They reduced the White House to a stage set for a political convention, which had never been done before. Had it never been done because all previous presidents were unimaginative? Why, no. It had never been done because they had some class. By tradition and long custom the two parties are political constructs that exist outside and apart from the peoples’ house. Maintaining the boundary protected that house’s standing as a place higher than politics to which all have recourse. “I fly from petty tyrants to the throne.”

Republicans will see the civic sin of this when the Democrats do it, as they will. For now they say, “Huh, it’s all politics there anyway.” It is, pretty much. But it’s healthy to pretend otherwise. “Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.” You’ll miss that tribute when it’s fully gone.

Some speakers decried elitist-insider nepotism. Others introduced the Trump children.

We are not a third-rate banana republic but at the moment we’re imitating one.

The president’s leadership in the coronavirus epidemic was lauded as timely and visionary. This is the big lie mentioned above. He denied the threat, lied with an almost pleasing abandon, especially about testing, and when forced to focus held bumbling daily briefings that only made things worse.

It was a mistake to insist it was a success. That ship has sunk.