Donald Trump’s insurgent campaign has often been compared to that of Barry Goldwater’s far-right run in 1964. The speakers featured on Trump’s “Make America First Again” night would have fit right in at a Republican convention held a generation ago–though there are no records of Goldwater delegates calling for the execution of Lyndon Johnson. Three different Trump advisers have called for Clinton executed or as one phrased it, “put in the firing range.” But hey, “all press is good press” in the eyes of Trump, apparently including reports of plagiarized speeches and banana republic style calls for extrajudicial political murders.
- Beneficiary of Trump’s money-for-favors past and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. While investigating Trump University for fraud, a political committee backing Bondi received a $25,000 contribution from the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Aside from the obvious conflict of interest, the donation is even more suspect as it came from Trump’s charity. Charities are prohibited from donating to political campaigns under federal law. In a surprise to no one, after receiving such a generous donation from the Trump Foundation, Bondi’s office coincidentally dropped the investigation against Trump University. It pays to play in Trump’s America.
- Ted Cruz may be withholding his endorsement of Trump, but the two are nearly identical when it comes to anti-choice extremism, conspiracy theory dalliances, and disdain for undocumented immigrants. In a move that drew the ire of even Senate Republicans, Cruz threatened a government shutdown over funding for Planned Parenthood. Trump has often dabbled in conspiracy theories he thought politically expedient, including insinuating that Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. But Cruz is no stranger to the tactic, often repeating the false claim that the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear could be a “transgendered leftist activist“. Cruz also joins Trump in wanting to “build that wall” and often decried President Obama’s deferred deportation of immigrant children as “illegal“.
- Trump trumps tonight’s speakers in anti-choice extremism, but Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker may be a close second. Walker has called for banning abortion in all instances, including cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake. Walker is also no fan of immigrants, agreeing with Trump that the United States should end the constitutionally enshrined principle of birthright citizenship.
- Vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence will have his first moment in the spotlight Wednesday night. Trump once bemoaned that, “Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing.” Pence elucidated the point, explaining thatworking mothers stunt the emotional growth of children. Pence, of course, came to national prominence in the wake of Indiana’s bungled “religious freedom” law which would’ve allowed business to discriminate against LGBTQ people on religious grounds. The controversial law cost Indiana up to $60 million in economic losses and permanently damaged Pence’s brand. Pence also argued that government resources shouldn’t be used to treat HIV/AIDS, but rather be funneled to organizations that, “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” In a move out of 1950’s Soviet Russia, Pence floated a government run media outlet nicknamed “Pravada on the Plains” by it’s critics. And in a final blast from the past, Pence argued that smoking really just isn’t all that bad for you. A full look at Pence’s record is available here.
- No throwback night would be complete without former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich once claimed that President Johnson “shattered the Democratic Party” by signing the Civil Rights Act. He accused Al Gore of “pandering to gays” and argued that women couldn’t serve in combat because they have, “biological problems staying in a ditch for 30 days.” Not to be outdone in the anti-immigrant arena, Newt once termed Spanish “the language of the ghetto.” Indeed, Trump’s reactionaryWednesday night spectacle wouldn’t be complete without the relic from the past that is New Gingrich.