Donald Trump makes best effort to look presidential

Trump stays on script at convention with huge audience

By Jim Niedelman | jniedelman@whbf.com

Published 07/25 2016 07:36PM

Updated 07/25 2016 07:36PM

It started with an escalator ride.

Thirteen months later, Donald Trump stood on stage in Cleveland accepting the Republican Party's nomination for president.

Trump addressed a packed house at the Republican National Convention Thursday night. Something that hadn't been seen during the first three days.

He went on the attack against Hillary Clinton. Trump promised to end the United States' existing trade agreements like NAFTA, adopt tougher immigration laws and lower taxes.

Here's some of what the Republican nominee had to say:

"The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon, and I mean very soon, will come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored," said Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump. "Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place. They are throwing money at her because they have total control over every single thing she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings. Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it. To every parent who dreams for their child and every child who dreams for their future. I say these words to you tonight. I am with you. I will fight for you. And, I will win for you."

Democrats and Republicans certainly disagree with each other about Trump's policies.

One thing they do agree on about his speech. It was long. Try an hour and 15 minutes.

The Republican National Convention was the topic of discussion on 4 the Record with Democratic Events Organizer Kevin Perkins, Augustana College Political Communications Professor Meg Kunde and former Iowa Republican Party Chair Steve Grubbs.

This was not the same Donald Trump stump speech we saw during the campaign. He stuck to the script. The teleprompter isn't exactly his comfort zone, but he delivered the message he wanted to.

"I think he helped himself this week," said former Iowa GOP Chair Steve Grubbs. "He hit three major themes: economic populism, law and order and defeating Hillary Clinton's rigged machine. When you look at how you build your coalition, how you build a winning path to victory in Ohio and Pennsylvania, that's the message he has to, that's the chord he has to strike."

"I'm a big person for allowing the voters to get information," said Augustana College Political Communications Professor Meg Kunde. "Just because you say you're giving people the facts, doesn't mean you necessarily are."

"To build that coalition that he needs in Ohio and Pennsylvania, I mean you need people in Ohio and Pennsylvania with influence behind you," said Democratic events organizer Kevin Perkins. "John Kasich wasn't there, which is interesting. Toomey, the senator from Pennsylvania, wasn't there. I think he still has some work to do in that regard in building that coalition. And, it was evident that he still needs to build his base at this point."

"In my 30 years of watching convention, this is single-most populist speech I've ever seen and in a global trend towards, towards nativism and against globalism, I think it might change the structure of American politics," Grubbs said.

This was Donald Trump's moment to appear presidential. That's not always easy to gauge.

"Donald Trump was Donald Trump," Kunde said. "I didn't necessarily see a lot of different things. I'm not really sure that there were a lot of appeals to people who do not already support Donald Trump."

"He did reach out to some interesting coalitions," Grubbs said. "He's building a non-traditional Republican coalition and it's fascinating to watch."

One of the strategies this week was clearly to demonize Hillary Clinton. It seemed to overshadow the positive messages the Trump campaign wanted to convey. Political scientists say history shows that the American people vote for candidates who deliver a positive message. That's not what critics of Donald Trump say he delivered.

"You have to inoculate yourself with a positive message," Perkins said. "You can still go after your opponent, but you have to have a positive message that you forth that inoculates yourself. What I got from this convention overall were four things: fear, hate, hope and then faith. Fear everything in this world. Hate Hillary Clinton and the liberals. Hope that we can get our GOP together and then have faith in Donald we trust because there's no plan. Donald will get it done. I'm the answer and you've got to have faith in me."

"There was a frame of punishment I felt throughout the entire campaign, Kunde said. "It seems to have worked so far. I'm not sure how successful of an electorate strategy that will be through the duration."

"Every speech and debate coach in American, of which I am one, will tell you when you write your speech, first you establish the problem, then you provide the solution. That's what Trump did and I thought he did it well," Grubbs said.

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