Republican presidential nominee;
  • “Dump Trump” officially died;
  • Nate made a word cloud;
  • Donald Trump Jr.’s speech got rave reviews;
  • The Day 2 speakers spent a lot more time bashing Clinton than building up Trump;
  • That was especially true for Chris Christie;
  • Paul Ryan tried to soothe movement conservatives;
  • The delegates in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena weren’t enamored of the early speeches.

Good night, everyone!

Ritchie King 11:06 PM

As many have pointed out on social media (and on this live blog), little airtime was dedicated to the ostensible theme of tonight’s program: “Make America Work Again.” Here’s a quick and dirty attempt to quantify what the speakers talked about instead of the economy:

Hillary 87
Clinton 70
America 60
Trump 59
Donald 59
President 51
Know 49
Year 46
American 44
Country 37
Work 37
Just 35
People 33
Women 33
Want 27
Make 27
Time 27
Life 26
State 26
Government 25
Business 25
One 25
Job 24
Way 24
Republican 24
The most frequently used words during tonight’s speeches

Based on prepared speech text

Farai Chideya 11:04 PM

To piggyback on what Harry just said, I interviewed a delegate today who said, “I don’t hate immigrants, but I fear them.” We’ll package some of our delegate interviews for future viewing.

Harry Enten 11:04 PM

The final speaker tonight was Muslim-American. It’s noteworthy that a lot of Republicans aren’t exactly comfortable with Muslims. According to a June Quinnipiac University poll, just 32 percent of Republicans were comfortable with the idea of a Muslim vice president; 65 percent of Republicans were uncomfortable with the idea.

Farai Chideya 11:00 PM

“The Democrats offer up a woman who when she had a chance to stand up for women didn’t do so,” Kimberlin Brown said of Clinton, raising a line of argument about whether Clinton was anti-feminist or anti-woman when she stood by her husband after his infidelity. Brown, an actor and farmer, made several appeals directly to women, even saying there would be a time for a first female president, but it shouldn’t be Clinton. She also spoke about how imports are undermining the fortunes of American avocado growers. In addition to the imports, however, California growers are also facing drought conditions that may be far more significant to the fruit’s future.

Harry Enten 10:58 PM

I finally found a poll involving avocados. According to a 2013 CBS News poll, just 15 percent of Americans said their favorite food to eat while watching the Super Bowl was guacamole and chips. That was fourth behind chicken wings, pizza, and potato chips and pretzels. Only hot dogs, at 2 percent, were a less popular choice.

Ben Casselman 10:57 PM

Fun fact: The California Avocado Commission, a trade group, has called on Congress to pass immigration reform allowing farmers to bring in guest workers from Mexico.

Twitter 10:52 PM

Clare Malone 10:49 PM

An interesting item that popped up on the Twitter wire from Reuters: In a closed-door meeting with Republican donors in Cleveland, Chris Christie said the campaign was compiling a list of federal employees it would fire if Trump were elected president. Reuters obtained recordings made of the meeting.

“As you know from his other career, Donald likes to fire people,” Christie said. “One of the things I have suggested to Donald is that we have to immediately ask the Republican Congress to change the civil service laws. Because if they do, it will make it a lot easier to fire those people.”

Might be some worried folks in the D.C. metropolitan area reading the internet tonight …

Ben Casselman 10:47 PM

There’s been lots of snark on Twitter (I may have participated) about the lack of economic discussion on a night supposedly dedicated to jobs. (The theme of the night is “Make America Work Again.”) But that may not be bad strategy on the part of Republicans. Sure, many Americans are uneasy about the economy, and there’s deep-set economic anxiety among certain groups and in certain parts of the country. But the economy is in pretty decent shape overall — unemployment is below 5 percent — and most Americans are actually pretty positive about their individual financial situations. And the closer we get to the election, the less likely it is that we’ll see a major economic meltdown before Americans go to the polls.

Farai Chideya 10:45 PM

A Code Pink protester carrying a sign that said “No Racism, No Hate” was quite literally in a tug of war over her banner with attendees, who blocked her sign eventually with American flags.

Micah Cohen 10:44 PM

What words have been spoken most often tonight? Well, Nate made a word cloud (as Nate said, “hopefully the FiveThirtyEight graphics team is sound asleep.”):

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 10.39.03 PM
Farai Chideya 10:42 PM Coal Is Complicated

Coal was the seam running through Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s speech tonight — specifically, linking President Obama and Clinton as allies in a war against not only the coal industry but the people of her state of West Virginia and the Appalachian region broadly. It reminded me that the hero of “The Hunger Games” comes from District 12, a poor district of hard-working miners whose labor does not benefit them. They spend many nights in the dark. “We know that she will double down on the war on coal,” Capito said of Clinton.

Coal is a contested industry at the intersection of environment and economics. This year’s Republican Party platform declares coal a clean energy source. But the coal industry, regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has launched a series of enforcement lawsuits, is also going through a spate of bankruptcies due in part to aging, hard-to-retrofit plants.

“President Obama arrogantly proclaimed he would slow the rise of the oceans,” said Capito, decrying his actions as “ill-informed … and unconstitutional.” Although her speech was focused on nearly a single issue, it speaks to a broader question of how to employ people in industries that are economically — and in this case, environmentally — challenged and challenging.

Harry Enten 10:39 PM

Some liberals may laugh at the constant Republican knocking of political correctness, but Republicans are speaking to Americans. According to a December CBS News poll, 55 percent of Americans think political correctness is dangerous. Moreover, nearly 70 percent of Republicans, like Ben Carson, agree that it’s dangerous.

Nate Silver 10:33 PM

Just got a transcript of tonight’s remarks. The scoreboard: “Clinton” was mentioned 79 times and “Trump” 61 times. Variations on “work” or “working,” the alleged theme of the evening, were mentioned 48 times.

10:32 PM

The announcer introduced Sen. Shelley Moore Capito as “the senator from West Virginia.” But there’s another senator from West Virginia, Democrat Joe Manchin. He’s exactly why Democrats need to run up the score in the Senate in 2016 to have a chance of keeping it in 2018: That year, five Democratic senators will be up for re-election in states Mitt Romney carried in 2012, including Manchin.

Nate Silver 10:30 PM

The audience here seems to decide in the first 30 seconds about whether a speaker is worth their attention or not — they’re mostly tuning out Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, for instance, even though she’s delivering a reasonably effective speech that has some Clinton-bashing.

That’s one consequence of a lack of star power — without the name recognition, the viewer won’t give you as much time to capture their attention. There also hasn’t been much use of call-and-response — with the major exception of Christie — another way to get the crowd involved.

Ben Casselman 10:29 PM

West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito goes hard after Obama and Clinton for their attacks on the coal industry. Both Democrats have made comments that make them easy for coal miners to hate. And environmental policies have doubtless added to the industry’s challenges. But the biggest problem for coal miners in West Virginia isn’t bureaucrats in Washington — it’s natural-gas drillers in Texas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. The fracking-driven boom in gas production has driven down natural-gas prices, making coal much less competitive as an source of electrical power.

Twitter 10:28 PM

10:26 PM

When Shelley Moore Capito won re-election to Congress in 2002, she became the first Republican to win re-election to Congress from West Virginia since her father in the 1960s. Today, there isn’t a single Democrat in the entire U.S. House delegation from West Virginia. Moore Capito easily won election to the Senate in 2014, and Trump is heavily favored to win in the state in November.

Nate Silver 10:20 PM

A hearty cheer here when Donald Trump Jr. said his father won’t have to use “a focus group or data analytics” to form his opinions. He’s not a FiveThirtyEight reader, we’re assuming.

Ben Casselman 10:19 PM

Donald Trump Jr. says our immigration system is hurting mobility and holding back low-wage workers. That’s a somewhat more nuanced argument than the one his father often makes. Economists are in broad agreement that immigration is good for the economy as a whole. But there’s a more heated debate over how low-skilled immigration — a category that includes a large share of undocumented workers — affects less-educated native-born workers. Some research suggests that when large numbers of relatively unskilled workers enter the country, legally or illegally, that can push down wages for citizens without a college degree. (Other researchers dispute this conclusion.)

On the other hand, immigrants are significantly more likely than native-born Americans to start businesses. That entrepreneurial spirit is a powerful force for upward mobility.

Farai Chideya 10:18 PM Trump Jr. Is Building A Narrative

Conventions are always about the creation of narrative. Donald Trump Jr. called his father “a boy from Queens” who changed the New York skyline. Although that is technically true, Trump was hardly a working-class boy done good (unlike, say, other famous Queens boys like The Ramones or even a middle-class native, Paul Simon).

The candidate’s father, Fred, was one of the wealthiest real estate developers of his day in New York. As The Washington Post put it, “Fred Trump was at one point one of the richest men in America after constructing apartment complexes for the middle-class in Brooklyn and Queens. Donald Trump’s insight was to cross the river and start building in Manhattan, a much more prominent stage for the publicity-conscious would-be billionaire.” Fred also substantially funded Donald Trump Sr.’s forays into real estate. Thus the “Queens boy” narrative is true, technically, but the nuance implies a very different relationship to capital and self-made success than the history shows.

Later in his speech, Trump Jr. said, “We’re the only children of billionaires as comfortable in a D-10 Caterpillar” tractor (see below) as a fancy car. The narrative of aspiration — touting credentials as a billionaire family — is being combined here with an up-by-the-bootstraps narrative that is not firmly grounded. But it’s a compelling mix of all-American stories to appeal to an electorate anxious about jobs and the American Dream.

Nate Silver 10:16 PM

In the hall, Donald J. Trump Jr. has gotten the second-best reception tonight, after Christie. Better than Tiffany Trump, who got good reviews on social media but didn’t capture the attention as much here.

Nate Silver 10:15 PM

One possible risk to the drag-Clinton-down strategy I mentioned earlier is that Clinton’s unfavorables are possibly a little bit softer than Trump’s. According to Gallup, for example — note, this was before the recent round of email-related problems for Clinton — 33 percent of Americans have a very unfavorable view of Clinton, and 42 percent have one of Trump. Also, one source of unfavorables for Clinton is Bernie Sanders voters, who could potentially come around to her later on.

10:13 PM

You’re hearing a lot of red meat at the Republican convention so far. It shouldn’t be surprising, given who is probably watching. According to the University of Virginia’s Geoffrey Skelley, viewership on the more conservative-leaning Fox News was much higher during the Republican convention than the Democratic convention in 2012. Meanwhile, viewership on the more liberal-leaning MSNBC was much higher during the Democratic convention than the Republican convention in 2012.

10:03 PM

When the speaker list came out, I questioned why the general manager of Trump Winery was on the list. In many ways, Kerry Woolard’s testimonial to the turnaround of the winery is (aside from free advertising) a counter-narrative to the questions about Trump University and Trump’s bankruptcies. Perhaps it’s a  picture painted on a smaller canvas, but Woolard made a case for Trump as an ethical businessman even as he faces questions about his practices.

10:03 PM

I was confused by the order of speakers last night. Prime time closed with a poorly received speech from Michael Flynn. Tonight, the people watching on the major television networks were greeted by the general manager of Trump Winery. It’s another interesting choice.

9:58 PM

It’s pretty clear that Chris Christie will be in line for a big role if Trump wins, but what’s Christie’s future if Trump loses? As Harry implied, given his abysmal favorability back home, Christie may not have any real future in New Jersey politics. So it’s easy to imagine him becoming a Republican analog of someone like Wendy Davis of Texas — people who take a stand, become a hero to some in their party’s national base, but are confined to national interest group politics because they lack a realistic path to elected office in their home state.


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