Our Aaron Blake outlined how "lock her up" has become the informal rallying cry of the convention. Diving a level deeper, though, it's worth considering how the anger and frustration that powers the chant -- kindled by hours of speakers and videos attacking Clinton -- represents a natural waystation in American politics.
Earlier this year, Pew Research released an extensive look at political animosity in the United States. The most telling point of data is that 45 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats view the opposite party as a "threat to the nation's well-being." Not "I disagree with them," but "I think they endanger the country." What's more, that number increased by 8 percentage points for Republicans and by 10 for Democrats over the last two years.
More than 4 in 10 Republicans are also willing to describe members of the opposition party as "lazy," "immoral" and "dishonest." Democrats are about as willing to use the term "dishonest" to describe Republicans, but are less like to use "immoral" and much less likely to use "lazy."
Democrats are more likely to say that Republicans make them afraid, than Republicans are willing to say that of Democrats. But among highly engaged Republicans -- people who vote regularly and who have volunteered for or donated to a campaign -- more than 60 percent say that Democrats make them fearful.
There are few more engaged Republicans than delegates to the party's national convention.
So we have a group of people among whom a large percentage see Democrats as a threat to the nation, see Democrats as immoral and dishonest and fear what the opposition party is up to. And then, on top of that, we layer Hillary Clinton.
Clinton is not only broadly unpopular -- 91 percent of Republicans view her unfavorably in the most recent Post/ABC poll, 83 percent strongly -- but she is also viewed more negatively by the most engaged Republicans, according to Pew.
On the Pew thermometer scale, Republicans give themselves a 68-degree rating, sort of moderately warm. (Members of the military get an 89.) Republicans give atheists a 36, elected officials in Washington a 30. Democrats get a 29.
Clinton gets a 12.
Generally speaking, the equivalent numbers for Democrats aren't much different (as the graphs above show). There's a lot of frustration directed outward at the other party. Members of each are about as likely to say they identify as members of their own parties because they disagree with the other party's policies as they are to say it's because they agree with those of their own.
That anti-vote has emerged as a theme of this election cycle, and reminding viewers of the negative traits of Clinton is clearly the preferred tactic by Republicans at a convention meant to elect an equally-unpopular Donald Trump. Overlay those often emotional and often exaggerated anti-Clinton speeches with a tendency among fervent Republicans toward increased frustration, fear and (at times) disgust with her and her party -- and then put a lot of those Republicans in room together -- and: voila. The Chris Christie kangaroo court.
Describing the events of Tuesday night as somewhat inevitable is not to excuse them. It is simply to point out that the deeply atypical rhetoric being using during this convention didn't just pop into being any more than did the success of the candidate the convention nominated. The path to where we are now is not the one less traveled by.