Cleveland, OHIO – Walking around the convention floor during New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s address last night, “lock her up” chants were going strong. While these were uttered during the tail end of the convention’s program with Lt. Gen Michael Flynn’s address on Monday, this was during primetime. The governor went on a tear against the former Secretary of State, offering his own indictment against her policies and asking the delegates and attendees if Clinton is guilty or not guilty as he went down a list of her failures. It was brutal.
“Lock her up” has become the de facto battle cry for the Republican National Convention. Cortney wrote how some members of the GOP are unnerved by these antics. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) tweeted that we can beat Clinton without “jumping the shark” on hoping that Clinton gets put in jail.
On CNN last night, former Cruz communications director Amanda Carpenter was actually taken aback by the chants, and disconcerted that a former U.S. Attorney—Christie—would be part of this developing convention narrative that wishes to see the candidate from the opposing party be thrown in jail. The aurora of the roundtable discussion last night was that such optics cheapens his legal credentials.
Aaron Blake of The Washington Post noted that even Christie was a bit uncomfortable with the crowd’s chants during MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning:
I think the problem is that, you know, people get -- in my party often get so angry about her that they yell and they scream and they use kind of, you know, divisive language that doesn't get to the core of my problem with her." Asked if he was referring to "lock her up," Christie said, "Right. Right."
Unless Trump is going to make America work again by making Republicans prison guards for Democrats, I don't know what the big jobs plan is.— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) July 20, 2016
.@HillaryClinton now belongs in prison? C'mon. We can make the case that she shouldn't be elected without jumping the shark.— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) July 20, 2016
The theme of last night was Make America Work Again, though it was mostly an attack on Clinton. So, for the Republicans who wanted to see more policy, sorry to say that really wasn’t in the cards last night—or any night since Trump began his presidential race. He has delivered some speeches on policy regarding energy and trade, but last night was overwhelmingly an attack Clinton night. Speaker Ryan got the crowd going with calls for unity after Trump had officially become the nominee earlier that evening, though that sense of unity emanates from the GOP’s hatred of Clinton.
Here’s the thing: from here on out—it’s going to be a bloodbath between Trump and Clinton. Both are unpopular. Both have bases of support from voters who are supporting them, not necessarily due to their position on policy, but because they can’t stand the thought of either Clinton or Trump winning in November. Yet, for all of the wrangling over lack of policy at the RNC, the Democratic National Convention shouldn’t be any different since Clinton has taken the attack Trump stance rather than offering an alternate agenda. So, if you’re going to bash Republicans for not talking policy in Cleveland, just recognize that Democrats aren’t really doing that either. They’re mocking Trump over his business deals, or calling him the most dangerous candidate for the presidency…ever.
As for the “lock her up” chants, FBI Director James Comey said that Clinton and her staff were “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information, and then opted not to indict. You can bet more than a few Republicans would be angry about that.