People mill on the floor before the start of the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The Staging Is Off

“Republicans have spent too much time trying to sell Trump to their own delegates and have yet to even try to sell him to the American public at large.”

The thing the GOP has always had going for it at the conventions is that their stages are always cooler than the Democrats. It has been that way ever since I can remember watching conventions, which began for me in 1984. They do a very good job. It’s funny because the Democrats are the party of Hollywood, but the Democrats always do overkill and it translates poorly. The simpler GOP stages translate far better to television.

While the stage is awesome, the staging of this convention so far is really off.

On the first night of the convention, Donald Trump impressed even me, a critic, with his entrance and his wife gave the best speech of the night. But why put Rudy Giuliani in the 9pm hour? The networks are not tuning in except from 10pm to 11pm. The party put Melania Trump in the 10pm hour followed by General Flynn and Senator Joni Ernst. But the crowd started to disappear after Trump and Flynn gave such a terrible speech that Ernst had no audience.

The GOP missed an opportunity to have a captive audience for the full hour with Giuliani and Trump.

Then there was last night. Chris Christie gave one heck of an indictment against Hillary Clinton. It should have and could have been in the 10pm hour. It is amazing that after Chris Christie gimped himself up and put on his own ball gag in the name of Trumpism, he got pushed out of prime time by an avocado farmer, an off message Ben Carson, and “Muslims for Trump” supporter. Christie should have been in prime time, not Carson.

Tiffany Trump too should have been in prime time, which is 10pm to 11pm when we are talking conventions. Christie, Miss. Trump, and Donald Trump, Jr. could have dominated the 10pm hour. They all crushed it.

But only Trump, Jr. was there, preceded by the manager of the Trump winery who filtered in just after 10pm.

The staging of this convention is off. The stage may be awesome, but the arrangement of speakers keeps missing big opportunities. I may be no fan of Donald Trump, but I am a Republican and multi-decade observer of conventions of both parties. The Democrats are not going to make these programming flaws and will make the most of every minute of the one hour on the networks.

Republicans have spent too much time trying to sell Trump to their own delegates and have yet to even try to sell him to the American public at large. In the time they have allotted to do it on national television, they are dropping the ball. It is unfortunate.

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Erick Erickson

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