People ask me how, given the degraded state of political discourse, I can be so confident that Trump isn't going to win. If you consider Monday night at the GOP Convention you'll have your answer. Ignore the plagiarism thing for a moment and consider that the GOP, like any party, is made up of politicians. They may be ignorant and wrong in a million ways in terms of their beliefs and positions and ideology, but nobody gets to where people like Senators, Governors, and Washington insiders without having good instincts. If these people know nothing else, they know self-preservation. And with just a handful of exceptions, they know not to get on an obviously sinking ship.
When TV viewers flip to your convention and the stands look like the third period at a minor league hockey game, it's not a good sign.
When the number of Senators willing to show their faces at their own party's convention can be counted on one hand, it's not a good sign.
When your first night's speakers lineup is a random group of nobodies there to rehash internet comment sections – Benghazi! Obama's a Muslim! Cop Lives Matter! – because no one more substantial in the party wants to appear, it's not a good sign.
When the news media spend the night talking about what went wrong with your campaign on July 18, it's not a good sign.
When the best celebrity you can get to show up is Scott Baio, it's not a good sign.
And more than anything, when your party that lost two straight presidential elections because it couldn't get anyone other than older white people to vote for the candidates decides to devote the opening night to doubling down on the message "Brown people are scary and dangerous" (as one Romney associate summarized the evening), it's not a good sign.
That's why I'm certain he's going down in flames. We already knew going into 2016 that the GOP is up against the wall in presidential elections because they struggle so much to appeal to African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, younger people, and people in urban areas. And rather than even pretending like they care to do something about that, Trump decided to hit people who are already voting for him – authority worshiping racists, basically – with a supersized dose of the message they've been getting all along: vote for me and I will get rid of all the Bad people. The people who don't belong here. The people who aren't Us.
You know how little patience I have for conspiracy theories, but last night was so bad that I found myself doing a double take on the theory that this is all a scheme Trump is executing to destroy the GOP because he's secretly a liberal. It's not true, but I can't blame people who are tempted by it. It's not entirely implausible anymore, not after what this convention is turning into.
I doubt many Republicans read this. If so, I feel sorry for you. This must really hurt to watch.