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Trump’s words and promises capped a strange week

After four very interesting days in Cleveland, Donald Trump on Thursday night accepted the Republican nomination for President at the party's convention. Today we offer a bit of the commentary that came out from national publications in the wake of his victory speech. Your thoughts? Email

“For an hour, at least, the GOP nominee made Cleveland normal again”

From Eliana Johnson and Tim Alberta, at the National Review

For the better part of four days, the Republican National Convention had been less about Donald Trump than about the flotsam of the Republican party left in his wake — and the attempts of its members to cobble together a life raft in the middle of an angry sea. Then, for an hour and 15 minutes on Thursday night, Trump brought a modicum of normality to the proceedings with remarks that were tightly scripted and tightly focused, even if they were delivered in a shouted staccato.

He took the stage wearing a gleaming red tie as the delegates on the floor broke out into a chant: “Trump! Trump! Trump!” Trump’s appearance, which followed a flawless introduction from his daughter Ivanka, brought an unfamiliar feeling of order to the convention, and on stage he promised to do the same for the country and the world.

He cast President Obama’s administration as the cause of the chaos that has roiled the country for the past several years, from the murder of American citizens at the hands of illegal immigrants to the assassination of law-enforcement officers on city streets. “The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end,” he said. “Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored.”

As if on cue, when a protester began to disrupt his remarks, police whisked her off the floor before the crowd could figure out what was happening. Looking down on the kerfuffle, Trump ad-libbed, “How great are our police and how great is Cleveland?” The crowd went wild. …

On the convention floor Thursday night, prior to Trump’s speech, delegates acknowledge the ongoing sense of conflict. “I think we’re fractured. I think there’s a lot of division,” says Robert Ryggs, a South Carolina delegate attending his third convention. Ryggs, who supported Cruz in the primary, says the week has been “up and down,” with a conservative platform and Mike Pence’s selection as Trump’s running mate bringing the delegates together before a roll-call vote was denied on the rules package and Cruz was booed off the convention floor.

“We would be more unified without the bully tactics of the Trump campaign and the RNC,” Ryggs says. Yet as Trump prepared to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday night, the message from his supporters to those Republicans who remain angry, embittered or on-the-fence due to his victory, was loud and clear: The GOP is moving on — with or without you.

Tony Ledbetter, a first-time delegate from Florida who volunteered for Trump during the primary campaign, argues the GOP is united “except for a small minority of people” — and says the party is better off without them. “Rubio, Bush, all these establishment insiders, I don’t care if they’re here,” Ledbetter says of his fellow Floridians, neither of whom showed up in Cleveland. “They can stay home — Romney and Kasich too. This is not their Republican party anymore.”

“The capstone event of the strangest week in politics dragged on, with seemingly no end in sight.”

By Michael Warren at the Weekly Standard

At a certain point during Donald Trump’s address to the Republican National Convention Thursday night — somewhere in between his harangue against trade deals and his praise of miners and steelworkers — a trio of Wyoming delegates sat, slightly slumped, in their seats on the convention floor. They periodically applauded, following the lead of the crowd, but by this point were scrolling through their phones.

“Twitter says he’s got 25 percent left to go,” said one delegate.

“Twenty-five minutes!?” replied another, mishearing her friend as Trump said something about renegotiating NAFTA. “How does Twitter know that?”

The omniscience of Twitter is a mystery. So was the reason why the Republican nominee for president was still talking, droning on long past primetime and long past my own ability to watch from the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena (I headed back to my seat while Trump was promising to fix the TSA). The capstone event of the strangest week in politics dragged on, with seemingly no end in sight. The filing out of the Trump family from their seats in order to join the patriarch on stage was a welcome signal the end was near. I should have told the Wyoming delegation. …

Trump began the speech with plenty of goodwill. Ivanka had delivered a well-executed introduction for her father, which built up the excitement for his arrival on the dais. When it was clear he was about to emerge, an array of smartphones were thrust into the air to capture the historic moment.

Trump’s delivery was plodding, and he hewed more closely to the script than normal for him, but the audience of delegates remained rapt for the first several minutes. It was an interruption from, of all people, the anti-war Code Pink agitator Medea Benjamin from the press gallery that did it. Trump paused in his speech as Benjamin shouted — about building bridges, not walls — before security came to take her away. Those of us in the arena closest to Benjamin decided watching her struggle to keep her banner up was more interesting than Trump’s continuing his address. After that, at least on our side of the hall, he never got back our full attention.

For the rest of the speech, the delegates in my view looked down at their phones or chatted among themselves, jumping up intermittently to clap and cheer at a Trump applause line. As I watched them listen passively to the man they had just selected to be the nominee of the party of Lincoln, it struck me they might as well have been watching the proceedings passively on the couch, in the comfort of their own homes — probably on cable news.

“It wasn’t an adolescent frenzy of self-congratulation like last Saturday’s unhinged introduction of Mike Pence”

From Frank Bruni at the New York Times

Donald Trump has said and done many offensive things during his presidential campaign, but the greatest insult was his overarching motive. With every boast about his poll numbers, every celebration of his victory margins and every sorting of the world into winners like him and losers like just about everybody else, he seemed to be on something other than a political quest or civic mission.

It was pure ego trip.

I suspect it still is. But what was most striking about his remarks on the final night of the Republican National Convention was the way in which they sought to refute that very notion.

They were much, much, much too long, as if he were trying to prove his worthiness for the presidency with sheer oratorical stamina. They rambled.

But they recognized that perhaps the tallest obstacle between him and the White House isn’t his lack of experience or even his recklessness but his epic and all-too-obvious narcissism. When Americans go to the polls, it’s not the final episode of the kind of reality show that he once starred in, nor is it the final minutes of the kind of beauty pageant that he once owned. They’re not bestowing a crown. They’re electing a leader, someone who can ideally soothe their anxieties and improve their lives.

Is Trump finally and fully getting that? His speech suggested so. It wasn’t an adolescent frenzy of self-congratulation like last Saturday’s unhinged introduction of Mike Pence as his running mate. In its straightforward, unadorned sentences, “I” ceded plenty of space to “you” and “we.”

It even went so far as to turn the tables, casting Hillary Clinton as the candidate on a gilded path of self-aggrandizement.

It’ll be fascinating to see if the makeover takes and a man who lost control of Cleveland can gain control of himself.

“Trump’s acceptance speech was the most profound indictment of America’s ruling elite to be delivered since 1980”

From George Rasley, at

Last night Donald Trump punched the corrupt and selfish elite of this country right in the nose and the crowd at the Republican National Convention and on social media across the globe gave him a standing ovation.

The establishment media and the globalist elites who own them, ahh, not so much.

The echoes in Cleveland’s Q hadn’t yet died when CNN’s panel of political “experts” began to speculate how Trump was going to “move to the center” after the speech and the New York Times’ alleged Republican columnist David Brooks pronounced the speech “dark” and “dystopian” and compared its central premises to the “the argument of nearly every demagogue since the dawn of time,” including Senator Joe McCarthy.

To her credit CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash told it like it was in the hall as Trump spoke; the audience, she said, was “mesmerized.”

For those of us who were there, it was mesmerizing. But probably not for the reasons that Ms. Bash thought.

Donald Trump’s acceptance speech was the most profound indictment of America’s ruling elite to be delivered since 1980 when Ronald Reagan took the stage

The emotional appeal of Donald Trump’s message on the devastating effects of illegal immigration on real Americans is something for which Hillary Clinton has no counter, just as she has no counter to the emotional appeal of the law and order message when its face is the wives and children of murdered police officers.

The establishment media no doubt sees Donald Trump’s message as dystopian and dark because it promises an end to the disastrous vision for America that they have helped Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton impose upon an increasingly hard-pressed and restive citizenry.

We found in Donald Trump’s acceptance speech the first glimmer of hope for the restoration of our country and the real change we’ve been campaigning for: My message is that things have to change and they have to change right now. Every day I wake up determined to deliver a better life for the people all across this nation that had been ignored, neglected and abandoned.

Last night Donald Trump showed us that he understands what needs to be done, now it is up to us to build the conservative – populist coalition that can win this election and then make sure, as conservatives did after they elected Ronald Reagan, that Donald Trump fulfills the long list of promises he made last night.

”It is impossible to imagine anyone else giving an acceptance speech so disconnected from anything in the American political tradition.”

From Jeff Greenfield, at Politico

It was a speech perfectly suited to the nominee. It was a speech utterly unconnected to anything we have ever heard from any previous nominee. It was, then, exactly what we should have expected from this most unexpected of candidates.

Most American presidential nominees — indeed, most convention speakers — pay homage to outsized figures of the nation’s past, even some from the other side of the spectrum. House Speaker Paul Ryan, as did countless others in Cleveland, paid homage to Ronald Reagan. Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence told the assembled Republicans that “the heroes of my youth were President John F. Kennedy and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Ronald Reagan himself, back in 1980, quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt. In past conventions, the Founding Fathers were invoked, or inspirational party leaders of the past, or some link to the heritage of party or country.

And Donald Trump? In his speech, there was no thread of any kind linking him to past American greats, no sense that he is following any tradition. Indeed, in one of the best-received lines of the speech, he told us, of our “rigged” system: “I alone can fix it.” Fix it with his own party’s leadership in Congress, or with an aroused populace? No. “I alone can fix it.”

In so many other ways, Trump presented himself as a man alone, imbued with the power to do what no other person or institution can do. Consider how he described his visits to “the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country. People who work hard but no longer have a voice.

“I am your voice.”

In this declaration—repeated at the end of the speech — Trump defined himself as a bedrock figure in American culture: the figure who faces danger alone, who follows his own code of conduct. He is Gary Cooper, standing alone against the Miller Gang in Hadleyville. To be more precise, and more contemporary, he is the man who uses his great wealth to protect the powerless from evil: He’s Bruce Wayne as Batman, Tony Stark as Ironman.

In this speech, we have finally seen the answer to the perplexing question of just what political philosophy Donald Trump embraces. It is Caesarism: belief in a leader of great strength who, by force of personality, imposes order on a land plagued by danger. If you want to know why Trump laid such emphasis on “law and order” — using Richard Nixon’s 1968 rhetoric in a country where violent crime is at a 40-year low — it is because nations fall under the sway of a Caesar only when they are engulfed by fear. And the subtext of this acceptance speech was: be afraid; be very afraid.

It is impossible to imagine anyone else giving an acceptance speech so disconnected from anything in the American political tradition. Whether voters see that departure as a cause for celebration or worry may help decide what happens in November.