Something happened in the “offstage” hours yesterday at the RNC Convention that should put the lie to that transparently contrived parade of Hispanics onstage. Since it happened in the afternoon though – that part of any convention destined for the memory hole – it’s not likely to get much attention beyond newsjunkiedom.
Jack Hitt of The Atlantic was there reporting, alongside Italian and Puerto Rican correspondents.
There’s video at the link (UPDATE: I’m putting up the video after all – it’s really shocking.]
[Paulites were mid-chant (about delegate counts] when a Puerto Rican party functionary—Zoraida Fonalledas, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization—took her turn at the main-stage lectern. As she began speaking in her accented English, some in the crowd started shouting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”
The chanting carried on for nearly a minute while most of the other delegates and the media stood by in stunned silence. The Puerto Rican correspondent turned to me and asked, “Is this happening?” I said I honestly didn’t know what was happening—it was astonishing to see all the brittle work of narrative construction that is a modern political convention suddenly crack before our eyes. None of us could quite believe what we were seeing: A sea of twentysomething bowties and cowboy hats morphing into frat bros apparently shrieking over (or at) a Latina. RNC chairman Reince Priebus quickly stepped up and asked for order and respect for the speaker, suggesting that, yeah, what we had just seen might well have been an ugly outburst of nativism.1