The biggest lesson from the Republican National Convention this week has been this: There is one towering figure who unites the party. It’s not Donald Trump; it’s not Ted Cruz; it’s not anyone named Bush, either. It’s Hillary Clinton, and she has become the final and only raison d’être for party unity. In the wake of the Cruz fiasco last night, that has become abundantly and painfully clear.
Donald Trump will accept his party’s nomination tonight, and while extolling his own qualities will no doubt spend much of his time attacking Hillary. Team Hillary wants to pre-empt that message with a walk down Memory Lane about the Republican nominee’s allegedly true feelings for her with this TV-ready spot:
The Hill doesn’t note whether and how much of a buy this will get, but suffice it to say that they didn’t cut a 30-second spot just to leave it on YouTube. Team Hillary has been spending significant money on ads, even while Team Trump has barely made a move in that direction. It might well be worth a million or two to run this on the cable networks during tonight’s events in Cleveland.
Of course, the flip side of this is that the Clintons spent years sucking up to Trump as well. They went to his wedding, and were more than happy to attempt to leverage his star power to help themselves as much as they could. Trump has already defused this argument in part by pointing this out, and using it (however improbably) to argue that only he has the standing to unravel crony politics because of his extensive knowledge of it. Don’t be too surprised if Trump spends a little time ridiculing the Clintons from those experiences in his speech tonight.
For pre-emption, though, the biggest move Hillary could make would be to name her running mate sometime prior to the prime-time start of the final night of the convention. Normally one would wait until the next morning to step on the aftermath of the speeches, though, and with this convention, a Thursday announcement could possibly step on a bad evening for Trump. Tonight’s show should be more tightly scripted than yesterday’s, however, and there might be an outside chance that Hillary and her team would prefer to troll the convention more than its aftermath.