Donald J. Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination for President of the United States last night. He then proceeded to scream at the American public for the next hour and twenty minutes. He wisely chose to use a teleprompter in his speech which let him avoid many of the pitfalls that he encounters during his extemporaneous rally style speeches. It kept him on track. It kept him from saying anything stupid. But it didn’t stop him from giving a bad speech.
The speech wasn’t uplifting in any way. In fact, it was dismaying. One Republican strategist quipped afterword that he didn’t know we were all living in Gotham City with gangs of marauders roving the streets. But even if his vision of America were true, he didn’t really offer any plan or agenda for how to stop the coming apocalypse except elect him President. That’s not vision. That’s megalomania.
The worst part about the speech was that it had nothing in it to draw American voters too him or the Republican Party except fear. Vote for us or your lives are over, seemed to be the overriding message. Most nominating speeches have an arc to them that people in the audience can follow. Most nominating speeches use uplifting positive themes that give people confidence and hope. Most nominating speeches aren’t delivered in a screaming staccato style that less resembled oratory and more resembled a lumber jack chopping down a tree. Whack! Whack! Whack! Whack! Whack!
This was the most important speech that Trump will likely (hopefully) give in his lifetime. I’m sure he is thinking this morning that it was a success. It wasn’t. He probably succeeded in solidifying the Republican base voters to get on board the Trump train, but he needed to do more than that. He needed to attract moderate and undecided voters in huge numbers. This was not the speech to do that.
Think about the last time that a successful Presidential nominee gave a convention speech advocating a change election. Barack Obama in 2008 described a country that was in dire need of a new direction. But his solutions were hopeful. They were uplifting. They were positive. It described a country that was great and would always be great but just needed a course correction. Obama gave people the confidence they needed to vote for him as the agent of that change by appealing to their intellect and the commonality we all share as Americans. Trump’s speech tried to convince us through fear and division. It was harsh. It was dark. It was brutal. It was all Trump.
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- Trump’s Apocalyptic Message To America - July 22, 2016
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- So You Say You Want A Revolution? - May 16, 2016
- How Bernie Can Win By Accepting Defeat - May 14, 2016