Well, that was different.
Donald Trump’s angry, divisive, dark and, frankly, frightening acceptance speech, after a glowing introduction by daughter Ivanka, was pure Donald, unfortunately showing little growth from when he started on this journey: the threat of “roaming” and murderous illegal immigrants and vows to impose law and order. Like many a politician, he flaunted half-truths and selective, out-of-context assertions. And, of course, Hillary Clinton was an unpunished “criminal” salivating to throw open America’s doors to rampant, unrelenting immigration. Nonsense.
The roller-coaster ride called the Republican National Convention took participants through what, for all the world, looked like the seven stages, if not of grief, then of getting to Yes. Donald Trump is the GOP’s no-longer presumptive, unequivocal nominee for president. Still controversial, but he sealed the deal fair and square. But getting there? Let’s start from the beginning:
Shock and denial
Anti-Trump forces made vociferous demands for a time-consuming roll-call vote of all the delegates — 2,472 — in order to get the convention formally started. They made a lot of noise in this attempt to cause delay. They were quickly vanquished by Trump’s considerable supporters. Their attempted coup made it clear that they were in denial; that they were squashed should not have come as a shock.
Pain and guilt
A glowing Melania Trump took command of the stage and made a strong, loving case for putting her husband in the White House — just like Michelle Obama did for her husband in 2008. Folks were all atwitter about the plagiarized passages, and after way too much time passed, a speechwriter fell on her sword.
Rudy Giuliani fanned the flames of fear: “The vast majority of Americans today do not feel safe!!” Chris Christie supplied the loathing: “Hillary Clinton, lying to the American people about her selfish, awful judgment guilty or not guilty? … In Libya and Nigeria guilty. In China and Syria guilty. In Iran and Russia and Cuba guilty.” It was red meat to the crowd, which roared back: “Lock her up!”
There was rival Ted Cruz, defiant but alone in his refusal to endorse Mr. Trump, who, curiously gave him the stage, off of which the Texas senator was booed. But this gave way to . . .
The upward turn
Eric Trump gave a speech “from the heart,” humanizing his bombastic father. It set the tone, for victory, not bloodlust.
Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence came across as the adult in the room, skilled in governing, even of temper. He eschewed the attack-dog stance usual for a man in his position — Messrs. Giuliani and Christie had already played that card.
Acceptance and hope
By the time Mr. Trump accepted the nomination Thursday, the delegates were all his. But unity, real national unity, remains elusive. Mr. Trump continued to make overblown promises, as always, with scant details.
“I’m going to make our country rich again,” he declared. Again, red meat for true believers. A lot let less unpalatable to anyone looking for substance over reality-show histrionics.