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Presidential Horse Race 2016: After the Republican Convention, it’s Trump’s GOP now

It’s safe to say most addresses by party nominees at their national conventions are anti-climactic. I can’t remember a single thing Mitt Romney or John McCain said during their time in the spotlight that was truly memorable or consequential. I also can’t recall what the major themes were in their campaigns, largely because there weren’t any, other than “I’m not the other guy.”

Usually by the time a nominee speaks at his convention the party is united and its members somewhat bored Trump Pencefrom attending a week’s worth of meetings and listening to four evenings’ worth of speeches.

That’s why Donald Trump’s appearance on Thursday night was so unique. It may not be for anything in particular that he said; for those of us who have been following politics closely for the past year, Trump merely restated all of the themes he’s used so many times before.

No, Trump’s address was special because it’s something everyone, Trump friend or foe alike, will long remember as the night when a true political outsider stood before a major party convention and accepted the challenge of trying to go straight from the living room to the presidency.

Knowing Trump, he probably has one heck of a living room, but that doesn’t detract from the magnitude of his accomplishment. It’s precedent setting. And if he wins in November, something is virtually guaranteed to change in Washington. That’s a happy thought.

Trump’s speech on Thursday made it clear that he’ll bring a new attitude to the White House.

Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Examiner reports, “Donald Trump cast himself Thursday night as the protector of ordinary Americans, and promised to shield them from terrorism and self-serving elites who run the government corruptly in defiance of the public good…

“It was a speech that marked out deep battlelines between the underdogs whom Trump claimed to represent and a ruling class that disdains them.”

Trump spoke for over an hour yet didn’t mention Ted Cruz or the primaries even once that I can recall. Naturally, he touched on the issues that have propelled his campaign all along, namely immigration, trade, national security and battling the “rigged” system that has prevented any meaningful governance from occurring for the past two decades.

More than anything, Trump sounded a populist note, promising to fight for the little guy against the powerful in terms of trade, protecting jobs from an invasion of illegal immigrants and our public gatherings from terrorists.

Of course Trump didn’t spare Hillary Clinton the lash, either. “After fifteen years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before.

“This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness.

“But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy. The problems we face now – poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad – will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them. A change in leadership is required to change these outcomes. Tonight, I will share with you my plan of action for America.”

Trump then turned from the past to the future, discussing at length what he plans to do starting in 2017, a point of emphasis that many of his critics have argued he’s lacked throughout the primaries.

At the heart of his message was a deep and resounding love for America and the principles that make it great, a deep sense of national pride that used to exist but has severely eroded under the liberal tyranny of Obama and the politically correct leadership of Republicans and Democrats before that.

I’m not exactly sure how many times Trump uttered the word “fight,” but if there was one constant in Trump’s address, it was his willingness to take on the powerful interests and beat them.

The entire Republican convention was set up to stress Trump’s successful life story and the grittiness he possesses to win and accomplish. It’s no secret why his four adult children and his wife all spoke of The Donald’s relentless tenacity to achieve, but also his compassion for those around him.

His children all told of his fearlessness – it’s something that defines him and inspires others. I’ve got to admit, it’s contagious.

This image of Trump is a far cry from the one we hear about in the media which seems obsessed with trying to exploit every single little opening that would confirm Trump is a sexist, racist or cruel and greedy employer.

It hasn’t worked. For those who love Trump’s spiel, they’re with him to the end. The key going forward will be to try and get the message across to the over 60 percent of people in this country who view Trump unfavorably.

I can’t help but think if people would lay their preconceived notions aside and actually look at Trump’s background and passion for America rather than his personal shortcomings, you’d have a heck of an interesting candidate.

That’s the challenge ahead.

For now, Donald Trump is the official Republican presidential nominee. Watch out America, The Donald is now on the loose and it’s his Republican Party.

(Note: There were a number of excellent speeches on Thursday night from Ivanka Trump, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and others. If you haven’t seen the entire night’s lineup, click here to view.)

It’s time Ted Cruz learned politics really is a team sport where cheering is appreciated

Just in case you might have thought Ted Cruz carelessly omitted any kind of endorsement or even verbal support for the Trump-Pence ticket during his controversial convention speech on Wednesday night, Cruz clarified his intentions on Thursday.

But not only did Cruz refuse to budge from his announced position, he added fuel to the fire.

Katie Glueck of Politico reports, “The Texas Republican delegation breakfast erupted in chaos Thursday morning as Sen. Ted Cruz explained why he was still not backing Donald Trump, even as he pledged not to vote for Hillary Clinton.

“He didn’t intend to ‘go like a servile puppy dog’ and back Trump after the nominee’s attacks on his wife and father, Cruz said in one of his many passionate remarks during the breakfasts.”

It should be noted Cruz left the door pretty wide open to eventually supporting Trump, saying he’s watching the race closely and isn’t ruling out an endorsement later on.

During his talk with the Texas delegation, Ted also stated he wasn’t going to vote for Hillary. But if he’s truly going to “vote his conscience” and it might not be for Donald Trump, who does that leave?

Is it the abortion supporting Libertarian Gary Johnson? Or leftist Green Party candidate Jill Stein? Could it be the Constitution Party candidate (I don’t even know who it is)? Write in someone? If so, maybe himself (though he did emphasize he’s still not a candidate)? Leave it blank?

Cruz’s ambiguous position and possible future endorsement is little comfort to confused conservatives now. All that was evident from Cruz’s time in Cleveland is a bitter former presidential candidate who’s carrying an enormous grudge and isn’t showing any signs of getting over it soon.

Naturally, the news regarding Cruz’s Trump-snub was nearly universally negative, with only the smoldering ruins of #NeverTrump and its desperate remnants providing some whimpers of approval.

Even Newt Gingrich, who tried to defend Cruz’s actions on Wednesday night, was sounding a remarkably different tune on Thursday.

Mark Hensch of The Hill reports Gingrich told radio host Mike Gallagher, “’Conventions are held in order to nominate somebody to win the presidency,’ he said. ‘They’re not held to be a psychodrama for somebody.’

“’To show up, it’s like going to your neighbor’s garden party so you can pour acid on the petunias,’ added Gingrich, who was among the contenders for Trump's VP. ‘If this is what he was going to do, he shouldn’t have come. He could have played John Kasich.’”

Being compared to John Kasich is in nobody’s best interest. Ever.

It’s clear Cruz severely miscalculated with his Cleveland speech. Not only did he alienate most of the people who supported his presidential run, he provided fodder for those who already didn’t like him to say, “See, I told you he was just a petty, selfish, ambitious idiot.”

Wishy-washy establishment Rep. Peter King of New York, who is always good for a dig at Cruz, said the Texas senator no longer has “any friends anywhere.”

Lastly on Cruz, in his remarks to the Texans, Cruz said politics isn’t like a team sport where you put on colored jerseys and cheer, but I heartily disagree.

One’s own principles are fine in the “individual medley” of the primaries but politics is most definitely a team sport once a nominee is determined, Ted. If you’re a politician you have to rely on your teammates to win the game. If you’re off on a tangent telling everyone to “vote their conscience,” which includes NOT voting for your team, you’re a loser, one way or another.

You can’t field a football team with five players and you can’t win an election without a plurality or a majority. If politics isn’t a team sport, I don’t know what it is.

Here’s hoping that someday soon Cruz will come to his senses and make some sort of public contrition that makes things right between him and the people who put their trust, money and votes in him these past months.

Carrying personal grudges is fine for most people, but when you’re running a political campaign it’s time to let bygones be bygones and move to the future. For as brilliant as he is, Ted Cruz appears to have failed to learn that lesson.

Mike Pence places the Supreme Court at the heart of the 2016 election

With Ted Cruz’s political career imploding right before our eyes on Wednesday night, it was hard to concentrate on the other speeches being delivered after Cruz’s enormous twenty-minute long faux pas.

As I wrote yesterday, Eric Trump delivered another nicely crafted Trump family speech. Then the multi-talented Callista Gingrich introduced her husband Newt, who succinctly synopsized the case against Hillary Clinton and for the ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

Finally, Pence himself took the stage and salvaged the evening, speaking eloquently of his humble background, Christian beliefs and personal motivations for accepting Donald Trump’s invitation to join him for the run all the while providing an overview of why the Republican ticket deserves a chance to preside over the executive branch after eight disastrous years of Obama and Clinton.

In the process, Pence talked poignantly on the Supreme Court.

Steve Ertelt of LifeNews reports, “Pence understood well the biggest issue at stake for pro-life voters — whether another four decades of abortion are yet to come.

“’As this election approaches, every American should know that while we’re filling the presidency for the next four years, this election will define the Supreme Court for the next 40,’ he added. ‘For the sake of the sanctity of life… We must ensure the next president is Donald Trump.’”

During his address, Newt Gingrich also talked about the Supreme Court. I believe judicial appointments are not only an important issue, I think they are the issue as so wonderfully articulated by Mike Pence. We can talk all we want about what Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton plan to do or not do in the next four years if elected, but what is really at stake is the very foundation of constitutional law in the United States.

Pence’s 40 years may be too few. It could be forever, as the America as we know it will fade away with each succeeding erosion of our constitutional freedoms under a tyrannical outcome-oriented Court that completely ignores the will of the People.

For that reason, I also think there are enormous fights ahead either way. Here’s a prediction: the Supreme Court wars are coming regardless of who wins this election.

If Trump wins I’m guessing the Democrats will give him a reasonable pass on his first nominee, seeing as he or she will be replacing Antonin Scalia. As Scalia’s was one of the solid conservative votes, Dems will put up a good fight and ask numerous probing questions of the nominee in the Judiciary Committee to try and find a weakness in order to smear that person mercilessly and ruin their reputation like they did with Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

But ultimately they’ll let the nomination go through, probably after a lengthy filibuster and extracting massive concessions from Trump in other areas.

Should Justice Anthony Kennedy (the “swing” vote on the court) or one of the liberals step down or die in the next few years, however, pandemonium will break out. If you think the “sit-ins” in the House over gun control were ludicrous, just imagine how fiercely the left is going to defend their Supreme Court votes. What they can’t win at the ballot box even with their constituencies voting so heavily for big government autocrats, they’ll have to win through the courts.

With lifetime appointments, those people (like Ruth Bader Ginsburg) will likely be there for decades. Pence is right. This isn’t about four years, it’s about 40 – or more.

Judicial appointments are the number one reason why Ted Cruz needs to get down off his personal soapbox and commit to supporting the Trump-Pence ticket. Maybe Mike Pence and Cruz need to have a good chat on the matter and Ted may soften his tone a bit towards this year’s election.

Hard as it is to believe, Hillary is still in the presidential race

Finally this week, after all the hoopla and wall-to-wall media coverage of the Republican Convention, some may find it difficult to fathom having to do it all again next week, only with Crooked Hillary and the equally sleazy Democrats taking center stage.

No doubt the mainstream media talkers will be happy to be in more familiar territory among their own liberal kind.

To gear up for the upcoming fight in the fall, Hillary’s campaign has revived an old tactic for Democrats in trying to distract people from her own criminal dealings and scare Americans out of considering Donald Trump at the same time.

Jessie Hellmann of The Hill reports, “A pro-Hillary Clinton super-PAC is digging into the archives to attack Donald Trump on national security, launching a variation of the 3 a.m. call ad used to attack Barack Obama in 2008.

“In ‘Dangerous President,’ a red phone rings continuously while a President Trump sits idly by on Twitter.”

You get the idea… The ad is actually pretty funny, good for a laugh even if you’re on the Trump side. It kind of reminded me of the Ted Cruz spots from earlier this year highlighting some of Trump’s weaknesses or something you’d see on Saturday Night Live in between skits.

But beyond the ad’s obvious humor and poking fun at Trump’s fondness for Twitter and even his hair, you can’t help but think we’d be much better off with Trump in the White House to take that 3 a.m. phone call rather than Crooked Hillary, who could just as easily be depicted emailing on her own private server at that hour.

I can see the ads now, can’t you? The Democrats should be more careful in what they lampoon, don’t you think?

Sources say Hillary will be revealing her VP choice today. Something tells me no matter who it is, the announcement won’t generate nearly the sensation in comparison to what we’ve just witnessed from four Republican days in Cleveland.

It was a week to remember…and now there’s an election to go out and win.

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