Donald Trump used his acceptance speech to reinforce the themes that catapulted him to the Republican presidential nomination. Anyone who hoped to see a softer, more introspective side of Trump were disappointed.
Speaking for more than an hour, Trump seized on the themes that dominate the much of the news cycle: law and order, safety and terrorism. He reinforced his vision of securing America’s borders with a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. And he tried to tie these problems to policies pursued by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
Trump had an enthusiastic audience inside the arena at the Republican National Convention. But with divisions still apparent within the Republican Party over the nomination battle, Trump’s message was aimed at the large number of undecided voters who disapprove of both major candidates.
After Trump’s RNC Speech, Hillary and Her Party Should Be Running Scared
Douglas E. Schoen – Fox News
What Trump did, and he did it very well, was to raise the stakes of the election and define it in his own terms. Law and order, crime in the streets, and terror….that these challenges were the central ones America faced and that given the failures of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his way of change was the only way to go….
It was necessarily more non-partisan than traditional Republican speeches. Trump did not harp on Republicanism or conservatism…Trump was speaking to commonsense, American concerns about safety and security, primarily, though not exclusively, of the working and middle class white Americans…
It will be interesting to see how Secretary Clinton responds…she needs to address the issues of law and order, safety, and security, as well as terrorism, in the way that Trump presented them given the challenges that we are all facing as Americans.
Trump and the Unknowable Moment
Peggy Noonan – The Wall Street Journal
Donald Trump’s speech was important. He is a vivid figure and for a year has elicited strong reactions. By now he’s exhausting. We have Trump Fatigue. Also, who doesn’t know how he feels about him? His acceptance speech was an opportunity to break through in a new way and flesh out his purpose. I think he succeeded, though with a certain grimness. He’d probably reply that the times are grim.
It was not an eloquent speech, not lofty, very plain and blunt. It covered a lot of territory and went too long. It had no leavening humor. It is strange to see a New Yorker so uninterested in wit. It was at points too hyped and declarative, and it was sometimes grandiose.
But it was powerful.
Donald Trump’s Un-American Acceptance Speech
Franklin Foer – Slate
The sense of crisis is everything for Trump—even if it’s largely invented. His depiction of darkness justifies his candidacy, the need to violently shake the system. His ability to conjure fear is what distinguished him from all those career pols he has vanquished. And it suits his ego….
There was a strangely foreign quality to Trump’s address, despite its overt nationalism. He didn’t ground his narrative in American history; he didn’t invoke any leaders or episodes from the national past. Indeed, he didn’t even mention the troops in uniform, a stock trope of acceptance speeches. Although he repeatedly led the crowd in chanting USA, USA, there was little sense of American exceptionalism…
In Cleveland, the GOP’s ‘Come-to-Trump’ Moment
Byron York – Washington Examiner
Trump’s speech generally followed the themes his campaign mapped out for each night of the convention — make America safe again, make America work again, make America first again and make America one again. But Trump’s strongest moments — and by far the passages that won the most enthusiastic response from the audience — focused on safety and security….
This is impressionistic, but there seemed to be an unmistakable enthusiasm deficit in the convention’s first three days….That changed with Trump’s appearance on Thursday. At the very least, the RNC finally had a lot of happy customers. The (vastly) bigger question, of course, is what those millions watching on TV thought.
Did they see darkness and anger, as the commentariat did? Or did they see an extraordinary political performer with the potential to actually fix the nation’s problems?
Replaying Richard Nixon: Donald Trump’s Law and Order Appeal
John Judis – Talking Points Memo
Nixon’s law-and-ordeal appeal probably helped him win the election in 1968. In that era, the electorate was almost entirely white, and voters with only a high school education made up a large percent of the electorate, and Democrats won many elections because their support was inversely proportion to income and education – in other words, Democrats won most of white working class votes. To win a presidential election, a Republican had to cut into this margin.
In 1968, the nation was actually in turmoil. There had been five major ghetto riots in the year prior to the Republican convention, including riots in Detroit and Newark and Washington D.C. Violent crime rates were soaring. And protests against the Vietnam war were growing larger and more confrontational. Nixon could appeal to a great number of “forgotten Americans” – the “non-shouters,” the “non-demonstrators” – for support….
The times now are different.