Trump’s speech

Read lots of good stuff after Trump’s speech and I’ve been meaning to post my favorites.  I love Jamelle Bouie’s succinct take that Trump is basically a scam artist:

The point is not to give the public an accurate sense of its safety. The point is to paint a picture of disorder and violence, to scare Americans into flocking under Trump’s banner. And to that end, he has crafted a demagogic speech of lies, misrepresentations, and plain, unadulterated bullshit.

Consider this, another “fact” from Trump’s address: “Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.”

This is the first of Trump’s dubious assertions of immigrant crime. And it’s nonsense, a “fact” without provenance beyond the nativist and white supremacist websites that form the fetid swamps of the internet…

The whole speech was a trash heap of falsehoods. At one point, Trump claimed that Obama had almost doubled the national debt. It actually increased from $11.1 trillion to $19.2 trillion. He described an America of record unemployment and disadvantage. Even granting the decline in labor force participation, there are more Americans working now than at any point in the past 10 years, with two years of the strongest private sector job growth since the 1990s. He attacked the administration’s Iran deal for giving the nation “$150 billion” (false). He accused Obama and Hillary Clinton of opening the United States to “massive refugee flows” (false) and suggested there’s no screening of refugees (also false)…

Scam. This gets to the essential truth of Trump’s speech. The world as described by Trump doesn’t exist. The Trump as described by Trump doesn’t exist. As a businessman, Donald Trump’s career is defined by failure, fraud, and mismanagement. He has little knowledge of domestic and foreign affairs and shows little interest in the basic work of running a campaign, much less serving as president. Remove family members and employees from the mix, and there’s no one in Trump’s orbit—not ghostwriters, not business associates, not former contractors—who will attest to any of the qualities he claimed onstage tonight. The prototypical Trump story isn’t the success of some municipal project; it is theft: from small businesses, from ordinary investors, from desperate students. [emphases mine]

Ezra Klein’s take was, of course, spot-on and hits on many similar points, though with a different frame:

Donald Trump is not a candidate the American people would turn to in normal times. He’s too inexperienced, too eccentric, too volatile, too risky. Voting Trump is burning down the house to collect the insurance money — you don’t do it unless things are really, really bad.

Here is Trump’s problem: Things are not really, really bad. In fact, things are doing much better than when President Obama came into office…

So Trump needs to convince voters that things are bad, even if they’re not. He needs to make Americans afraid again. And tonight, he tried…

As Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for Obama, wrote on Twitter, this was Trump’s “Nightmare in America” speech. The address had one goal, and one goal only: to persuade Americans that their country is a dangerous, besieged hellscape, and only Donald Trump can fix it.

Here’s the part I really love:

Perhaps the night’s ugliest moment came when he spoke of Sarah Root, a college student killed by a drunk driver who was also an unauthorized immigrant. “I’ve met Sarah’s beautiful family,” Trump said. “But to this administration, their amazing daughter was just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting. One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders.”

For the record, almost 10,000 people were killed in America by drunk drivers in 2010 — the overwhelming majority of them by American citizens. Trump had neither answers for nor interest in their deaths.

And it is when you tug on these threads that Trump’s speech unspools and its grossness, and uselessness, becomes clear.

And, finally, Yglesias on the intellectual barrenness of Trump’s “law and order” focus:

Donald Trump devoted all of one sentence to his solution for what he cited as the biggest problem facing the nation in his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination:

I will work with, and appoint, the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country to get the job done.

 That’s it.

For a candidate who just delivered an entire high-profile speech on the supposedly sky-high crime rates in the US, he doesn’t seem to have very many ideas about fixing them…

On the economy and foreign policy, Trump at least has a handful of terrible ideas. On crime, he has none whatsoever. He sort of vaguely implies that Black Lives Matter protests are causing crime, but even if that’s true, Trump isn’t (I hope) going to eliminate the First Amendment, so he can’t stop people from criticizing the police if they want to…

Trump is too lazy to be president

Law and order is Trump’s signature theme. Crime is out of control. And here, again, is his plan in its entirety:

I will work with, and appoint, the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country to get the job done.

An easy excuse for Trump would be to say that he doesn’t have anything more substantive to say because crime control is overwhelmingly a state and local matter in the United States. That’s true, but it’s also inadequate…

The reason Trump doesn’t have anything to say about any of this is that he’s too lazy to look into it and come up with anything. And that’s why even his one lame idea — hire the best people and work with them — can’t be counted on. The president really does have to do a lot of hiring of people and a lot of managing of the interagency and intergovernmental process, and, like a lot of presidential stuff, it can all get a little tedious.

Trump can’t be bothered. And it’s frightening. Much more frightening than anything happening recently with the crime rate.

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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