So we finally know who is going to face off against who in the next election.
Upsetting Chris Christie, who was gambling his entire political future on some kind of blessing from Donald Trump as a running mate (and many others) was the Vice Presidential pick for team R of Mike Pence, a conservative governor of Indiana. A man who opposed the EPA and was a staunch proponent of the Patriot Act, he was very much an olive branch to the hardline conservatives who didn't like this womanizer who spurned the likes of Ted Cruz. Cruz upset the apple cart somewhat by voting his conscience and NOT endorsing Donald Trump as president - going back on previous statements that he would in fact support the nominee. The sobriquet "Lying Ted" has been permanently tattooed on his forehead for all intents and purposes, and conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer declared it the longest political suicide note in history.
Trump gave a speech that impressed a lot of people and horrified a lot of others.
You could read it one way, that America is in decline and let's make it great again. Let's stop spending all this money on other freeloading nations and take back deals which killed tons of jobs. Before Obama/Hillary became president, nobody had ever heard of ISIS, Syria was stable and you didn't have Black Lives Matter going out and assassinating police. But with the racially divisive and pro-Muslim sentiment of the Obama administration, both Obama and Hillary shrugged their shoulders when Benghazi was overrun and they left their own people to die.
A lot of other people picked up on some more sinister readings. When he spoke about black protestors and/or inner cities, he referred to "them". When referring to laid off blue collar white workers, he used "you". He made the statement "I alone can fix this", which the Clinton campaign seized on immediately. He also made very repeated references to having "law and order" take over. Walls will be built. Laws will be followed. Not one law for you, and one law for the illegal alien who keeps coming back and killing people.
Gay flamboyant darling of the new right, Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter. He panned the new Ghostbusters movie, which has been a commercial failure to date - and was hit with some hostility by cast member Lesie Jones, who went on a wild, racially insensitive rant against white people which was answered by some of Milo's followers with photos of primates, specifically their (female) genital organs. The ban is permanent. The new right made much of this, pointing out that between Google censoring searches on Hillary Clinton, Facebook founder Zuckerberg caught on a hot mic saying to Angela Merkel that he'll advance her agenda by shaping the way Facebook works, and the silencing of Milo for things Milo didn't even say - all pointed to some kind of SJW New World Order conspiracy.
A Wikileaks set of posts which showed internal emails from the DNC proving that the DNC actively worked against Bernie Sanders' campaign has really driven a stake through the potential for many Sanders voters to support Hillary. There's a very real sense that "the fix is in".
The DNC is about to start and Hillary chose to not postpone her announcements because of the Munich shootings (initially reported as yet another Islamist shooting up the place yelling "Allahu Ackbar" that the administration is saying "we don't know the motivation here") and instead chose to announce her Vice Presidential pick of Tim Kaine. Kaine is FIRMLY in the pocket of the banks, and is in fact a hardcore anti-abortion critic. This did not stop NARAL from pre-emptively posting to everyone that he wouldn't ever actually vote against abortion so not to worry. Kaine was very in favor of fast-tracking the Trans Pacific Partnership and is in many ways a neoliberal conservative, angering further the progressive wing of the Democrat party. Any hope that the energy of the Sanders movement would translate into any move to the left was met with a show from Hillary that we're going to the center right again, business as usual. She hammered the speeches made at the RNC, saying that America didn't suck, its best days were yet to come, and that those days would come from building bridges, not walls - from working together, not stirring violent divisions. She also compared Trump to various dictators, saying that governments where only one person fixes things: well, that's kind of like Hitler and Pol Pot, right?
Barack Obama made some comments about the Munich shootings at the same time, starting off with the most obvious platitudes, our hearts go out to the victims and their families, we will support our allies however they need it.... then made a joke about his daughters going off to college, as if sending your kid to higher education and having them shot in the back with a high powered rifle were equivalent.
And once again reinforcing what 2016 is about: Trump made a pledge and a commitment to protect the LGBTQ members of our society, saying they were valued. When the Republican National Convention applauded, he paused to thank them for agreeing with him here. And on the other side of the aisle, the Democrats have a VP pick who is virulently anti-abortion and proud that his kid was a U.S. Marine (that is something to be proud of, for sure, but still?)
Kaine started his speech off in Spanish. "Bienvenidos a todos!" etc. etc. etc. I can't wait to see the backwards conservatives getting a hold of that one. Especially when Hillary pointed out that his experiences in Virginia taking on the NRA and the gun manufacturers made him a good choice to get guns out of people's hands.
Now we're in the final scrumdown. The players are all there. Trump, Pence, Clinton and Kaine.
Let the battle commence.