CLEVELAND — After three days of a rocky Republican National Convention, and watching the wheels come off Ted Cruz’s speech Wednesday night, I’m finding myself thirsting for context. Is this a 1964 Nelson Rockefeller moment, or just a kinda-weird-but-pretty-normal nominating event? So I spent Thursday morning chatting up people who’ve been to multiple conventions to try to get their perspective.
By and large, most people agreed that this was a strange one. But over and over, delegates told me that the rockiness was part of a clarifying process and that Donald Trump’s speech tonight would seal the deal on party unity.
Vincent Muscarella, a Nassau County legislator from New York (veteran of three conventions), said that this year “hasn’t gone as smoothly as perhaps we’d like.”
“I don’t ever recall there being something like we saw last night,” he said about the way the crowd turned against Cruz. “But emotion is good. It means that people have a commitment. And when those commitments sometimes clash, you get some emotion. It shows we’re passionate.”
The imperfections “give people at home a connection,” said Gary Byrne of Philadelphia (five conventions). Viewers get to see that “it’s real. It’s not actually a movie.” But he conceded that other years have been “more polished, more rhythmic” than this one.
That seemed to be the theme, even from the delegation from Cruz’s home state, Texas. They were particularly stung by Cruz’s non-endorsement of Trump. The buzzword of the day? “Disappointed,” said in the tone your mom used when she shook her head and said, “I’m not mad; I’m disappointed.”
Barbara Woodroof of Gunter, Texas, who said she …