The lugenpresse has been effective in demonizing Trump, or at least they have earnestly tried, using all the obvious MSM broadcasts and newspapers, but also online channels of propaganda such as AOL and Yahoo. Obviously this won’t work on me, being the first journalist (okay, blogger) to predict the rise of the Donald prior to his announcement, and to offer an unqualified positive assessment of his prospects. My prescient scribbling was published online on May 24th. That was entitled “Taking Trump Seriously,” a title which was inadvertently recycled for the long piece in Rolling Stone the other week. The difference being that their article demonstrably did not take Trump seriously, insofar as the Rolling Stone agenda was to mock the (perceived) shallowness of Trump. Granted, their tone was a bit more respectful than one may have previously expected.
Aside from all the print and online analysis, in Dallas on September 14th, it was time to see the real thing, to experience the self-abandon of thousands of raucous Texans in a political rally. This would be a speech that perhaps had the tinge of an historic event. It could be the last gasp of healthy political expression, or the genesis of an exuberant political ascendance. After the rally, the latter seems more plausible than ever. The Trump hath cometh.
The atmosphere was tense outside the convention center. Police were out in force. A woman dressed in American flag printed apparel and a bandana set the tone by waving a placard and yelling in a forceful tone to the arriving attendees, “Thank you Donald Trump for talking about issues that need to be talked about.” This woman was on fire emotionally.
I later learned that there were hundreds of protestors to the north of the convention center, which would make some vulnerable elderly couples jittery on the walk to their cars after the event. “I hope we don’t get killed,” remarked a woman seated behind me, facetious, yet betraying some real concern. The dynamic of protestors versus attendees (though the attendees outnumbered the protestors by many magnitudes) created a subtext to the event in my mind. It was as though this augured some larger civil conflict to be carried out on a greater scale at a future date.
One could divine a symbolic significance to the drama outside the convention center, and certainly an air of “revolution,” as Mr. Trump himself referred to the political movement (and countermovement) behind his candidacy. He also opined that his new “silent majority” is now “the noisy, the aggressive, the wanting-to-win majority.” Certainly there was evidence of an aggressive tone in the audience on Monday night; though to be clear, this was a thoroughly virtuous, patriotic assemblage of Americans. God fearing Americans, might I add, as after all this was in Texas.
When Trump walked out, even at a distance one sensed the dignity and singularity of his person, as he slowly and almost ponderously made his way to the podium. He is rather of a formidable build, which perhaps does not come through on television.
Trump’s well known wit was on full display Monday night. The audience of 20,000 was really in stitches throughout the first twenty minutes or so of the 90 minute speech. The best line: After Trump promised that were he elected, we’d have victories “coming out of our ears,” he went on to clarify that this was in no way a reference to menstruation: “Nose, ears, eyes, those are the only places I’m talking about.” Hilarity ensued.
The most impactful section of the speech was clearly on the subject of immigration. The Donald said something simple, along the lines of “we need to stop illegal immigration.” There wasn’t even a particular emphatic note in his voice, and yet there was a spontaneous and sustained standing ovation. One could sense that this was the issue that most united the crowd. This point was reinforced as Trump referred to this “anchor baby crap” and laid out in detail the absurdity of such a policy in terms that certainly no other politician would dare do. They come over to have the baby “on our side,” he exclaimed. Imagine that: “us,” “ours.” These are pronouns that imply “the other,” a forbidden concept in our times of borderless world citizenship. On this note, there was a point at which Trump offered the caveat that he “loves the Mexican people.” There was a light smattering of applause. It was much less applause on this point in Dallas than at other venues, I noted.
The effort to sink Trump on his “sexist” remarks clearly was not effective amongst this crowd. As Trump declared that he “cherished women” and would do so much for women’s health issues, many females erupted in applause, standing up and waving their arms while vocalizing their approval. Somehow I doubt Ms. Fiorina, the lady with the face in question, could provoke such a reaction.
I would recommend for anyone to attend a Trump speech if they have a chance. I heard a middle aged woman behind me remark, “This is a historic event,” and it did feel as such. The main takeaway was that Trump is indeed a powerful speaker and a formidable presence in any forum. His voice boomed through the loudspeakers with such force as to dispel any doubt that a man his age has the dynamism to see out a presidential campaign to the finish—indeed to a triumphant conclusion. Mr. Trump simply radiates vigor and vitality, this much is undeniable. Also, keep in mind that he has a debate on Wednesday. A lesser man would seek to rest his voice, to rest in general. One gets the impression that rest does not even cross Mr. Trump’s mind.
I will concede to his critics that the lack of organization in his speeches can be slightly discombobulating. Some structure would help produce a kind of narrative arc which would iron out an otherwise impressive, yet organizationally undisciplined speech. But as Trump himself points out, no one wants to show up to hear him read a speech. That epiphany, in regards to the psychology of his audience, is perhaps part of what has led to his wild success. Some speculate it could be his undoing. Based on Monday night, though, my feeling is that they should not hold their breath.
Malcolm Unwell is a lachrymose chronicler of America gone wrong. Contact him.