Getty Images

There are already a lot of Democrats at this party, so what if we invited some Republicans? That was the theme of the last night of the Democratic National Convention, or at least a large chunk of it.

After a strong start featuring a number of Democrats and progressives, including a history-making speech by the first transgender speaker at any major party convention, the Democratic National Convention took a hard right turn.

Advertisement

First was Doug Elmets, a former Reagan official who earned a surprising amount of applause praising the savior of the Republican Party at the Democratic National Convention. He was followed by another Republican, Jennifer Pierotti Lim, a senior official at the conservative-leaning and pro-business U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

After the two self-identified Republicans set the tone for the night, conservative themes popped up in several other speeches.

The next two were tributes to fallen law enforcement officers, both of which, while moving in their own right, neglected even a perfunctory acknowledgment of the killings of unarmed people of color at the hands of the police, and could have been delivered a week earlier at the convention in Cleveland under a Blue Lives Matter banner.

Advertisement

Later, retired four-star Gen. John Allen led the crowd in chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" in a speech that would not have been out of place at George W. Bush's 2004 convention. "America will continue to lead this global world," Allen boasted. "We will oppose and resist tyranny, and we will defeat evil. America will defeat ISIS and protect the homeland."

Commentators were quick to note the shift in tone from the previous three nights.

The moderate tone was probably based on the assumption that more people from outside the Democratic base would be tuning in for the final night of the convention. It is also undeniably true that Donald Trump's extremism has created an opportunity for Democrats to make an appeal to right-of-center voters.

But after a long primary that placed considerable focus on when Bernie Sanders joined the Democratic Party and whether Hillary Clinton is a true progressive, it seemed odd to end the party's convention on such a conservative note.