Rhetorical Recap: I, Trump

Fourth Night of the Republican Convention, Cleveland OH July 21, 2016

NOTE: These observations are based on my impressions from being inside Quicken Loans Arena, not from watching on television.


Donald J. Trump does not have a dream.  He is your voice.  He alone can fix it.

“It” being American politics and government.

He will work with “the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country.”  But not, apparently, with Congress, the courts, the states, the counties and cities, the Republican party, the private sector, non-profit organizations, and citizens in their assemblies and associations.  They all went unmentioned, unless it was to denigrate them as politicians and special interests, or target them as beneficiaries of his intended largesse.

He can do this.  Is he not the man who restored much of Manhattan where other politicians failed?  Is he not the man who, according to his daughter Ivanka, as “the people’s champion,” tore stories out of the newspaper to help individuals he’d never met and empowered them to feel that life could be great again? (No such person was named or described.) And is he not the man who stands before this convention, his name emblazoned in gargantuan superhero font, having defeated all who ran against him despite the predictions of the experts?

He lacks armies of supporters who salute him, march for him, and perform auxiliary tasks in the name of law and order and population purification.  He does have a sizeable following who wear branded paraphernalia, shout slogans, and heed his word –as when he hushed a “lock her up” chant by waving his hands and saying “Let’s defeat her in November.”  A good moment, that.

So I am inclined at this point to compare him less with Hitler and more with Peron and Chavez in his dictatorial approach.

The wayward course of the first three nights and the weeks before them called for him to stick to a script and itemize his policy prescriptions in contrast to his general election opponent.  This, he did.

“The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America First. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.”  

He caught (arranged for?) a big dramatistic break when a protester began yelling.  She was quickly subdued while he waited silently, and then said “How great are our police?” Mic drop moment.

He reached out once again to Bernie Sanders voters.  She’s corrupt, the system is rigged, that’s why Sanders never had a chance.  “But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest issue: trade.”

In one of a handful of brief departures from the script, he attempted to patch up the elite reaction to his comments Wednesday about US obligations to NATO, taking oblique credit for recent stiffening of troop commitments to the eastern borders even as he reaffirmed his insistence that other members pay their fair share of the military costs.

He promised quick, almost instantaneous improvements to American life, from overhauling trade agreements into a series of bilateral easily read deals, to building the wall, replacing Justice Scalia with a like-minded nominee, fixing TSA airport performances, and returning the favor done to him by evangelicals in the primaries with a push to repeal the 1954 provision barring tax-exempt churches from political advocacy.

In closing:

“America is a nation of believers, dreamers, and strivers that is being led by a group of censors, critics, and cynics.  Remember: all of the people telling you that you can’t have the country you want, are the same people telling you that I wouldn’t be standing here tonight. No longer can we rely on those elites in media, and politics, who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place.

“Instead, we must choose to Believe In America.”

My personal thanks to my hosts Taras Szmagala and Helen Jarem, the security officials from across the country who stood on every street corner with weapons sheathed and a willingness to engage visitors in easy conversation, and the wonderful people of Cleveland Ohio, who make America great every day through their civic spirit, good works, and congeniality.

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