Winners and losers in Republican Convention

July 22, 2016 6:28 pm

That’s a wrap. The most unpredictable and newsy political convention
in at least four decades is in the books. Donald Trump’s speech
dominated the night, of course, but there was plenty of other fodder,
too. Here is a take on the best and the worst from yesterday.

Winners

Ivanka Trump:
Everyone expected Ivanka to be good. After all, she’s spent most of her
life in the spotlight and shown, time and again, that she is entirely
comfortable there. But, even with those lofty expectations, Ivanka
soared past them in her speech introducing her father. She was poised.
She was confident. And, most of all, she was on message. Ivanka spent
the bulk of her speech rebutting the idea that her father has a woman
problem. She touted his “gender neutral” approach to hiring. She told
stories of how he encouraged her, as a young girl, to think big. She
recalled how he would send her sketches of buildings and tell her he
couldn’t wait until she would be building them alongside him. And,
Ivanka did it all without savaging Hillary Clinton or Democrats. She
simply painted an alternative – and far more appealing – picture of a
man who everyone already thought they knew.

Donald Trump: The Republican nominee gave the
crowd what it was looking for – a command performance of the
tough-talking, details-free approach that won him the nomination in the
first place. He promised to wipe out crime as soon as he took office. He
promised to defeat Isis “fast”. He promised a whole lot of things. What
he didn’t do was provide any meaningful specifics about how he might do
it. The crowd in the room was with him for the whole address – cheering
in the right moments, booing when it was required. Trump, too, seemed
relatively dialled in – staying, generally, on the TelePrompTer and
hitting his applause lines well. The speech itself was well crafted – if
WAY too long. On the whole, the speech – I think – did Trump more good
than harm, particularly at a convention in which his message had
repeatedly been muddled by self-inflicted errors. But, is Trump’s
America a portrait that undecided voters recognise? And do they believe
he is the only one who can truly fix it?

Loser

Paul Manafort:
Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, stuck his foot in his mouth not
once but twice. First, Manafort suggested that Trump would win over
women voters because “women feel they can’t afford their lives. Their
husbands can’t afford to pay for the family bills”. Er. Then Manafort
suggested that he didn’t trust the FBI numbers on crime dropping in the
country because of the way they handled the investigation into Hillary
Clinton’s email server. Double er. Manafort’s job – especially on a
night like this one – is to keep the focus on his boss, not distract
with politically incorrect comments that create their own tempests in a
teapot. He failed at that. Twice.

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