Matt McDaniel

6 minute read

It was the final night of the GOP convention in Cleveland. Let’s look at the winners and the losers of the night:


Donald J. Trump: Mr. Trump accepted the Republican nomination for President of the United States to raucous applause and support. Sure, he gave a loud speech that pointed out a lot of the problems in the nation, but, ask most people in the country right now whether we’re on the right or the wrong track and you’re guaranteed to get a response that people are ready for a real change. Trump hit that note and he hit it hard. This was his night to talk to the American people and he did… for over 76 minutes. Yes, it was a long speech, but we are used to Trump’s long-winded talks. He had a lot of points to cover and he had the audience there.

Ivanka Trump: Mr. Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, introduced her father at the convention. In a speech aimed at cutting the legs out from the criticism of Mr. Trump that he may not respect women and minorities, Ms. Trump slammed critics with cold, hard facts about her father and his business. While each of the Trump children gave winning speeches, Ms. Trump’s was likely the best received. There was also a significant undertone in the speech targeting millennials who are looking for a moderate way forward.

Peter Thiel: The billionaire CEO of Paypal hit a homerun last night. Openly gay and proudly Republican, he let loose with libertarian messaging and was warmly welcomed. Though it may not go down in history as the most rhetorically brilliant speech ever given in the history of conventions, it kicked the door open for the Party on LGBTQ issues and for libertarian foreign policy. Also, he said what so many people are thinking about dog whistle social issues and told the Party, directly, just to move on to the important issues facing the nation.

Republican Unity: Despite Mr. Trump’s best efforts, there wasn’t a lot of unity at this week’s convention to report in the media. Last night was different. Every leg was moving in the right direction towards a better future. The messaging was spot-on.

Reince Priebus: While the Chairman of the Republican Party isn’t exactly someone who gets “fired up,” his speech to the convention was one that bordered on passion. He’s come under a lot of criticism from basically everyone at one time or another during the primaries and the lead up to the convention. As the dust settles, Reince won out and, despite some ruffled feathers, the convention proceeded without incident.

CSPAN: Watching events without commentary is so refreshing.

Teleprompted Trump: I get it, Trump likes to speak from the heart and has railed against the use of teleprompters. However, every time he uses one, his speeches are better. While he will likely not bring them into his stump speeches, all of his major addresses should be done with the screens.

Trump’s Asides: There were two unscripted moments that stood out in Trump’s speech last night that were particularly important. Usually when Trump goes off-script, there is some cause for concern. However, first, when he thanked the audience for their support of his commitment to protect the LGBTQ community from terrorism, and second, when he sheepishly admitted that Evangelicals may have been right to question the strength of his Christianity, he was breaking new ground and seemed totally genuine.

LGBTQ Republicans: Whether it was Peter Thiel’s speech or Trump’s decision to directly thank the audience for its commitment to protect LGBTQ people from terrorism, the Republican Party, by the insistence of Donald Trump, has become more inclusionary. Is it the realization of the “big tent”? Probably not, but it is a direct attempt to combat the narrative that just because someone is a certain race, sexual orientation, gender, or religion that they have to fall in lock-step politically.

Tom Barrack: Former-billionaire Tom Barrack presented himself as one of Trump’s close friends for years. While his stories did seem to be a bit un-relatable to Americans who couldn’t just “take a private helicopter” to a Mike Tyson fight, I found him to be remarkably genuine. Sure, it was a bit of a scattered hodgepodge of anecdotes, but it got behind the curtain to see that Trump’s just a regular guy. Sure, he may have a lot of money, but he legitimately cares about people and has many of the same cares and concerns that most anyone else has. This was the message of the speech, and it reached its goal.

The Biographical Video About Trump: Humanizing and real with great production value.


The Media’s Pre-Convention Narrative: The narrative going into the convention was that there were going to be mass protests and violence. While some demonstrators got arrested over the four-day period, most everything stayed peaceful and small.

The Media, Generally: Exposed as a left-leaning narrative creating machine, Trump and other speakers were harsh and direct critics of the fourth estate. Given that the coverage bias was so blatant in some areas, perhaps this issue will cause additional support to come over to Trump’s message.

That One Loud Protester: C’mon. It’s his acceptance speech. Shut up.

The Balloons: They came down eventually, but it wasn’t the balloon tsunami I’d been expecting.

Barron Trump: Trump’s youngest son didn’t get a speaking role at the convention. But, he did get to be the first on stage to greet his dad after the speech.

East Coast Viewers: The 76+ minute speech almost went into Friday morning!

Liberal Commentators: Sloppily trying to shovel everything they can into pre-conceived narratives.

Conservative Commentators: It was a good speech, sure, but it was long. Let’s give it a B+ and move on.

Hillary Clinton: She’s been taking a bruising over the past month and Trump didn’t let up. Her digital team tried pushing quaint snippy tweets out during the speech that just came off as petty.

Social Justice Warriors: The same folks who go after (primarily) Republicans for intolerance went on rampages online attacking Peter Thiel and Ivanka Trump. Rather than embracing a worldview that says people can hold other political views, they tried to enforce the myopic duality of the left-right factional dichotomy. There is a snap-back coming against this kind of “velvet fascism” and the charge is being led by strong, independent voices like Thiel and Ivanka Trump.