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Opinion | Republican Convention: Best and Worst Moments From Trump’s Big Night

Peter Wehner The Trump campaign has settled on its theme, which is as subtle as a jackhammer. Trump is all that stands between “the forgotten man” and carnage: death, darkness, violence, riots, anarchy, mayhem, cultural revolution, the death of God. Democrats may be infuriated by this line of attack, but they’d be fools to ignore the danger it poses to them. The through line of this week was lies, the bolder the better. The purpose is to disorient Americans. Trump can win only if Americans enter his hall of mirrors. An awful lot hinges on them declining the offer.

Will Wilkinson The Republican Party is all-in on the message that rioting, looting and violence have broken out in Democratic cities across the country on Donald Trump’s watch, and he has been unable to do anything to rein it in … which is why Americans won’t be safe if the other guy is elected. This is an incoherent position. But once you dial into Trump’s authoritarian frequency, you grasp that the supposed root of the violent urban disorder of Republican fever dreams is that Democrats are allowed to have political authority at all. If Trump is re-elected, he might put an end to the perils of two-party rule for good.

About the authors

Jamelle Bouie, Gail Collins, Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg, Nicholas Kristof and Bret Stephens are Times columnists.

Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) is a playwright, lawyer and contributing opinion writer.

Linda Chavez, a former Reagan White House director of public liaison, is a political commentator.

Nicole Hemmer (@pastpunditry) is an associate research scholar at Columbia University and the author of “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics.”

Matt Labash, a former national correspondent at The Weekly Standard, is the author of “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader.”

Liz Mair (@LizMair), a strategist for campaigns by Scott Walker, Roy Blunt, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry, is the founder and president of Mair Strategies.

Daniel McCarthy (@ToryAnarchist) is the editor of Modern Age: A Conservative Quarterly.

Melanye Price (@ProfMTP), a professor of political science at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, is the author, most recently, of “The Race Whisperer: Barack Obama and the Political Uses of Race.”

Mimi Swartz (@mimiswartz), an executive editor at Texas Monthly, is a contributing opinion writer.

Héctor Tobar (@TobarWriter), an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine, is the author of “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free” and a contributing opinion writer.

Peter Wehner (@Peter_Wehner), a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who served in the previous three Republican administrations, is a contributing opinion writer and the author of “The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.”

Will Wilkinson (@willwilkinson), the vice president for research at the Niskanen Center, is a contributing opinion writer.

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