We witnessed something extraordinary tonight. It started with Ivanka Trump, who proved to be a remarkable speaker, like her siblings only older and more polished. She did a terrific job. Is there a Senate seat we could put her up for? Like her father, Ivanka’s message was mixed: along with her conservative, populist main themes were startling suggestions of new and bigger government programs. But the overwhelming impression was positive, to say the least.
Then came Donald, a force of nature. The man’s sheer energy is the most lasting impression. At 70 years old, he spoke, vigorously, for something like 75 minutes. The contrast with the increasingly frail Hillary Clinton, who is plagued by a persistent cough and disappears for days at a time, apparently to recover from the rigors of campaigning, was obvious. After forty-five minutes, I was ready to pronounce Trump’s speech great, but he kept talking. If his speech had been 20 or 25 minutes shorter, it would have been a political classic.
Still, it was an excellent night for Trump. To begin with, he demonstrated that he can deliver a well-crafted speech and stay on message. There were no random riffs, no weird digressions. Trump knew his speech, and didn’t need a teleprompter to deliver it. His message was powerful, hitting on one populist theme after another–law and order, terrorism, Hillary’s incompetence, economic stagnation, illegal immigration, cronyism, trade, and so on. His attacks on Mrs. Clinton were devastating. Have we ever seen a Republican presidential candidate so willing to take the gloves off? Not during my lifetime.
The press will spin this one feverishly, but their only realistic hope is that not too many people were watching. It was a great night for Donald Trump and the Republican Party–if, as always, you assume that Trump represents what we have thought of as Republicanism.
I probably will have more to say tomorrow after reviewing the text of Trump’s speech, but that is enough for the moment. For now, Trump deserves our congratulations, and perhaps our awe at his sheer stamina.