By Howard Foster -
I don’t like Donald Trump the man for all of the reasons everyone is aware of. But I liked his acceptance speech quite a bit because it suits my theory of what is ailing the country.
The major threat we face both domestically and abroad is open borders. He made this the core of his campaign from day one, and no other Republican or Democrat did. It resonated with the majority of people that are unhappy with the state of the nation. It was the core of the acceptance speech.
By highlighting his emotional attachment to the victims of illegal immigrants, Trump showed the right kind of empathy. He could have brought up some personal crisis, the illness of a parent or child, or some anecdote to “humanize” himself. But that’s a trite rhetorical device, would not have seemed Trumplike, and may have fallen flat. He has not gone in for any familiar techniques either in his speeches, which are often angry, or strategy. Plus, he cannot carry out his promise to build the border wall and deport millions of illegal immigrants without offending a lot of people. It won’t be pleasant. It is a fundamental change in direction which can only be done by a President with authoritarian, not “small government” or softhearted tendencies.
Trump’s style and choice of words are brash and authoritarian. Barack Obama is every bit as authoritarian in his use of executive power. I think the electorate is used to that and wants it this year. As a candidate, Obama promised “change,” which has an authoritarian undertone. Change cannot be accomplished without coercion, and coercion is one of the core elements of progressivism. Trump believes there is a sizeable chunk of the electorate that voted for Obama because they wanted big change, and they are hungry for it again. This is another unsettled time when the country’s problems dominate the news. If he is right, then this segment of the population will overlook Trump’s gaffes about NATO, his crudities, the plagiarism by one of his speechwriters because they want what he is offering. Many conservatives thought the country would turn on Obama if they knew he had a racist, anti-semetic minister or had been a radical leftist in his 20’s. They were completely wrong and misunderstood the electorate. He suited the moment at the beginning of the financial crisis and the end of the horrible Iraq war. The country wanted the Republicans out and something new.
Trump seems to suit the moment now. The country wants something different, harsher, tougher, more focused on security. It doesn’t want Donald Trump as a person, but he expresses the right views. Trump has to get the non-ideological Obama voters, those that want change but are not liberals, to be comfortable with him. In order to do that he must be more conversant with policy details. But he cannot and will not be less sure of himself or what he wants to do. The speech was a very good way to begin his campaign.