Republican National Convention Night 2 Recap: Make America Witch Trials Again

I know art is subjective and all that, but this dystopian mini-series, Republican National Convention, is kinda terrible. It’s just super unrealistic. Last night’s episode, “Make America Witch Trials Again,” for example, showcased its characters acting less like rational, compassionate citizens of a democratic superpower, and more like a cartoon mob. It’s also just … boring. The first half hour of “Make America Witch Trials Again” showed this character who’s supposed to be the leader of the entire Republican Party, Paul Ryan, standing on a stage with his jaw clenched waiting for someone to explain to Alaska why they had to vote for Donald Trump even though the state’s voters didn’t really vote for Donald Trump. Pretty uninspiring for a mini-series that promised to be the Greatest Show on Earth.

The press for this episode promised it would focus on putting Americans back to work again (despite the fact that American unemployment is at its lowest rate since 2008??), but no character in the entire episode even mentioned Donald Trump’s jobs plan or economic policy. The episode didn’t even focus on the show’s main character at all! He phoned in on Skype and spoke on the jumbotron from an entirely different city to promise to win the election, but that was all. In fact, “Make America Witch Trials Again” actually spent the majority of the off-screen political rivale who won’t even make a single appearance in this series.


And we’re not going home ’til she’s dead! Good and dead!



What’s more, the writing continues to be threadbare. The main character’s children appeared last night and, like his wife the night before, couldn’t think of a single story to humanize him. A well-timed word of encouragment, a hug, a word of encouragement, that time he took everyone for ice cream, or the year he dressed up as Santa for the school Christmas party when Jessica Jenkins’ dad had to drop out because he had the flu. The writers didn’t give any of the Trump children any dialogue that colored in the lines of the MAIN CHARACTER ON THE SHOW. It’s like if Mad Men only had Don Draper call in to Sterling Cooper for a two-minute conference call every other episode. Such a weird narrative choice. The Trump kids took turns talking about how awesome it feels to succeed and to bask in the glory of their father’s success and the ways each of them inspired him to succeed in the first place. The audience is really supposed to believe this entire family is made up of unprincipled egomaniacs? Come on.

90 minutes into the humdrum episode — again, it pushes the limits of plausibility that the best speakers the presidential candidate of a major political party can pull in at the national convention on the night he clinched the nomination is the manager of a vineyard the guy owns, his one-dimensional robot children, and a dude whose credentials are literally “fight prompter who is a friend of Trump”— the Speaker of the House gets up to talk about why everyone should vote for the GOP candidate. The most glowing praise he can offer is that Trump will push through the regressive social policies of the party and halt the flow of progress initiated by the current president. Even the crowd doesn’t give a fuck. Every time the editor cuts in a shot of them, they’re yawning or on their phones or talking to their neighbors. There’s a steady buzz of disinterested chatter the entire episode.


The Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are definite as stone.



The only thing that excites the crowd is when a guy with a backstory more convoluted than last episode’s Duck Whistle King takes the stage. This character is so dumb. His name is “Chris Christie” and I guess he’s playing the governor of New Jersey who just pled guilty to felony bribery, and he has arrived to conduct a “trial” to see if the opposing party’s candidate should be jailed. In a democracy, okay? Allegedly the greatest democracy in history. So he yells out a couple of true things about the opposing candidate’s 20 years in politics and a whole lot of super false things about the opposing candidate’s 20 years in politics and after every accusation he asks the audience to shout, “GUILTY!” Which they do, and also take it upon themselves three different times to rise to their feet to shut down his speech and scream “LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!”

Another guy named Ben Carson comes out and literally accuses Hillary Clinton of being mentored by Satan.

Oh, and I almost forgot: At one point, this GOP leader character — who is supposed to have taken a literal million dollars from the National Rifle Association and then gone on live TV to say he wouldn’t appoint a Supreme Court Justice that wasn’t approved by a lobbying group that makes murder machines — comes onto the stage to talk about what a threat Hillary Clinton is.

This is not how citizens of a democracy behave under the instruction of their party’s most influential politicians. It’s so impossible to believe. This show should have aired on Syfy.

Tonight’s episode is called “Make America First Again.” You think they’ll light a woman on fire on national TV?

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Heather, do you have a counselor on stand-by for the research you subject yourself to for this series? :P

    I’m tempted to ask Riese if AS is covering your mental health, because you’re being subjected to cruel and unusual material. ;)

  2. I do think they will set a woman on fire tonight… and somehow it will be either President Obama’s fault or Clinton’s fault. Passing the buck…oh right I mean making America Great….I love how Trump’s kids made him drop the “Again” part. I mean we wouldn’t want this campaign to harken back to slavery or pre-civil rights for all banter, where a worthless piece of shit white dude could offend everyone and win the Presidency…oh that’s right if that’s what makes America Great we don’t need to put an Again in that sentence because we are living through that nightmare now!! And to think just 8 years ago the message was Hope and Change but this year I just HOPE more than half of the country doesn’t end up in CHAINS.

  3. Did I step into an alternate surreal universe? No, I mean, seriously? Did I?

    So know the Republicans are say Hillary is to blame for the deforestation of the Rain Forest in the Amazon, the Great Flood in Biblical times, Hitler’s rise to power, the Great Depression, the Ebola Virus deaths, the Iraqi War, the high cost of living in California, Bill’s sexual dalliances, the shortage of the orange hair dye Trump uses, the record high temperatures on Earth, and last, but not least, using the Satanic powers of Lucifer to hypnotize all of us into following her on her demonic journey to destroy America???
    Did I get that right???

    Well, I am sorry to have to tell them but the position of Lucifer’s Apprentice is already taken by a guy named Donald Drumpf, an immigrant who now calls himself Donald Trump, who is a famous Flim-Flam man.

  4. You know, I honestly don’t believe that Trump actually wants to be president…

    • Rumor has it he contacted Kasich after locking up the nomination and basically offered Kasich the VP slot saying that he could be “the most powerful Vice President in history” and would more or less cede the vast bulk of executive power to Kasich. Kasich had the good sense to tell him no freaking way, but it certainly lends credence to the idea that Trump is more interested in winning the President Contest than he is in actually being president.

      Of course, that may well mean that Pence is going to be the guy really calling the shots in the White House should Trump win. Take a look at his record with LGBT rights and see how bad it can get.

  5. This show really started going downhill after season 8, Kudos for make this sacrifice for the rest of us and keeping up!

  6. I actually watched this shitshow tonight. The whole damned thing. It lasted forever and nobody said a single goddamned thing. Nothing of consequence, at least not any one who doesn’t share their manic obsession with hating Hilary Clinton. Also, There is clearly no one in the world that Trump has a personal relationship with.

    My personal favorite moments include the Nazi-wave from the non-descript blonde speaker and the deafening silence following Cruz’s praise of Alton Sterling’s family.

  7. Thank you for all that suffer through for us Heather, and kudos on using pics from the Crucible.

  8. I haven’t liked this show since the writers killed off the Abraham Lincoln character.

  9. Also Heather this election cycle is almost worth it for your clever headlines.


  10. This is probably my favorite political writing of the election season. You’re hitting Matt Taibbi levels of disgusted snark at this point.

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