After a non-stop three days in Cleveland, the Republican National Convention entered its final day. The main event, the one we had all been waiting for. Donald Trump would have the floor on what was going to be a historic day for American politics.
Like father, not like daughter
Following a morning and an afternoon of reflection on the week that was, attention turned back the Quicken Loans Arena and the final evening of the Cleveland based convention. Following further pro-Trump endorsements and passionate, at times frenzied, deliveries, Trump’s eldest daughter gave the final warm up act. She was of course the last of Trump’s children to speak at the convention. Four of Trump’s five children spoke across the weak. The only omitted Trump offspring was 10-year-old Barron, although he made an appearance later on (we will come to that).
As Ivanka, 34, walked out in front of the packed out delegate floor and the filling upper stalls of the Q, the pressure was on to fire up the crowd and deliver a powerful message to the American people. Her speech was a model example of public speaking. Throughout her tone remained on point and clear, whilst her pauses in speech gave the audience an opportunity to engage with what she was saying.
The penultimate speech at the convention is typically set up to propel the crowd into a state of enthused delirium before introducing the presidential candidate. This speech was different, but served the purpose that was needed at this convention. Ivanka’s father would need no help in sending the crowd wild. Her challenge was to engage the typically excluded demographics. Females and minority groups for example. Ivanka’s speech resonated with the audience and also included a unique element of note.
The H and C words have been at the forefront of every speech and the majority of pro-Trump merchandise. Of course I am referring to Hillary and Clinton. As many have said, the Republican vote can be seen as anti-Hillary not pro-Trump in nature. View Ivanka’s speech and you will see no sign of the word Hillary or Clinton. Hers is not the place to preach political hatred and a lot of her fellow RNC speakers should have followed suit. Although this is how many Republicans feel the White House can be won.
To see a Republican Convention floor applaud statements over closing the gender pay gap and women’s rights in the work place was a notable moment. After a composed speech that unlike lots of this week deserves genuine credit, Ivanka greeted her father to the stage.
Sticking to the script
Campaign trail speeches from Donald Trump are a common place for a few things. His slogan “Make America Great Again”, an attempt to interrupt the speech from a protester, a controversial line or two and a large amount of off-script moments. At the RNC we had three of these four and it was probably not the one you expected.
There was just 10 off-script moments when comparing the script that was released on Thursday with a transcript of his speech at the Q. Now that is not really a great deal of ad-lib although it delivered some of Trump’s most emotive and poignant moments.
The Wall Street journal has made a great article showing the 10 occasions that Trump improvised. Examples of fine adjustment include when responding to crowd chants of “Lock her (Hillary) up! Lock her up!” Trump with smugness stated “Let’s beat her in November, okay?”. Moreover, when discussing the rights of LGTBQ American’s, the Orlando terrorist attack and it targeting of the LGTBQ community he said: “No good, and we’re going to stop it.” Seconds later he also added: “Believe me. And I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.” Good Trump ad-lib.
He even managed to create some laughter at his own misfortune when coming onto religious groups: “I’ll tell you what, the support that they’ve given me, and I’m not sure I totally deserve it”. Funny Trump ad-lib.
Of course he would not miss an opportunity to use this speech to dig at the media, even if it wasn’t in the script: “they said Trump does not have a chance of being here tonight, not a chance, the same people. Oh, we love defeating those people, don’t we? Don’t we love defeating those people? Love it. Love it. Love it.” Typical Trump ad-lib.
But for the most part Trump read from the script to deliver his message to the nation. His speech delivered plenty of anti-Obama, anti-Hillary and anti-establishment rhetoric. On this I am left a little perplexed. Here is a guy that his built himself up at the core of the establishment. Making deals and millions along the way. My American colleagues inform me it is a mystery to them as well.
On the subject of protests, despite all the procedures in place an individual still got their message to the fore in the heat of the speech. A sign citing “Build bridges, not walls” saw the person in question swiftly ejected from the venue.
Show us some substance
Overall Trump’s message encapsulated what the previous three days of the convention had delivered. The only issue is we expected it from Trump. Hopes had been that the earlier parts of the convention would open up the Republican plan to succeed in November. From what I gather the message is clearly one of fear, fright and Hillary is not presidential material.
Trump’s speech delivered a utopia of America. A country with booming business, better living standards for all, unmatched equality and a stern fist in the face of terrorism. Whilst no-one in America would argue against this vision for the country, Trump delivered no hint of how he would achieve this.
I have come to conclude that conventions are not the place where details of campaign policy are delivered. Rather a great sense of inevitability and attention seeking from the powerhouses of politics.
Turn out the lights
Trump ended as expected with his campaign slogan before welcoming his full family to the stage including young Barron. The Pence’s even got some stage time after a solitary mention in Trump’s record-breaking speech. His stage time was the longest convention speech since 1972.
Once the Trump and friends delegation posed for photos, cue the music and cue an unnecessary quantity of red, white and blue balloons. The convention was over. Time for the media to write their stories, the security services to lower their barriers and the Trump campaign to begin its trail around the country.