Every four years, American democracy turns into a celebration when the two main parties hold their national conventions. This is a formality to elect the presidential candidate, filled with applause and a sea of flags and red, white and blue rosettes.
The party’s platform gets approved, and its long-term leaders praise the virtues of the presidential candidate—whose speech launches a crucial segment of the race to the White House, with full support from the party.
That’s what happens during a normal cycle.
However, this time in politics isn’t normal; it’s unprecedented in the country’s political history.
During the Republican National Convention (RNC) that began on Monday in Cleveland, the party was unable to show a united façade.
Facing loud protests, the organizers rejected an attempt from Trump’s opponents to change the rules so that delegates don’t have to support him.
The original rules were approved by acclamation, while opponents screamed in protest and walked out.
The party’s patriarchs, including two ex-presidents and two ex-presidential candidates, faced with the dilemma of supporting Trump or criticizing him from the podium, simply didn’t attend. Instead, Trump brought his wife.
The Republican Party didn’t emerge from its deep crisis—a crisis that started years ago but has been worsened by Trump’s candidacy.
While that was happening, outside the convention there was a “massive but peaceful march that was anti-Trump, pro-immigrant, anti-hatred and anti-police abuse,” according to Pilar Marrero, our special correspondent.
There was more uproar and demonstrations inside the convention than outside.
The campaign insisted on its rabble-rousing message, appealing with its message of firmness and power, and a promise to return to the good times based on the theme of “law and order.”
It expects to compete for the country’s presidency with the same message of intolerance with which Trump won the primaries.
That is why what we saw during the first day of the RNC is a very different party than the one from four years ago: more extreme, more intolerant and more divided.