Law and Order: Donald Trump Accepts Republican Nomination

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Friday morning, the pundits in the mainstream media couldn’t get over how pessimistic Donald Trump’s acceptance speech was the night before in Cleveland. In their writeup, the New York Times described the speech using words like “unusually vehement,” “almost angry,” and “ominous-sounding.” NBC’s Willie Geist said that Trump “painted the picture of an almost-dystopian, ‘Mad Max’ America.” The Washington Post characterized his speech as “relentlessly gloomy.”

Even with a teleprompter in front of him and a mission to unite the Republican Party on his mind, Donald Trump could hardly be mistaken for a typical GOP nominee Thursday night. Anyone still hoping that Trump would embrace a traditional Republican platform left Cleveland disappointed. Anyone who thought Trump would drop his signature proposals – the wall, for instance – did not get satisfaction. The Donald Trump who accepted the nomination was the same Donald Trump who descended that escalator last summer, and he used his speech to crystallize the themes he’s been running on for a solid year.

“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” said Trump. “The attacks on our police and the terrorism in our cities threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.”

Did Trump’s speech veer too far into negative territory? Absolutely not. The man’s theme is Make American Great Again. If you want voters to rally around that theme, you have to explain why the current direction of the country is a problem. The convention, naturally, was often focused on the disaster that would be a Hillary Clinton presidency. But in his speech, Trump reminded viewers that the disaster was already upon us.

“America is far less safe and the world is far less stable than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy,” Trump said. He described Clinton’s legacy as one of “death, destruction, terrorism, and weakness.”

However, it’s not fair to say Trump’s speech lacked optimism. It may not go down as one of the sunniest political speeches of all time, but Trump did promise a new direction for the U.S. under his leadership.

“It’s time to deliver a victory for the American people,” he said. “To every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I’m with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you.”

In a field of 17 candidates, Republican voters had all stripes of conservatism from which to choose. In the end, they rejected all of them in favor of a fighter. And with his acceptance speech on Thursday, Trump assured his supporters and critics alike that they would get exactly what they asked for.