The bar was low, and Donald Trump cleared it.
After days at one of the most mismanaged conventions in recent history — and less than 24 hours after his rival Ted Cruz refused to endorse him — the Republican nominee delivered an impassioned and conventional plea to restore to America “the respect that we deserve.”
But even the most competent, professional, pre-written and telepromptered address of Trump’s career couldn’t free him from his demographic and partisan cul de sac. It was the Trump stump on steroids. The most important speech of the candidate’s life began with an inviting crossover appeal to Blue America — and ended up as a standard red-meat message to his overwhelmingly white base.
It was a raw, at times powerful, at times meandering — and really, really long — monotone broadcast of the pessimism that unites his divided party: build the wall on the Mexico border, restore “law and order” in America’s bloody inner cities, fight Hillary Clinton’s (phantom) effort to “abolish” the Second Amendment, destroy ISIL without deploying troops.
Whether it will be enough to help the most unpopular presidential nominee in modern history to move beyond his base remains very much in doubt.
Here are five takeaways.
1. What a bummer. Trump’s closest advisers often compare him to Ronald Reagan. But the candidate who took the stage Thursday night was less the sunny President Ronnie who summoned the optimism to rally a dispirited country in 1980 than the dour California governor of the 1960s whose dark vision of national decay earned him a gloomier-than-Dick-Nixon reputation. Read more at Politico.