At the halfway point of the Republican National Convention -- two nights are finished, with two nights remaining -- there aren't a lot of clear and consistent messages, though many speakers have tried to emphasize one dubious claim: it's Democrats who should be seen as extremists.
As implausible as this may seem given the circumstances, more than a few GOP voices have pushed the line that it's Donald Trump's Republican Party that embodies the American mainstream, while Joe Biden and his party are in the grips of wild-eyed radicals.
An activist who was scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night was abruptly yanked off the program after it was reported that she had shared an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on social media hours ahead of her scheduled appearance.
Mary Ann Mendoza was supposed to deliver pre-recorded remarks, speaking as a mother whose son was killed by a drunk undocumented immigrant, and as late as 5 p.m. yesterday afternoon, news organizations had an embargoed copy of her speech.
Evidently, however, there are some lines that even Republican National Convention organizers aren't prepared to cross. Literally the same day as her scheduled national appearance, Mendoza used social media to promote anti-Semitic garbage from a QAnon conspiracy theorist about a Jewish plot to enslave non-Jews. NBC News' report added that the online content added also "managed to add some QAnon conspiracies and touched on everything from the Titanic to Hillary Clinton."
I believe The Daily Beast was the first to notice all of this, and word eventually reached Republican officials, who removed Mendoza from the convention schedule. As MSNBC's Chris Hayes noted on the air last night, "The RNC has now, to use a word they like to use, 'canceled' her appearance."
That said, Abby Johnson, a fierce opponent of abortion rights, remained on the Republican schedule last night, despite her support for "household voting" -- the idea that every household should receive a single vote, which belongs to the male head of that household -- and despite her previous remarks that it would be "smart" for a police officer to racially profile her biracial son, because "statistically, my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons."
This was not, however, enough to be removed from the convention schedule.
I have several questions:
Are Republicans still prepared to stick to the line that it's Democrats who have an extremist problem?
Do Republicans believe in vetting people at all?
And how much of this problem can be attributed to the fact that the Republican Party is led by a conspiracy theorist who's spent years promoting and trying to normalize ridiculous nonsense?