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Day Two of the Republican Convention Was Meandering and Unfocused

July 20, 2016, 2:58 AM UTC

At least there was no plagiarism.

While the first day of the Republican National Convention certainly had some serious problems — notably the afternoon session, where the party was demonstrably split on whether to have a roll call vote on approving the party’s rules package — the primetime portion of the convention was razor sharp. It focused strongly on security with a three-pronged approach: securing the border, securing the streets through law enforcement, and securing the country internationally through a strong military.

The second night, by contrast, didn’t have that focus. The theme of the night was supposed to be “Make America Work Again,” with speakers talking about the economy and how the Trump candidacy would bolster both. There were a few speakers who kept to that theme. The first primetime speaker, UFC Chairman Dana White, talked about how Trump helped him build his business from a niche sport to a global brand. Small businessman Andy Wist talked about how Trump supports small business, albeit in vague terms.

Most of the rest of the night, though, was a hodgepodge of typical conservative talking points. Sharon Day, the co-chair of the Republican National Committee, talked about Benghazi. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, was roundly booed by his own party. Gov. Asa Hutchison of Arkansas issued boilerplate criticism of Hillary Clinton, as did former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

There was, overall, little in the way of economic discussion. To be fair, it is difficult to whip delegates into a frenzy talking about economic policy, especially compared with foreign policy and terrorism. But unlike the first night, which had speeches that built on one another to a common end, the speeches on Tuesday night did not seem to have anything to unify them.

One of the brighter spots of was Chris Christie, who gave a strong “attack dog” speech, repeatedly slamming Clinton and getting the crowd to chant “Guilty!” to every question he asked about the presumptive Democratic nominee.


The themes for nights three and four are “Make America First Again” and “Make America One Again,” both of which seem to have more promise for a coherent evening.