I read the advance text of Donald Trump’s speech before he took the stage. Trump remained remarkably disciplined, rarely varying from the script. It’s by far the best performance of a teleprompter speech Trump has ever given. Even during a brief interruption by protesters, Trump kept his composure and his mouth shut.
With the exception of the ill-considered policies opposing free trade, if any other Republican candidate made this speech, it would be a knockout. It’s honestly the most terrific, finest, greatest speech I’ve read/heard in quite a while (and the crowd reacted very energetically)–and Trump was very well suited to give it.
If the speech could run for president, it would win hands down.
Except there’s no bifurcating Trump from his speeches (“I alone can fix it”). It’s a package deal: If we like what Trump says from the podium, we have to buy Cheeto Jesus along with it. We have to buy a man who is variously described by people who spent significant time with him as a sociopath. We have to buy a man who told more lies in campaign speeches than the fact checkers could keep up with.
We have to buy a man whose ideas of good and bad aren’t tethered to objective transcendent morality, but to the relative merits of “winning” and “losing.” We have to buy a man who would only uphold Article 5 of the NATO treaty–the 47 year mutual defense pact with Europe–if he decides they haven’t fulfilled their obligations to us.
But this race is so much different than practically any other race before. It’s the confluence of technology, social networking, mass media, celebrity, and an insatiable demagogue who knows how to build his own brand.
There is nothing about Trump I can cite as qualifying him for the power of the presidency, and hundreds of reasons that he should be disqualified. If only we could hire a national government general manager to do the job of president and make Trump the titular head of state. I pine for a parliamentary system so we can hand the real power to Paul Ryan for four years.
I know I’m writing as if Trump could win. All the polls show him losing, and losing big. But let me say this: Trump’s message resonates. I mean it really resonates. All the drama, all the build-up, all the poor staging, awkward mistakes, unpredictability, gaffes, malapropisms, plagiarism, and contention only heightens the impact of the message.
The Democrats, and frumpy old Hillary, are never going to be able to compete with Trump’s message, with any group of Americans. The only hope the Democrats have is that Trump remains Trump–scary as hell, beyond all reason. His unscripted (or hastily added at the last minute) reversal on his dangerous comments on NATO mark the start of this non-scary version of “Presidential DT.”
If Trump remains The Donald, bat-guano crazy–a jerk who destroys other people, mocks the disabled, attacks wives and fathers of his rivals, and dementedly dances on the graves of the vanquished, there is absolutely no way he can win in November.
If Trump makes tonight the stake in the ground where he starts sticking to the message, and spends then next three months living tonight’s speech, Trump will win.
He will win because the message resonates with regular people who just want to live their lives and know someone is taking care of the big picture. He will win because the Democrats’ nanny state is unworkable, unsellable, and dangerous. He will win because people don’t want the government up all in their business every single day. Even social justice activists have to admit they’d rather have law and order than chaos–and Hillary will bring chaos.
I can’t support Trump, but I can definitely get behind his speech tonight. If the speech wins, and we get Trump along with it, at least it won’t be Hillary. God help America either way.