Cleveland Trump Show, Day 4: Candidate Gracelessly Accepts Nomination

You can’t always get what you want, as the Stones sang, and that was the case Thursday night if you were seeking eloquence in speech-making.

Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, closing out the four-day Republican National Convention in Cleveland, was long on hand gestures, facial contortions and the usual laundry list of what’s wrong with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. 

In TV interviews conducted on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena after the speech, the party faithful declared themselves to be more than satisfied with the speech and their party’s nominee. Their reactions were a no-brainer. Anyone dedicated enough to have sat through this convention in person until the end of the final day had already demonstrated his or her devotion to the Trump cause.



But for anyone watching at home who was expecting Donald Trump to make speech-making great again, the speech was a big disappointment. It seemingly went on forever (75 minutes or thereabouts), and he delivered it in the same angry, graceless way he has been addressing his audiences for more than a year now.

This happens to be the style that won him so many primaries and eventually the nomination, so it might be unrealistic to have expected him to shift gears now. But if his speech thrilled the convention attendees inside the Cleveland arena, then that’s because he was preaching to the choir. 

Many of us were hoping for a speech aimed at the tens of millions watching at home who had not yet made up their minds about Trump, and perhaps more to the point, have been inclined to dismiss him (and either vote for Hillary or not vote at all).

For the purposes of bringing more people into the tent, it was reasonable to expect some sort of a shift in the Trump style -- perhaps a speech that was less vitriolic and more optimistic in tone (while still hitting on his main points). Instead, the speech was charmless.

Many people can remember the way Ronald Reagan envisioned America as a “shining city upon a hill,” even though most of them probably cannot identify the speech in which he used the phrase, nor the context in which he placed it. We simply remember it as a phrase that sums up Reagan and his infectious optimism.

What phrase are we associating with Trump the candidate? “Build a wall”? “Make better trade deals”? At one point, Trump faced the camera and declared, “I am the law and order candidate!” You got the feeling this was the one phrase he uttered all night that he really wanted to stick.

Generally speaking, though, while listening to the way he delivered his acceptance speech last night, it reminded me of the way Ralph Kramden nervously recited the ad copy for that Handy Housewife Helper utensil he wanted to sell on TV in the “Chef of the Future” episode of “The Honeymooners.” Both Ralph and Donald had this stilted way of putting an emphasis on every single word.

No one can rightfully accuse Donald Trump of being nervous when appearing in public, but in making his pitch to America Thursday night, he came across as aloof, above-it-all, and imperious. It would be nice if he could rid himself of the habit of jutting his upraised chin into the air like he’s Mussolini, too.

When the speech was finally over, this climactic moment seemed underdone. Balloons began falling from the arena’s rafters, but it seemed as if there was a delay in producing the dramatic cascade of falling balloons that the moment called for. The balloons and confetti eventually fell so thickly that they partially obscured the scene being captured by TV cameras.

As Trump’s extended family joined him on stage, along with the family of vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, the group seemed to lack enthusiasm. Most notable was the absence of waving. We are accustomed to seeing these nominees and their families waving and smiling happily at their audiences, but for some reason, this staple of televised political stagecraft was missing from the proceedings Thursday night.

The scene was accompanied by the playing of “All Right Now,” the 1970 hit by the band called Free. It seemed an incongruous choice, although you might have concluded that it was chosen for its title -- that everything would be “alright” now that Trump has been nominated for president.

The next song was even more puzzling -- “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” the Rolling Stones song. If the title of this song was supposed to suggest that as voters we can’t always get what we want, then the point was made, loud and clear.

6 comments about "Cleveland Trump Show, Day 4: Candidate Gracelessly Accepts Nomination ".
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  1. Robb Martin from Mile High Services, July 22, 2016 at 1:59 p.m.

    Amen, brother. Pathetic attempt at brain washing the American public. And, gee, I already thought America is GREAT. This guy is definately not, repeat not, presidential material.  BTW, anyone recognize how similar Trump's delivery was compared to historic footage of Hiter's rants?

  2. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, July 22, 2016 at 2:45 p.m.

    Completly agree.  Or as Adam suggested, Mussolini.  However what would one expect from a narcissistic snake oil salesman? 
    Maybe its time for a real three party parliamentary type system in the US or, as a Republic, a Presidential election that is only allowed 6 weeks max from start to finish for a single term of 6 years?   Is it really any wonder that hits on sites about residing in Canada are up ~400%!  As suggested by Bill Maher on HBO, unfortunately there will be a wall built:  By the Canadians to keep us out!  Tragically not funny. 

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 22, 2016 at 5:47 p.m.

    I too have thought of Mussolini when I watch Trump bobbing his head up and down and jutting out his jaw as if to say, "ain't I just wonderful" and I suspect that deep down inside the real Donald knows that he aint.

    As for future directions a total reform is needed----but will not come without some sort of revolution. For presidential elections, select candidates, nationally, by a vote of registered party mambers not this state by state nonsense. Make the campaign much shorter and fund it federally with real limits on spending and no more PACs. As for the voting, get rid of the Electoral College and let the candidate with the most votes nationally win----no more "swing states". Everybody's vote counts. Going beyond the election, I think term limits are needed, not only for the President but for the Senate, Congress and The Supreme Court. And why shouldn't the Court be elected? Gerrymandering----redo all of the state congressional districts to eliminate all of those ridiculous twisted squiggles designed to automatically elect one party's candidate over the other. "Pork", that's simple, each bill must have a single subject---no add-ons. Closing tax shelters and loopholes---yep, but really, no kidding around. I mcould go on and on and on-----

  4. Chuck Lantz from, network, July 22, 2016 at 7:56 p.m.

    It's great to discover I'm in such good company, since I've often thought of those old black and white films of Il Duce, with hand on hip, with his head back and jaw jutting out, bloviating to the mob, with a self-satisifed smirk on his face, when watching Il Donald.

    And since trump* has often boasted about how much he knows about politics and history, I'd have a hard time believing that he hasn't seen those same films.  

    * after that incredible speech last night (and I'm using "incredible" correctly), I can't bring myself to capitalize the "t'")

  5. Marla Goldstein from Around The Bend Media, July 22, 2016 at 9:57 p.m.

    'When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.' Those words are attributed to Sinclair Lewis, but he most likely never said them

    Fascism came to Cleveland last night. America has deep problems and only I can fix them. Follow me, for I am the only one with the solutions to all of America's ills. I am the law & order candidate. He said that so often, he owes Dick Wolfe royalties.

    The America that he was speaking of last night sounded exactly like Gotham City before Batman put on the cape and started driving the Batmobile around. We're better than this. Much, much better.

  6. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, July 23, 2016 at 1:01 p.m.

    Insightful and really encouraging to hear from everyone in such worrisome times.  So not only do Ed & I agree on most media research techniques and issues but we are also in full agreement on how to solve our, "bloody electorial mess", as we would say in the UK, by establishing the Papazian Parlimentary type system for our Republic - you nailed all the key elements.  It would put real "demock - racy" back into America (versus the "mock" we currently have!)
    With neo fascists like Ted Cruz running for President as well as Il Duce Donald surely we need to invoke the spirits of all those on both sides of the Atlantic that fought 2 World Wars against the  princilples & policies they espouse? 

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