My instant analysis of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech

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Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S., on July 5, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-TRUMP-STAR, originally transmitted on July 7, 2016.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S., on July 5, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Joshua Roberts *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-TRUMP-STAR, originally transmitted on July 7, 2016.

July 21, 2016, 8:19 pm. I have purposely stayed quiet this week and watched the spectacle of the Republican National Convention unfold in Cleveland. Tonight I will attempt a live blog commenting briefly on the issues raised tonight, especially by Donald Trump’s (DT)  speech.

8:20. So “Make America One Again” is the theme. Wow. This will be quite a trick for DT to pull off, in light of having run a campaign that memorably targeted, among others, Muslims and (undocumented) Mexican immigrants. It’s an old strategy, though; separate “us” from “them” and promise unity through the defeat of “them.”

8:42. DT was supposed to be on by 8:45. Oh well. You give someone a microphone, they use it.

9:08. See 8:42.

9:24. Very interesting, powerful talk by Peter Thiel. Positions DT to the left of HRC on foreign policy, totally blasts GOP culture wars agenda, and gets a standing O as he claims his gay, Republican, American identity. Fascinating. What does this say about what the delegates really think about the hard-right platform? That speech would not have happened if Ted Cruz was the candidate. Indeed, the selection of DT as the candidate was already a repudiation of Christian Right culture warriors and their agenda, but of course many leaders of the Christian Right have come crawling to him anyway. Peter Thiel for President.

9:39. Tom Barrack. Very few people seem to know that briefer is better. Especially as it gets closer to 10 pm.

10:00. Video. I liked Jon Voight more in “Mission Impossible.”

10:05. I’ve got it. The Trumps could be cast in “The Bold and the Beautiful.” As a group.

10:11. Ivanka claims no party affiliation. Fascinating. Speaks strongly for justice for working mothers. I remember when conservative Christians opposed women in the workforce…Very effective speaker, powerful advocate for her father.

10:22. Safety, prosperity, and peace. Generosity and warmth, but “Law and Order.” So crime and violence is the lead issue, and lack of safety is the biggest problem. It is true that government must preserve security, but the fine print matters a great deal. Like the rule of law.

10:26. I am not able to fact check this, but I will love to see the commentary tomorrow related to the statistics about criminal behavior by undocumented immigrants. Certainly this kind of language risks demonizing a) undocumented immigrants, b) immigrants, c) people who ‘look like’ immigrants.

10:31. So the Iran deal is bad, and not intervening in Syria is bad, and what happened in Libya when we did intervene was bad, but the Iraq war was also bad. So what are we supposed to do about US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. Does anyone know?

10:34 pm. Egypt…”forcing the military to retake control” from the Muslim brotherhood. So that sounds like at least an implicit endorsement of a military takeover, not the only time authoritarian government has been praised by DT.

10:37. “America First.” Americanism, not globalism. These are not new notes on the GOP side, but Trump articulates them in an especially unequivocal and harsh way.

10:39. The system is rigged. Murderous immigrants want to kill you. We are getting ripped off. Strong audience response. DT clearly speaks for and to some strong sense of aggrievement and disempowerment. He won because this message communicated more effectively to primary voters than did anyone else’s message. The billionaire as tribune of the poor and powerless. Fascinating to be able to sell that.

10:44. Trump has not mentioned any religious or culture wars themes at all. And you know, I think in many ways that is good for both our politics and our religion, but a little Christian charity here would go a long way.

10:47. Links his cause to Bernie Sanders, and tries to appeal to his supporters. “Bernie never stood a chance.” Why? The system was rigged. The fix was in…I don’t live in this conspiratorial universe. I wonder how many people find it appealing?

10:49. No mention whatsoever of the black people killed by excessive use of police force. Only mention on the horrible attacks on police officers. This is so unjust, and it sends all kinds of horrible signals to this country.

10:52. I am glad for any Republican to mention an agenda related to urban poverty, but it has to extend beyond law and order. Show us an agenda. And by the way, it is really upside down to say that a president (or anyone) who mentions race, divides by race. That is so unfair, but I have often heard that trope from race-deaf white people. And we are talking about the first black president.

10:55. DT stands up for LGBTQ people. Says the phrase twice. Promises to defend them. Now it is time to repudiate the platform on those issues, I guess. Tomorrow?

10:59. “We don’t want them in our country.” Doesn’t say ban on Muslims, but reframed to the same thing. That is a very ominous phrasing. I bet to American Muslims, it sounds like “We don’t want you in our country.”

11:05. There it is. “The great border wall.” And how one feels about that Great Wall says so much about…so much.

11:09. I remember when George W. Bush supported comprehensive immigration reform. You know, the opposite of what we are hearing now. DT makes Mitt Romney’s approach look really, really kind.

11:16. I think I’ve listened long enough. What I hear: an angry, defensive, populist, nationalist, law-and-order message. I am angry enough to defend you people who keep getting ripped off. And there you have it. I wonder if he can win with it.

Good night everyone.