'Dark' Trump Speech 'Will Be Famous or Infamous'

Some say it was a 'lost opportunity'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2016 4:22 AM CDT
Updated Jul 22, 2016 6:05 AM CDT

(Newser) – Foes and fans alike can agree on one thing about Donald Trump's big speech at the GOP convention: It was really, really long. According to C-SPAN, the 76-minute acceptance speech was the longest since at least 1972. The speech—in which Trump portrayed America as a very troubled place and himself as the man to fix it—was a lot less uplifting than the typical acceptance speech, analysts say, though it certainly met with approval from the crowd at the Quicken Loans Arena. A roundup of reactions:

  • Critics said the speech "offered a gloomy, forbidding vision to a nation that prides itself on optimism," writes Niall Stanage at the Hill, but it was good enough to stabilize the GOP as the spotlight turns to Hillary Clinton, and it ended a messy convention on a positive note.
  • Trump gave the crowd what it wanted: "a command performance of the tough-talking, details-free approach that won him the nomination in the first place," writes Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post, who decides the speech probably helped Trump, though undecided voters might not agree with his "deeply dystopian and dark" perception of America in 2016.

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  • Democratic and Republican speechwriters alike were "stupefied" by Trump's failure to use the speech to tell his own story. "It's a lost opportunity," says former George W. Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer, who had been expecting anecdotes that would make the candidate seem like less of a caricature. "A little humanity and self-reflection is usually very powerful in a speech," he says.
  • The "raw, at times powerful, at times meandering" address was the Trump "stump speech on steroids," and while it was easily "the most competent, professional, pre-written and telepromptered address of Trump's career," it's not going to do much to expand his voter base, writes Glenn Thrush at Politico.
  • "Give him credit for this: @realDonaldTrump is a dark, disturbed man & he sees in the country what he sees in the mirror," tweeted former Mitt Romney speechwriter Stuart Stevens.
  • This was "probably the best speech he could have given," writes Marc Ambinder at the Week, who believes it was aimed squarely at angry white working-class voters in the Rust Belt—a group that could hand Trump the presidency. "If he can motivate a million more people across five states to vote and a million fewer people in another five states to stay home—Donald Trump can win," he writes.
  • Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight believes it's too early to say how the speech will play out. "This speech will either be famous or infamous for many years to come," he writes, adding that "Trump could become president, obviously. Or he could lose by 15 points."
  • The Washington Post notes that in a "radical departure" from the speeches of previous GOP nominees, Trump didn't mention God or his faith once—and in a sign of rapidly changing attitudes, the RNC audience cheered when he vowed to "protect our LGBTQ citizens."
  • Hillary Clinton's campaign said Trump wasn't offering answers, but just "more fear, more division, more anger, more hate." "America is better than Donald Trump," campaign spokesman John Podesta said. "Next week in Philadelphia, Democrats will focus on issues, not anger," he said. "We'll offer a positive vision for the future based on lifting America up, not tearing Americans down."
(Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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