trump got lots of applause tonight, though I sometimes wondered whether anyone was actually listening.
In the first place, just about every word he said had been said eleventy seven times this week by others. I almost felt sorry for those poor delegates having to listen to so much more of the same material. That does make me wonder, though, whether in fact trump has used up all his ideas and simply has nothing new to say. We’ll just have to see.
Second, there were a few lines that didn’t seem to fit with standard Republican fare. Why were they cheering when he suggested more fair treatment of gays? Before he spoke, he was introduced by his daughter Ivanka, who also sneaked in some liberal-sounding ideas, such as greater fairness for women in the workforce. And the crowd cheered. Were they actually listening?
I had thought it would have been obvious to trump and his team that this speech was not the conclusion of the convention (or should not have been) but the beginning of the campaign. Of course there was the usual litany of severe accusations against Clinton but little else to make one think trump has added any meat to the bones of his handful of ideas.
As an acknowledged beginning in this campaign business, it is important that trump show he is learning as he goes. The only progress in his thinking, so far as I can tell, is that he is no longer bragging about how smart he is. That’s a pretty tiny lesson compared to all he needs to learn.
But learning is not of much interest to him, since he thinks he already knows all he needs to know. He told a reporter a few days ago that he doesn’t read much because he already knows so much. I’d call that the mark of a truly ignorant man.
Most important is the question of whether he had made any progress in distinguishing himself from all the tyrants he seems to admire. And the answer is obviously No. If you’ve not yet read Machiavelli’s The Prince you must do so sooner rather than later. And if you have studied the Hitler of 1933, then get started on that, too. When the common characteristics of a tyrant are so well known, there is no excuse for anyone to sucker for trump.