It’s over folks. Finally. The primaries are officially signed, sealed, and delivered. As they clean up at the Wells Fargo arena in the city in which the founding fathers put quill to paper and wrote down the principles which have guided the world’s greatest experiment in republican democracy for 240 years – or slightly less if you want to get wonky about ratification and the articles of confederation – a benevolent spirit hangs over the city.

Ronald Reagan.

His shining city on a hill metaphor, his morning in America optimism, infused the rhetoric of speaker after speaker at the DNC Convention of 2016. Even as most – but certainly not all – see government once again as the solution. Rather than the problem. And more than government – the separate and equal powers forged by the founding fathers – some like the president prefer administrative fiat, weaseling it’s way down into every local school board and county.

The father of Captain Humayun Khan, Khizr Khan, could have been quoting Ted Cruz when he delivered the best line of the night, asking Trump if he had read the constitution. The distance between his inspiring and austere dignity and a sweaty Bernie supporter trying to out-chant Hillary’s troops is enormous. Only an optimistic veneer could possibly cover over their differences and present the appearance of unity.

But it is a veneer. Because America is already incredibly over-governed by an enormous and exponentially expanding welter of rules and regulations. So the optimism that draped the normative forms of the rhetoric in Philadelphia is lacking in any substance of real change that the nation is demanding in 2016. It’s substance promises even more – way more perhaps – of the same. More rules. More subsidies. More taxes.

In fact, Hillary attacked Trump on what perhaps is her worst weakness: the egotistical idea that she can produce real change through a thousand policy briefs and administrative rules. A thousand new laws and guidelines. A thousand new regulations pushing businesses to abandon efficiencies and innovate economically unsound solutions. Working with thousands of legislators around the country. She and only she. As a She. More rules. More subsidies. More taxes.

She really needs Donald Trump Jr. as her economic czar, rather than Bill. If she truly wants to release the creativity and power of America’s entrepreneurial spirit. Although perhaps if Bill could have his way, he’d be closer to Donald Jr. than to his wife. But he can’t. He’s an ex. She the man now.

So while the speeches were defiantly and righteously optimistic, the policies that came out of Philly would have made Ted Kennedy proud. Or even blush. And that’s a ways from the man whose spirit the Democrats willfully tried to invoke in Philadelphia.

In the end, Hillary didn’t even try to come to the plate and compete with the all-star heavy-hitters of rhetoric. Instead she stood on the pitcher’s mound and threw a steady, slow curve ball that tried to avoid every vulnerability of hers by admitting them. And then showing she’s listening.

America’s First Mom and Madam Steady Hand also showed her purpose in running for President of the United States of America. To defeat Donald Trump. To avoid the risks she claims he represents. And she’s had everyone from from Mayor Bloomberg to the Khan family’s father chip in, who told Trump to read the Constitution basically, as he told the story of his fallen soldier son. The family being Muslim-American of course.

Hillary should thank God that Donald Trump won the GOP nomination. She now does not have to capture in a simple, effective way why she should be president. She just has to say why he shouldn’t be president. That’s her campaign strategy from here on in.

But that means she’s working under Trump’s agenda. She’s running – in the literal sense – a reactionary campaign, responding to Trump’s provocations and tweets. As she said:

A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can’t trust with nuclear weapons.

So that’s how she will work the issue of her high negatives (as high now as Trump’s in some polls) and the lack of trust in her. She will bait Trump and say: see? he can’t be trusted!

As she wound her way through her hard-left policy planks: universal health care; increased access to abortion; free college for middle and lower class kids; higher taxes – we will follow the money is what she said – for corporations, banks, and the wealthy; trade deals especially with China that have to be changed or cancelled; climate change and the implied carbon taxes; gender issues, trans and all; and on and on … you wondered:

What would Hillary have done without Bernie or Donald in the primaries?

After her core constituency, she is appeasing Bernie supporters and appealing to both those who support Trump and those who oppose Trump on the GOP side. Any issue is worthy of her consideration. She’ll take positions on almost any side of the spectrum if she thinks it will get her to the White House again. And this time with her desk in the Oval Office. Right now that side of the issues is firmly on the left, and with a nod to populist concerns. She will nod at any concern. She has a policy paper on any issue. She is the true policy wonk. Not Bill, the great explainer.

Hillary is the status quo, because year after year, she helped build the current progressive status quo. She may have had her legions of allies and supporters paint her as the in-the-trenches change-maker, but those changes have largely been made. How much farther can you go than transgender bathrooms in every school and abortion on demand across America?

With Hillary taking her turn at the top of the status quo, America will find out.

Bernie Sanders stood stubborn and tall in the Philadelphia convention center a few hours before the DNC would gavel open the convention at the Wells Fargo arena a ways away in another part of town. The boos were showering him on stage because of his explicit expression of support for Hillary Clinton, and of the need for his army of supporters to follow him in that support.

Brothers and sisters – Bernie said, arm raised somewhere between a professor making a point in a debate, and the classic 60’s revolutionary raised fist.

Brothers and sisters – Bernie repeated, after another pause.

But the boos continued, his supporters who filled the room unwilling to make the leap with Bernie Sanders and to declare they will work for Hillary’s general election campaign.

When Sanders hit the stage hours later at the convention itself, there were was several, steady minutes of cheers and applause from his supporters, who would not let him begin to speak until they had expressed their boisterous admiration for the aging socialist. As he began his speech – sounding like the nominee of the party after a gloriously successful primary campaign – the tension was palpable. And there was only one real question:

Would they boo again? When Bernie endorsed Hillary on the convention stage?

If they did, they were few and far between. And there were plenty of Bernie supporters in the hall. Who had chanted and loudly boo’ed at various points that evening, right from the opening prayers. But Sanders with his seemingly-outdated, bludgeoning rhetoric, somehow silenced their dissent, point by lumbering point. Even if his proclaiming of the most progressive policy platform ever for a Democratic Party, left lingering doubts as to how Hillary would navigate between the screaming left wing and the pragmatic, corrupt centrists, once the convention wraps up.

Have the Bernie-ristas tired out finally?

That’s the thing. The buzz and energy in the arena seemed to come from them, and not as much from the stalwarts and supporters of Democrat identity politics crowding the place up. And Bernie threw them some meat – sorry: veggie burgers – by calling for them to vote during the roll call vote Tuesday night. Which will deal – almost certainly – with the role of Super Delegates. And how to curtail them in future primaries.

The revolution continues apparently, in policy platforms and the great coming battle against The Donald. As Bernie Sanders listed the reasons for the struggle – a list which celebrated his dragging of the Democrat policy planks over to the far left of the left-of-center where they had been – he tried to infuse his supporters with a continued sense of purpose. The goal still being the establishment of a Socialist Scandinavian style political system, and society, in America.

They wept in the stands as his endorsement of Hillary was shouted out by Bernie. Presumably male photographers rushed to take pictures of the bare armpits of any younger Bernie supporter who also happened to be female, in the act holding up her sign. And in the end, they cheered and clapped more than they boo’ed.

Was this a final day of venting – in the words of Byron York? Or will the anger and divisiveness continue?

Much has been said about Donald Trump’s children, including speculating on how much influence they really do wield on their father. And now with the convention over, we have just a little more insight into who they may be. And how much power they might have in a Trump White House.

While Eric certainly has been present in the media, and Tiffany actually gave a short little speech, the interesting siblings are Donald Jr. and Ivanka. And while no one is more like you genetically than your siblings, politically there’s more than a little distance between the two of them.

Donald Junior was down in the pits – to use a Wall Street phrase – trading cheers (for his dad’s reaching 1,237) and jeers (with the New York delegation that he basically ran angrily urging Ted Cruz to endorse during the senator’s infamous speech). And when it was his turn to take the stage he delivered a speech that was both uplifting and charmingly defiant towards the establishment elites. He even won grudging praise from Erick Erickson, for crying out loud.

In that speech he outlined a policy platform that focused on education and jobs, with some references to crime and trade. But it was a speech about values and accomplishments. And America’s politically-correct paralysis that underlies the tendency for the nation to appease abroad and to encumber with misguided regulation at home. Never mind the thousands and thousands of pages of Dodds-Frank that ensures only those financial behemoth’s on Wall Street that can afford the required platoons of compliance daemons to sort through the labyrinths of rules and regulations, will prosper. To the detriment of smaller, newer, innovative companies in finance. Despite some marvelous exceptions, like Paypal.

A local school in a small town in the midwest now may face pages and pages of administrative “guidelines” on how students must now be afforded gender neutral bathrooms. Rule by executive order has trickled down to your local school board. And Donald Jr’s Soviet Department Store analogy for how public schools exist to serve the teachers’ unions and not the students hit home perfectly. All in all, a very very good speech.

Less so with Ivanka. She’s not a Republican, she told America. She’s not a Democrat. She’s a Millennial. Maybe it’s all her tall blond sisters, and sisters-in-law – herself included; but her proposals sound a little Scandinavian. Free daycare and free maternity leave. While she didn’t state it quite that bluntly, it was clearly implied in her remarks about how mothers are those who are truly discriminated against, in terms of wages. Not necessarily women in general. Clearly this is an important topic, but America already has subsidies and incentives that support working families. The problem of how to accommodate a working mother’s needs on the job site is a very real issue. But one senses that Ivanka would be fine with a top down solution imposed on all companies regardless of size, location, and industry.

So while Donald Jr. talked about unleashing the creative potential of all Americans, Ivanka cooly threatened to burden businesses with yet another layer of regulations. They are both clearly strong-willed and tough. We’ll see who has more of their father’s ear.

Trump doubled down on Trump during his lengthy, roaring convention speech Thursday night in Cleveland. And the crowd loved it. And many in the media and the think tanks – both conservative and liberal – will hate it. Because it was an attack on them. On Hillary as their supposed puppet. And a defense of those who they ignore.

If you were transported in a great pumpkin from, say last Halloween, straight to Trump’s acceptance speech; how shocked could you claim to be? Trade, immigration, civil unrest and terrorism. Trump did not water down his controversial policy proposals. With perhaps the exception being where he never actually mentioned the word Muslims while talking about making sure a vetting program was in place before accepting refugees from “any nation that has been compromised by terrorism.” And he continually praised the men and women in blue, living up to his promise of a law and order theme for his speech.

He continued to go straight for Hillary, setting up what everyone has rightly predicted will be one heck of a nasty in-the-muck general election. But he framed his attack on her as the puppet of a system rigged by the elites within his own promise to be “your voice.” As he put in the closing section of his speech: while Hillary wants you to pledge that “I’m with Her” he pledges that “I’m with you.”

While his flipping of Hillary’s Slogan (and her Go Here! arrow) will surely elicit eye rolls from many in the media, it cuts to the heart of his attack on political-correctness. Hillary’s campaign has been built on the dictates of identity politics. The “I” in “I’m with her” is a coalition of self-identifying groups under the rainbow coalition.

Before you’re a small-business owner in Atlanta, you’re an African American above all. Before you’re a lawyer in Kansas City, you’re a female voter. Before you’re a tech owner-manager in Silicon Valley, you’re a gay male. And woe on you if you instead insist you’re a business owner above all, or a lawyer, or – like Peter Thiel did – a proud gay man who happens to be an astonishingly successful investor in tech, but first is a Republican, and above all, an American.

The – I’m with her – means you have to gather in these self-proclaimed cultural identities by giving them what the elites that claim to represent them demand, like gender-neutral bathrooms while American cities face a crime wave.

The – I’m with You – of Donald Trump is a response to those identity politics coalitions. And yes, it does risk white-identity politics if you frame it from Hillary’s perspective. As most of the mainstream media does. As much of the conservative media also does. But if you see it from the perspective of believing that one is an American first – like Thiel – then it is a rejection of identity politics in favor of a national identity.

Does this have to have people so worried? Do shared values around what a nation believes in have to be so dark and foreboding? Shared values does not mean ALL values. It means those values different groups of Americans share. Because clearly there are many that are not shared. But the genius of the founding fathers is to create a constitution with a bill of rights that has given America the necessary shared values that the world’s most diverse nation is built upon.

One of the quietest moments in Trump’s speech was when he dialed back the energy to quietly and sincerely thank the crowd for cheering his promised defense of LGBTQ (yes he even put the Q in) community. And as Byron York has written this morning, many of those in his unscientific exit poll of convention goers were moved by that pledge. The difference between Hillary and Trump is that for Trump, a member of the LGBTQ community is an American first and above all.

Melania Trump’s RNC speech was over 15 minutes long, and contained a few sentences allegedly plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s speech, and those few sentences are the ONLY thing people are talking about in her speech. That’s ridiculous. She was poised. She was elegant. And she was well-spoken. I won’t remember Melania “plagiarized” her speech because I will remember her incredible story of her childhood in Slovenia, her work ethic that made her a successful model, her emigration to the United States, and that SHE DID THE WORK to become a citizen of the United States.

And by did the work…I mean LITERALLY did the work. Legal immigration in this country is actually a real thing that apparently no one really cares about because no one feels bad for the immigrants doing the paperwork, blood work, fingerprints, and literally taking an exam. If you think Melania Trump didn’t have to do any of these things for immigration because she was wealthy and married Donald Trump, you are very misinformed.

Aside from a few sentences that are the only thing the media is feeding the sheep at this moment, Melania Trump shared quite and incredible story of her American Dream, and her pride to be a citizen in the United States beamed from her while sharing her story. A First Lady who is honored to live in the United States and respects her privilege of being an American citizen is a first Lady I’ll always welcome to the White House .

Donald Trump announced on Twitter today, that he has officially selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence has his Vice President. Rumors have swirled for days around his selection and were finally put to rest.

In light of the attack in Nice, France last night, Trump said he’d be postposing his announcement. The news conference to discuss the selection has been postponed to tomorrow, Saturday at 11 am.

Only one thing remains to solidify Donald Trump’s official nomination is at the Republican National Convention next week in Ohio.

As the news of the attack in Nice was flooding across the media, the members of the GOP’s Convention Rules Committee were easily fending off an attack by NeverTrump’ers. The so-called conscience clause, which would free the delegates to ignore the primary voters’ wishes – as clearly expressed in the results – and vote their conscience. That is, vote against Trump.

12 delegates voted for the conscience clause. Less than half the 28 needed to produce a minority report. Slightly over a fifth of the 57 votes needed to pass the measure through the 112-strong committee. With no willing alternative to take on Trump – is Kristol himself going to run? not likely – and with growing, if sometimes grudging – endorsements, they were not a viable alternative. Of course, the rebels led by Colorado delegate and Christian Schoolteacher Kendal Unruh, talked up a mighty wind in the more-than-willing mainstream media. But all that chatter blew itself out to a whimper when faced with the solid reality of the great majority of GOP delegates. Who have come round to Trump’s side.

What will probably make it to the floor as a minority report – it received 32 votes: 4 more than the 28 needed – is a proposal to facilitate and encourage closed primaries at the state level. Once again, an attempt is being made to silence voter rebellions towards the GOP establishment. Of course, 32 votes is 25 votes shy of a majority of the rules committee. And having it pass a floor vote is very unlikely. But it is a dying ember of the NeverTrump’ers rebellion and will likely cause a bit of debate on the convention floor.

Meanwhile, Trump’s postponement of his VP announcement as a result of the terrorist attack in Nice, has some parts of the media suddenly second-guessing their pick of Pence as the almost-certain choice. In other words, could Trump suddenly change his mind? Maybe not: late last night Gingrich called for the deportation of muslims who “believe” in shariah law. Has Gingrich been freed of the obligation to show some caution regarding Muslim Americans? Because he knows he’s no longer on the list? Not that Trump suddenly disagrees with Gingrich’s comment: it’s right in line with what he’s been advocating for months now. Could Gingrich somehow still end up being VP? Maybe. Likely not. We’ll see.

Ah, David Brock’s back again. He never really left. Just sort of changed benches over a decade ago. Mr. opps has been described as a political assassin on more than one occasion, and Brock’s hit jobs have helped set the standard for digging up dirt on political opponents.

So what has Brock – through his super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, come up with? An attack ad, that’s meant to be funny, and surely is for those who dislike Trump. Go to Politico’s website. Rather than dig into Politico’s insider analysis of the RNC’s effort to thwart the free-the-delegates rebellion, you will immediately note the ads with the gold-framed is-this-1983? graphics that proclaim: Trump release your returns.com.

Cute. Absolutely cute Mr. Brock. And one can be sure that Hillary’s team is giggling over the adolescent gimmick. Maybe Hillary herself is making sure that polling suggests these ads will achieve their purpose: undermine Trump’s credibility as a pushback against Hillary’s trust problems with the public. But everyone else in her office likely laughed at the cheesy graphics. Hollywood is like high school? Try the beltway.

Romney? He’s got to be smiling just a little. Ready to put on his serious face if the press is willing, once again, to listen to his pet peeve: why Trump isn’t getting destroyed by his lack of personal financial disclosure, the way Romney was in 2012.

Cruz? Well, he’s going to speak at the convention in Cleveland, so he’s got to keep his grinning private. Same for Paul Ryan who, of course, has to play the role of unifier at the convention.

Again, as with Hillary’s new spate of attacks, will it work? Does the ad reveal something new and shocking about Trump which could potentially cause significant damage to his poll numbers? Or does it almost feel like an ad for the Apprentice? Re-positioning a major brand by keeping it significant and center-stage.

It’s almost as if David Brock has become a hack writer/publicist for the Apprentice, by banging away on a known theme regarding a well-established brand. The ads are funny, cartoonishly so. And maybe a well-planned attack campaign, with lots of new and fascinating bits of dirt, is all lined up behind this brassy bugle call from the man with the sweaty forehead. If not, it’s just a silly joke. Good for a giggle, and not much else.

The second amendment belongs to all law-abiding Americans. And the NRA needs to acknowledge it by also commenting on the Minnesota shooting a legal gun owner, that appears to have been the over reaction of a police officer. There will be an investigation, and there are already angry words all over the place. But a clear statement of Philando Castile’s constitutional right to lawfully bear arms is wanting.

The crazed lone wolf who seeks redemption in violence is not white-specific either. It, tragically, belongs to all of America. And America must share that burden, even as the percentage of such dangerous and psychotic people is a mere fraction of a fraction of a tiny percentage.

We will find out more about Micah Xavier Johnson, a 25 year old former or current military reservist, who did a tour of Afghanistan. But apparently as a carpenter. He was also a member of a few clubs that train their members in self-defense, and who are horrified by what he did. But he also may have been a fan of militant black groups who seem to want to resurrect violent revolutionary tactics, with attacks on police specifically. We will also hear – after a pause to remember and honor the Dallas police who died protecting a peaceful rally of protestors exercising their First Amendment rights on a warm summer evening – a rising wave of further demands for gun control. And those that blame Black Lives Matter for inspiring Marcus Johnson. And those in Black Lives Matter and elsewhere that separate themselves from Johnson and his crazed violence. And those that don’t.

And that’s what the NRA is worried about: gun-control advocates using these three tragedies to call for more restrictions – some will ask for as severe as possible restrictions – in the wake of these shootings. And they’re right. Those advocates will demand as much state control of guns as possible.

But you have to stand on principle. Or you are an unprincipled partisan. Either all legal and law-abiding Americans have second amendment rights. Or we are talking about something far different. As a gun-owner even if it feels like you are a persecuted minority – and many truly would love to take your rights away – you have to stand on the solid rock of the Constitution. For all Americans. If not, you are a militia without a constitution. The NRA needs to make a statement on Castile’s second amendment rights. ASAP.

What will Hillary Clinton’s server scandal mean a year from now? 5 years from now? Despite Comey’s decision to refrain from requesting that Hillary be charged, his explanations of what Clinton as Secretary of State did wrong, or by implication, lied about, have enraged and energized the GOP. Comey agreed to visit to the House of Representatives to do some s’plaining on the details of the investigation and the reasons for his decision. And that took about 24 hours to put together.

The system is rigged. How dare Trump say that! Right? And say it he did, and is still saying it, more loudly than almost anyone save Bernie Sander. Who is saying much less these days. The wording of Comey’s statement on Tuesday has been parsed endlessly by many. And there is frustration and confusion on the inherent contradictions in those words, beyond those who would be accused of merely wanting to keep the issue alive.

The thing is, this is no longer about just Hillary Clinton. Or her husband. Or specific Supreme Court rulings. Or executive action. Or GOP senators turning their backs on those who voted them in, all in the name of “discipline” or “comity.” Or unelected administrative bodies like the Iowa Civil Rights Commission issuing regulations forcing shared use of bathrooms and showers, with only a self-declaration of gender necessary to enter the bathroom you choose.

This is aloof, non-intermingled (to use David Brooks-style terminology) elite rule by fiat. Where radical theories of who we are, and how we should behave, are placed into action by administrative guidelines; or Supreme Court rulings that upend precedent and rewrite the constitution or defy it; or by legislation decided in Washington with careful consideration given to well-financed special interests, and then poured down in increasing torrents over local communities.

Trans identity was a barely understood puzzle of Lesbian and Gay culture barely a few years ago. It is now a categorical imperative, an unconditional obligation. With debate replaced by violent accusations of prejudice for all who disagree or are just plainly uncomfortable with the idea of trans bathrooms for their daughters and sons. And it became so, because politicians looked at the issue from a media and polling perspective and thought: we can make this work for us. And so a dive into the unknown with little or no debate, and even less legislation. From screaming students in the Yale quads to detailed guidelines in Iowa. In a matter of months.

Immigration has become an issue of racism, hurled at anyone who wishes that borders mean something in America. And that people who enter the country do so legally.

Security is a matter for elites. Islamic State is not that big a problem. The president says so. The mainstream media echo chamber repeats the stories and similar ones – regarding Iran’s credibility as a partner in a nuclear deal, for example. The FBI can’t keep track of a terrorist’s wife, but they do a great job. Because their director says so.

Privacy is more important than security. Encryption is a god to be kneeled down before. Decryption is a low, base intrusion into our private virtuous worlds. The FBI here is on the other side of this debate: but it is still a debate between elites. On the one side the technocrats, on the other the FBI and other intelligence agencies. And us mere mortals who only want our information reasonably private and our bank accounts secure, can only watch while the encryption and decryption gods battle it out over a dead terrorist’s iPhone.

So the GOP – especially the House – will do what they can to question Comey’s decision not to ask for charges to be laid. And hopefully, they will keep in mind their constituents who may be wondering why Naval Reservist Brian Nishimura was charged with 2 years probation and fined thousands of dollars, for doing remarkably similar things with classified information to what Hillary Clinton did with her private server.

But Nishimura is a Reservist, who merely served in Afghanistan, rather than dealing in careers and reputations in the House of Imperial Cards on the Potomac.

In the last few weeks there have been a few in the media – like at ABC News for example – who have assured the public that Hillary would not be charged over her homebrew server while Secretary of State. Now that the news is out – cynics would say the fix is in – the question is: did they have access to what the FBI and especially the Justice Department was going to rule?

The chess pieces are moving in place with what feels like an almost too perfect alignment: from a media perspective of course. Not a policy perspective or an ethical perspective if you happen to be one of many Americans who can’t, won’t, and don’t trust Hillary. Or her husband.

But the narrative is being delivered like a fictional left-loving TV series about the West … oh. Right. Consider: FBI Director James Comey delivers his agency’s decision to not prosecute just after 11 AM, EST. And a few hours later, a weeks-long planned event takes place with Obama and Hillary on stage and happy as all hell in North Carolina, which may be a crucial swing state in November. It isn’t quite dead bodies stacking neatly, to put in Underwoodian terms, but it does have an uneasy symmetry that feels even more staged than the typical narratives that get constructed and ripped apart in Washington D.C.’s echo chamber.

Who knew what about Comey’s decision – or the legal likelihood of Justice bringing charges – and who told whom? No one can accuse Obama of being wrong-headed about political strategy. As opposed to respecting the separation of powers and the Constitution. And the recent spreading certainty in the mainstream media seems to suggest that people in the know were doing a fair bit of heavy leaking, breathing into the right media ears with warm assurances of no charges being laid. Like Huma Abedin with Hillary at one of her endless conferences.

How do you – if you’re President Obama – manage a process like this and maintain plausible deniability? For now at least. Maybe this is the end of the server story. And maybe Obama can hand, not the metaphorical baton but rather a cold and frosty beverage or two, to his once-rival, then-subordinate, and perhaps now-successor. That’s a lot of roles that Hillary has had to play. And somehow she pulled it off. For now. Hard to believe for someone who is not a natural in the spotlight. Is Obama that good a puppet master?