The longtime Republican edge in this area has stemmed in part from a close relationship with the military. The GOP’s emphasis on the “exceptionalism” of America — and its castigation of Democrats as questioning U.S. supremacy — served as the icing.
Historically, as Republicans positioned themselves alongside soldiers and cops, Democrats favored military cutbacks and were more prone to protest in the streets, creating an image as just a little less red, white and blue.
He has talked of resuming actions deemed as torture, curbing 1st Amendment rights and backing out of longstanding alliances with other nations even as he has seemed to cozy up to longtime adversaries, notably Russia. He has insulted many groups of voters and American leaders.
He questioned whether U.S. senator and former prisoner of war John McCain was a war hero, saying he preferred soldiers who hadn’t been captured. He said in a debate that the U.S. military was “a disaster.”
On Friday, he called a retired four-star Marine leader a “failed general.”
That came the day after Gen. John Allen’s appearance at the Democratic convention, during which he led a conspicuously multi-ethnic band of military figures onstage to deliver a forceful endorsement of Clinton.
As the crowd chanted “USA, USA” — in part to mask a few protesters — Allen vowed that under Clinton the U.S. would “defeat ISIS and protect the homeland.”
The speech — along with those by Vice President Joe Biden, President Obama, Michelle Obama and Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim U.S. Army captain killed in action in Iraq — boasted of pride in the nation. (Trump, on Saturday, responded by questioning why the captain’s distraught mother had not spoken.)
“A common emotion for Republicans who were watching was: Where was all of that at my convention?” said Stutzman.