Donald Trump has been credibly accused of exploiting racial resentment, dishonest business practices and ignorance as regards important economic and national security matters. His opponent has been credibly accused of endangering national security and impeding the nation’s public records law with a private email scheme while she was our top diplomat.

And yet what is everyone talking about on the morning after the first night of Donald J. Trump’s convention?


It seems writers for Melania Trump cribbed sections of her speech, which was generally well received, from FLOTUS speech in 2008.

Never ceases to amaze what holds the attention of the national media.

Here’s writer Jeff Sharlet on all the hubbub: Politico class shock at Melania's plagiarism reflects neuroses of former grade grubbers who tattled on cheaters to improve own standing.

And Minnesota native and political operative Sam McCullough: If you really think this plagiarism (expletive) will affect the Trump campaign at all, you just haven't been paying attention to this race.

Agree. This is a half day story about an unfortunate tradition that spouses should not have to be subjected to. Her mistake was saying she wrote the speech herself. Although, who knows, maybe that’s how the plagiarism happened. Any college admissions officer or professor will tell you this is common. Dishonorable? Sure, but there are big issues at stake in this election, so I for one am moving along.

The theme tonight is economy, “Make America Work Again” starring House Speaker Paul Ryan, who can give a speech, and my fave, UFC president Dana White.

From our guys on the ground in Cleveland:

Patrick Condon: MInnesota reporters in Cleveland were asked to leave the MNGOP delegation meeting after breakfast Monday morning. But most doors aren't soundproof, and it was pretty clear that a spirited discussion quickly ensued about what to do when the rules came up on the convention floor. (One overheard tidbit: "I'm NEVER HILLARY!")

It came to a head in a brief, chaotic floor fight in the afternoon, where RNC leadership and Team Trump quickly squelched what will probably be the last attempt at official dissent. The UnTrump Minnesota delegation was among the states to reverse course and abandon its demand for a roll call vote on the rules; second- and third-hand reports of arm twisting.

As I write this I'm inside the hall watching the prime time speech of "avid hunter" Willie Robinson from Duck Dynasty who is wearing a blazer and an American flag headband while taking predictable cheap shots at the media. Claims the mantle of "regular folks" which is odd coming from a TV star. Followed now by Scott Baio, or as I like to think of him, Bob Loblaw [Ed note: That’s an “Arrested Development” reference.] Takeaway from Baio's speech: being an American doesn't mean getting free stuff. Unless you're a convention delegate, all of whom are plied with free crap all week.

Sounds like Condon needed an early cocktail.

Ok, now Ricardo Lopez: Are Minnesota Republicans being punished by Donald Trump for going for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio? The hotel's location would indicate so. Minnesota's delegation is staying 24 miles away from downtown Cleveland seemingly because Minnesota Republicans first choice was not Donald Trump. The celebrity businessman wasn't even Minnesota's second choice. He was third. Also, the Minnesota delegation is seated in the back, pretty far from the stage inside Quicken Loans Arena.

No one is really complaining -- just envious that other delegations have better digs and don't have to cross county lines to get the convention hall.

In an effort to unify Republicans, party leaders, including MNGOP Chair Keith Downey and U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, are urging fellow Republicans to remember that Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee. Still, the divisions apparent Monday morning during a private delegation meeting and later on the convention floor show the anti-Trump forces still have pretty bruised feelings.

Downtown Cleveland has several blockades set up to keep a big perimeter around the arena. Plenty of protesters, plenty of police, but so far pretty peaceful.

I was up this morning to get a run and workout in at the hotel gym before the convention opening and found Emmer is also an early riser. (I'm not an early riser; just enjoy the eye-rolling from people when I say I ran 3 miles before they had their first cup of coffee.) He spent time running on the treadmill while I lifted weights. I said "hello" later because I'm anti-social when I'm working out.

Back to your usual Hotdisher: People who work out are the worst, amirite? 

You should be following former House minority leader Marty Seifert during the convention. He’s @seifertmn. He recommends holding off on souvenirs until late, when they’ll get cheap.

It began with a benediction. Amy Sullivan, who is a Christian believer who often writes on religion and politics, said she’d never heard one quite like this, which asked God to smite the enemies: The Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s entrance was pretty rock star. Here’s a GIF. Yoni Appelbaum with some nice writing on Trump bending the party to his will. 

The theme was security.

Condon and Lopez write that Minnesota GOP delegates and party leaders took to the theme and believe it’s a primary concern of many Americans, including the uncomfortable notion that with every new attack and sign of disorder, Trump’s numbers will rise. Read their dispatch here.

Are we less safe? According to this piece in Vox, violent crime is down from eight years ago. Unauthorized immigration is down from eight years ago, though here’s a piece in National Review showing a resurgence in 2015. Terrorism deaths are up, although the numbers are still quite small. And of course the crime reduction is a 25 years trend that has nothing to do with presidents present or past. (In general, crime is a local, not a national issue, so, like education, it’s a little baffling that we would debate in a presidential race.)

Still, Americans feel unsettled, and to some degree it’s entirely reasonable. Violent crime did go up last year a bit, perhaps due to the so-called “Ferguson Effect,” of police unable/unwilling to successfully police certain communities after demonstrations and unrest. (The murder clearance rate in Baltimore is just 11 percent this year, for instance.) Plus, eight years ago, there was al Qaeda but no ISIS.

And so Trump and his campaign have explicitly invoked Richard Nixon’s campaign of 1968. (Hmm did we not point out the Nixon parallels all year?) Here’s the Times: It was a remarkable embrace — open and unhesitating — of Nixon’s polarizing campaign tactics, and of his overt appeals to Americans frightened by a chaotic stew of war, mass protests and racial unrest.

Campaign Chair Paul Manafort said Nixon’s 1968 speech would be a template. (For the young folks: Nixon’s White House once mused on bombing the Brookings Institution, among many other criminal schemes that gave some irony to Nixon’s whole “law and order” campaign.)

Another historical echo: Nixon’s TV guru was Roger Ailes, now chairman and master of Fox News. He may be on his way out, and soon, after sexual harassment allegations and an internal investigation by a big NYC law firm.

(Read “The Selling of the President 1968” for a great look inside modern presidential politics at the dawn of it.)

Boil it all down, and the real theme of the night, according to Republican Avik Roy, who worked for Sen. Marco Rubio this cycle. Summary of #RNCinCLE Day 1: Brown people are making America less safe.


How will Clinton respond? She has a problem in that she can’t go on TV and say we’re going to torture them and kill their families, like Trump. Politico calls it her “asymmetrical war on terror” problem. But she’s committed to not being out toughed.

I suspect the same is true on crime. Remember, Bill Clinton left the campaign trail to oversee the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a black cop killer who had already shot himself in the head, effectively lobotomizing himself. Whatever it takes.

Clinton was in Minneapolis to talk to the nation’s second largest teachers union and vowed to -- you guessed it -- support them. She met privately with the family of Philando Castile. Maya Rao was there.

Trump’s co-author on “Art of the Deal” says Trump’s a sociopath. In other campaigns, this might be a blockbuster story. This year, yawns.

Gary Johnson, who is running strong in polls as the Libertarian candidate, says he’ll quit pot when he wins the White House. He also notes you’d rather have someone a little high for the 2 a.m. phone call than a little drunk.

Last week I linked to a piece on our op-ed page by a retired detective who blamed poor relations between the black community and police on “gangsters” and the young black men who affected their sensibility. A black police officer named Robert Simon responds: It does not matter how a black person dresses, acts or speaks. Despite any facts to the contrary, black males are seen as aggressive, criminally prone, dangerous, unapproachable, loud and, most of all, angry. I have been told these things all my life. I also have been told that I don’t know “my place” and “Don’t bring your white wife around.” I have heard Minneapolis cops say “If they run, beat them” and “If they don’t like it here, move.”

It is, as we say, getting very real.

The Strib op-ed page took a lot of heat for publishing the first piece. (News and op-ed are separate -- they are on a separate floor of the Strib building and there’s basically zero interaction, so I’m just talking as an observer here.) But notice how the first piece reveals a mindset that is clearly quite common, while also drawing a response from Simon. So, all in all, a useful addition to the dialogue, IMHO.

Minneapolis Chief Harteau orders union head Lt. Bob Kroll to stop wearing his uniform during interviews. He’ll fight it.

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen has a proposed resolution standing with officers and condemning “the kind of incendiary remarks (Gov. Mark Dayton) made when he accused police officers of racism before the fact were known," he said in a news release.

Setting aside whether Dayton should have been making any comments about an ongoing investigation being conducted by one of his own agencies, Dayton did not make that accusation. What he said was that Castille would still be alive if he were white. There’s a difference. Obviously I have no interest in speaking for Dayton, but there’s plenty of social science evidence that unconscious fears and biases can direct our behavior. You can behave differently without being conscious of it. Here’s a summary of some of the research.

Still and all, tough political move by Ingebrigtsen and I’m unsure why other Republicans didn’t think of it first.

Officer deaths are way up this year, especially from shootings, though the absolute number is still relatively small. Police officer is the nation’s 15th most dangerous job. Logging, fishing and construction are most dangerous. One out of every five job related death is in construction, according to OSHA. Those numbers do not account for long term illness. No dispute here that police officers have difficult jobs. Maybe the most difficult.

But those numbers are interesting, especially if you’re kid is thinking of timber as an occupation.

Have a great day everyone.

Correspond: and @jpcoolican

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