Matt McDaniel

6 minute read

It was the second night of the GOP Convention in Cleveland. Donald Trump became the official nominee of the Republican Party and received over 1,700 delegates on the convention floor. There were no disruptions or walkouts (probably to the chagrin of the media). Monday was “Make America Safe Again.” Last night was “Make America Work Again.”

WINNERS

Donald J. Trump: He got the nomination. Ask almost anyone whether Trump would have been the nominee (including your humble writer) last June, and you’d have gotten responses anywhere from “no” to just a fit of laughter. From a descending escalator at Trump tower to yesterday afternoon, the Donald charged forward to the nomination. Realistically, looking at the numbers, it was really never that close once the primary voting got underway. Trump subverted decades of political maxims and theories. Love him or hate him, he’s the Party’s nominee.

Donald J. Trump, Jr.: Some folks have problems with Donald Trump (the elder)’s messaging, delivery, bombast, and tone. In his son, Don Jr., there’s a concise, engaging, and dynamic surrogate. Sure, it was a speech crafted for that response, but it was also one of the best speeches at the convention and delivered in a way that was perfect for prime time and delivering the Trump message.

Tiffany Trump: Donald Trump’s youngest adult daughter, fresh out of college, gave insight into “Trump, the Dad.” The delivery was very real, in that Ms. Trump, as she willingly admitted, was more used to talking in college classrooms and not in front of a national audience. However, she conveyed the human side of her father in a way that was meant to get under the “angry” Trump national image to see the dad underneath.

Trumps: They are taking center stage every night and hitting home runs. Sure, Melania came under some criticism for cribbing less than 7% of her word order from Michelle Obama. But, you can’t plagiarize emotional impact. Both nights so far have headlined Trumps who haven’t backed down from the call.

Chris Christie: He had a tough week last week. Passed over for Vice President, folks were (and some still are) writing his political obituary. However, that didn’t seem to faze the boisterous, no-nonsense New Jersey Governor’s “prosecution” of Hillary Clinton. A great “call and response” with an audience already chanting “lock her up” with respect to the former Secretary of State. Christie went through some of the most egregious foreign policy blunders of Clinton’s recent tenure with the Obama Administration in a concise, blistering that only a former federal prosecutor could do.

Trump Wines: The Trump campaign has come under scrutiny for some of Donald Trump’s previous business ventures. A more docile campaign would have held back on bringing Trump’s former ventures to the fore. However, docile is not a word for this convention. The female president of Trump wines detailed how the Trump family saved the vineyard and turned it into the largest producer of wine in Virginia. The more important message of the speech: Trump listens to advice from people who know an issue or industry. This is one of the big concerns that apprehensive Republicans have about a Trump presidency.

Mitch McConnell: Ok, he’s on the bubble. The reason why he comes down on the “winner” side is because he gave a speech that generally threaded the needle of tacit support for Trump while outlining how Trump, even if he’s not the greatest president, would at least not be as bad as Barack Obama. More importantly, McConnell, the Senate Majority leader, appeared with many of the freshman US Senators in supporting Trump.

Avocados: They made it into prime time coverage while most networks skipped Chris Christie.

The Sikh Prayer to Open the Voting: Culturally sensitive, explanatory, and moving to see.

Dana White: Like Marcus Luttrell on Monday night, White was a surprise winner and a dose of masculinity into the otherwise tame political speeches. Mr. White’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) organization probably shares a vast majority of its fan base with Trump supporters. No nonsense, red-blooded, Americans. White was a strong speaker and made the “fight” for America a relatable call.

Sen. Jeff Sessions: Gave the nominating speech for Trump. Like we noted yesterday, he was out ahead of Trumpism and has seen his own visions come to pass. That’s got to be a good feeling for him (regardless of how it’s being received by others).

CSPAN: Coverage without commentary. So refreshing.

LOSERS

Anti-Trumpism: While it continues to stamp its feet online, it’s over. For better or worse, Trump’s the nominee. Deal with it as you see fit.

Paul Ryan: He didn’t want to be up there. He didn’t want Trump. He didn’t want any of this. Yet, he had to, officially, nominate Trump. While he gave a good rendition of his 2020 presidential campaign speech, his messages are all overshadowed by the fact that, on his principal, globalist, messaging, the Party base flatly handed him a stinging rebuke.

The Half-Empty Auditorium After Don Jr’s Speech: Two nights in a row, delegates have hustled out after the Trump Family keynote. This is terrible optics.

The People Talking Through Speeches: It happens at every convention, but, the microphones picking up the din of people not paying attention to speakers trying their hardest to engage with the crowd is embarrassing.

Sen. Capito: Sen Shelley More Capito from West Virginia is another borderline winner/loser on the night. She’s from West Virginia and had the opportunity to hammer Hillary’s “we’re going to put miners out of business line.” Unfortunately, like Gen. Flynn on Monday, she had to follow a Trump while burying the lede on the attack against Hillary Clinton’s poor economic judgment. It was a good speech, sure, but, it needed to be fiery and didn’t really connect.

People Booing Muslims for Trump: Really? C’mon delegates. Grow up.

The Alaska Delegation: They were wrong about their own state’s rules. They blamed the RNC for trying to force delegates to Trump while it was actually their own state that had adopted the provision that, when someone officially drops out, the delegates are divided among the remaining candidates. Not an RNC rule, an Alaska rule. They were wrong.

Reince: Stop saying “um” in your speeches.

“Lock Her Up”: I get it, it’s a cathartic chant. But, I’m not sure how that’s going to win over people who are sitting on the fence. Though, maybe I’m just a stick in the mud and over-analyzing.

FoxNews, CNN, Networks: Seriously, stop cutting away from speeches for over-paid political hacks who have been wrong throughout the entire primary campaign season. I was at the gym and got so frustrated I was able to lift more than I thought.

Ben Carson: He started off well “I’m not politically correct.” It then turned into a “fruit salad” of a speech that seemed to imply that Hillary Clinton would, literally, lead the nation to Hell. No, not a metaphor. Yeah, it was jarring. Sure, Carson deserved a speaking slot, and sure, no problem with him making faith a part of it. But, it went off the rails pretty quickly.

The Speakers I Don’t Remember: If they’re not memorable, they probably weren’t hitting the marks they needed.