A deep, young, and diverse bench

One purpose of last night’s Republican convention was to introduce the public (or that portion of it interested enough to watch) to rising stars of the Party, and to highlight the female members of that vanguard. Mission accomplished.

Female speakers from the Republican bench included Mia Love, Sher Valenzuela (both before prime time), Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Kelly Ayotte, Mary Fallin, and Nikki Haley, nearly all of whom were excellent. Note the diversity of this group: Love (African-American), Valenzuela (Hispanic), Haley (of Indian descent).

Rounding out the opening day bench squad performers were governors Kasich, McDonnell, Walker, Sandoval (Hispanic), and Christie, plus Senate candidate Ted Cruz (Hispanic). (I exclude Rick Santorum, a defeated candidate, and Artur Davis, not yet a true Republican politician). Note that no one on either of these groups (the males or the females) apparently was on the short, short list for VP, although Ayotte, McDonnell, and Christie all reportedly received serious consideration. In baseball terms, these speakers were mostly from AA or A ball, as opposed to Triple A. And as those who follow baseball know, it’s your AA and A prospects who most accurately tell you what your team will look like in a few years.

Finally, I was happy to be reminded of the extent of Republican success in capturing the governor’s mansion in swing and important blue states. The speakers mentioned above include the governors of Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and New Jersey. Another rising star, Susana Martinez is the governor of New Mexico. And during yesterday’s proceeding, I spotted the Republican governors of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and of course the host state, Florida.

One shouldn’t overestimate the importance of personalty in politics or underestimate how quickly rising (and fully risen) stars can fall. Even so, last night provides cause of optimism.


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