Skip to main content

Trump nails convention speech and America’s mood

Written By | Jul 22, 2016

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2016 — Network pundits decreed Donald Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention “dark” and “demagogic.” It appealed to our fears, not our better angels.

The convention was a failure, a divided and incoherent hate-fest; Rachel Maddow even had to provide trigger warnings.

More conservative commentators found many of the speeches effective, especially Trump’s. The convention and Trump’s speech served their purpose: They will launch Trump to victory.

Even Michael Moore had to agree.

Donald Trump sells himself at the GOP Convention

The Washington Post called Trump “the candidate of the apocalypse.” According to Gallup, only 17 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going, 12 percent lower than last month’s figure. The Post says that is because the public realizes that Trump could win the election; he is “belligerent and erratic,” and he won the GOP nomination “by inflaming public angst, so as to exploit it.”

President Obama says that things are not nearly as bad in America as Trump says they are. When Americans woke up this morning, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and life goes on. Obama shared some statistics: crime rates are lower today than they were during Reagan’s term in office. The economy continues to improve.

Conservatives respond that over the past seven years, and in the last year in particular, race relations have worsened. Policemen are being killed at an alarming rate, ISIS has expanded their lone wolf type attacks around the world, and despite the numbers, the economy still doesn’t feel right to regular Americans.

Which is it? Are things getting better, or are they worse?

Trump says “worse.”  He considers security the primary concern. He says that people in many areas simply don’t feel safe. In Trump’s America, people are afraid when they travel, when they attend large events, and even when simply walking to a car at night or through urban centers.

According to Trump, this is because Americans don’t think that the government is focused on protecting them. The local police are reluctant to intervene in many situations, air travel feels less secure, and Americans feel less safe.

The Obama Administration argues that the perception isn’t reality. Trump argues that it is, and decisive action is required. The argument that this is only a perception issue is a two-edged sword; perceptions of growing police brutality against blacks, rates of sexual assault, and rates of deaths in mass shootings have drawn liberal demands for action, since no one should have to be afraid.

We don’t just need the odds to be in our favor; we need to have confidence that we really are secure. That means letting the police do their jobs and taking more aggressive action against our enemies. Trump believes that we are indeed at war, and security is crucial.

The New York Times says that “Trump’s campaign of fear” is designed “to terrify voters into supporting him.” The Times says that Trump “offered no solutions beyond his messianic portrayal of himself.”

Conservatives say that Trump “nailed it” with his acceptance speech.  Rather than looking at the world through delusional, rose-colored glasses, Trump has tapped into the true feelings of Americans, and those feelings need to be addressed. He emphasized safety after citing statistics that show increases in violent crime in our major cities, a 50 percent increase in numbers of police officers killed, and a vast increase in illegal immigration so far this year.

Trump also cited Americans’ economic fears, particularly those employed in manufacturing. For most people, the Affordable Care Act has increased the cost of health care and reduced the choices for care. He cited national security fears; ISIS has expanded, the Iran deal looks one-sided for Iran, and relations with Russia and China have worsened.

Gay, Republican and American: Culture war and the RNC

“The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.”

Donald Trump has struck a chord with American voters. He correctly understands the fear they feel at home and when they travel, the lack of opportunity they have seen since Obama took office,  the loss of freedom they have felt under Obama, and the burden of regulations which are counter-productive and costly to taxpayers.

Donald Trump has identified the major concerns of many American voters. Obama’s policies and the policies supported by Hillary Clinton are geared to curing perceived social injustices that primarily affect the lowest 15 percent of income earners, but they’ve left the rest afraid of where the country is going.

He is short on specifics, except to say that he will gather the best talent to find solutions, but Trump clearly relates to the American voter, rather than trying to paint a rosy, inaccurate picture. He nailed it in his speech and he hopes that is the next step to propel him to victory in November.

Michael Busler

Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics. He has written Op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.