1. It’s Friday, July 22, 2016. (I’ve updated this from the initial 1:45 a.m. post, so it’s no longer as early.)

2. Songs that are played at the end of conventions usually portray a positive emotion. “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac. “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood (corrected). “City of Shining Lights” by U2.

The Trump Republicans played “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones. What the hell kind of message is that?

Maybe it’s the end of the refrain that applies: “You get what you need.” The implication being that Republican true believers might have wanted someone else, but they need the guy they got.


3. You know, long speeches aren’t necessarily bad.

Four years ago, Bill Clinton went on for an hour extolling the virtues of Barack Obama as his renomination convention in Charlotte. And people loved it – there were many who believed it was the highlight of the gathering and helped propel the President to re-election.

The success of Trump’s speech – which, according to C-SPAN, was the longest in at least 44 years – won’t be known until the early hours of Nov. 9. If he somehow wins the presidency, the speech will be regarded as a pivotal moment.

In my lifetime, the candidate who painted the more optimistic picture has won. JFK. Reagan. Clinton. Obama.

Trump tried to paint a picture of dysfunction and chaos. His view is there are threats all over the place, mostly from people who have snuck through our porous borders and infiltrated our communities. They’re ready to kill at any time.

It’s simplistic and stupid. There’s nothing Trump is saying that would prevent another Orlando shooting – he gave a shoutout to the NRA, whose advocacy of firearms is far more responsible for what happened that night than any failing international terrorist group.

And yet.

4. I can’t say with certainty that this speech won’t resonate with voters. With Trump, it’s as if the Howard Beale exhortation to shout “I’m mad as hell” from the window has come to life in the 21st century.

There are people ready to open their windows and scream – hell, they just watched an orange-faced guy yell how mad he is for more than an hour.

The acceptance speech is always the high point of a convention. So, maybe we should expect that this is Trump’s big moment, and it’s all down from here.

5. But now I feel the fate of 240 years of American freedom lies in the imperfect Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, a woman Republicans want to see put in prison or executed.

She needs to counterpunch big time next week in Philadelphia. And, unlike Trump, she’ll have some help. Her opponent in the primaries, Bernie Sanders, won’t be kneecapping her the way Ted Cruz did to Trump.

Elizabeth Warren will be there. Joe Biden will be there. And both of the Obamas will be there.

But Clinton has to carry most of the load. She needs to inspire and make people want to vote for her. She needs to reassure her core and welcome Republicans who don’t share the Trumpian gloom.

Her speech needs to be upbeat and full of ways to solve problems. And I still feel she needs to address the criticisms and accusations, the way she did when she answered 11 hours of questions from the wackos on the Benghazi committee.

She can do this. She has to do this. Our country and the world depend on it.


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