Much could be and will be written about Trump at the Republican National Convention, but my contribution to the voluminous jabberings over the big nothing that is the RNC shall be but a brief one.
It seems to me that in accepting the nomination, Donald Trump has made himself somewhat obsolete. The speech he gave was a real stemwinder, I am forced to concede, and while I disdain The Donald, I won’t deny he gave a good performance. I disagree with the narrative that law and order is breaking down and America is in crisis (if it is, it is only because of its government and political class, something The Donald did not speak to nor will he throughout this campaign and even during his–God forbid–administration). But that’s why I will not be voting Republican this year, and likely not ever.
My critical observation though would be that any of the 16 Republicans who ran could have given that exact same speech and it would have had exactly the same (tremendous) effect.
Trump won the nomination on force of personality alone. The People wanted a strongman, and they liked a man who was unguarded, spoke off the cuff, and “was a straight talker”–even though he’s consistently shown himself to be wildly inconsistent and utterly without substance. Plain spoken like a not particularly bright 3rd grader, yes he was different, but to think he wasn’t a politician was a capital mistake.
Now though, is he still The Donald? Anyone could give prepared speeches, and the case against Hillary as a corrupt, lying warmonger is so airtight that a child–or indeed, even Donald Trump–could prosecute it in the court of public opinion.
What I’m getting at is this: any respectable figure in the Republican Party who is half-coherent could seize upon the political zeitgeist in America right now and storm into the White House based on a carefully laid out argument against Hillary and Obama, using prepared remarks and sensible policies. In the general election, what does The Donald bring to the table but a host of disadvantages unique to himself and none of the unique advantages he had in the Primary?
The Donald has fully transitioned to a regular, ordinary politician, like the rest of them, but unlike the rest of them, he is unstable, authoritarian, admires foreign autocrats, inconsistent, appears to believe nothing with any true conviction, and is as ignorant on the issues as the average voter.