RNC 2016: On the ‘dark’ picture of America Donald Trump painted

Donald Trump speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 21. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

Donald Trump speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 21. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

CLEVELAND — A lot of the initial reaction I saw to Donald Trump’s speech here Thursday night was that it was dark, fear-mongering, too negative about the state of the country. And in a lot of ways, that’s true. But to understand why, I present two pieces of evidence. First is how Americans feel about the direction of the country, as measured by a large series of opinion polls:

The current figure — with more than two-thirds saying we’re heading in the wrong direction, and not quite a quarter saying the right direction — is the worst in almost 4.5 years, which itself was the highest since late 2008. In 2008, that level of dissatisfaction was enough to force a change in partisan control of the White House. Had Barack Obama’s re-election been in November 2011 instead of November 2012, the discontent probably would have been enough to push it back again. News flash: If the opposition party sees those kinds of numbers, it isn’t going to go against voters and tell them everything’s fine and dandy. It’s going to campaign in a way that reflects that widespread — and steadily rising — sentiment of disgust.

And why might that sentiment be so strong, and so steadily rising? Here’s an idea:

You think?

The news lately has been relentlessly negative. Working backward: police shot and killed in Baton Rouge, an attempted coup in Turkey, scores of innocents run over in Nice, police slain in Dallas, black men killed by cops in St. Paul and Baton Rouge — and that’s just in the past two weeks. There were many fears of violence in Cleveland this week, which thankfully did not come to pass. On Thursday, 10 people were arrested in connection with a planned terror attack at the Rio Olympics. That’s a lot of death and hate and anger and sadness for people to process, and it has been going on this way for a while. Add to that the constant reports of how the economy isn’t working for most people, how wages have been stagnant, etc. It’s no wonder people think things are going badly.

We would like to think those running for an office such as the U.S. presidency would pitch a more optimistic view of the future, of empowerment rather than paternalism, of inclusiveness rather than closed doors. But “hope and change” has been tried and found wanting, and the voting public seems in little mood to entertain a sunny disposition. Face it: None of the final four candidates this year (Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders) is what you’d call a happy warrior. That group basically includes three populists and a technocrat who succeeded in spite of herself.

Now, are our problems as intractable as we believe them to be? After all, if things aren’t as sunny as in 1984 or 1996, they aren’t as gloomy as in 1932 either.

Well, maybe not to those of us who live in circumstances that aren’t as dark and desperate as Trump outlined Thursday. But plenty of others do live where there’s generational poverty, rampant joblessness and criminality, declining standards of living, and little hope for anything different in the near future. Those were the people Trump was trying to reach, I think. And simply being acknowledged might seem like optimism compared to being ignored.

We’ll have to wait to see if it worked. And I’ve long since been on record saying I don’t think Trump has the right solutions to those problems, a position that didn’t change Thursday night. I’ll get back to that soon enough. But for now, it’s worth pointing out Trump is reflecting his audience’s beliefs more than shaping them. That isn’t really leadership, not on its own, but it has proven so far to be good politics.

Reader Comments 0

263 comments
Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

The fact that we're learning about Democrats undermining of democracy via emails hacked by Russia in no way excuses their un-American behavior.

We can be alarmed by state-sponsored Russian cybercrime and Democrat scumbaggery at the same time.

skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

Poor Mitch McConnell just realized his party has been given away to Putin.Hatred of Obama and Hillary does strange things to people's faculties.

bu22
bu22

Kyle, your buddy Jay needs an intervention.  He is running with the Russians bought Trump story!!!  Seriously, if you have given any thought to voting for Hillary because Trump is such a nutcase, you no longer have any justification.  Hillary has trumped Trump.

skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

Hillary haters on this blog have a close friend in Moscow:

"""In fact, both the Russian political class and the Russian public prefer a fresh start with Trump over another doomed-to-fail “reset” from the former U.S. secretary of state.

Last April, in an annual press conference with his countrymen, Putin expressed skepticism about the American electoral process, which he believes has degenerated to a simple change of family clans in the White House. He also hinted as to how he personally saw Hillary Clinton.

“First, there was Bush senior in power, then Bush junior. [Bill] Clinton was [U.S. President] two times in a row, now his wife has ambitions. Again, the family might stay in power. As they say in Russia, a husband and a wife are the same Satan.”

And Hillary Clinton is Satan for many Russians.

Older generations blame Hillary’s husband Bill for the devastating collapse of the Russian economy during the 1990s. Younger generations have formed opinions about Hillary Clinton from Russian media, which declared a war of such heated intensity on Clinton that it seems they know for a fact she will win the race for the White House and feel no need to waste time on phony pleasantries."""


http://observer.com/2016/06/she-isnt-president-yet-but-russia-already-hates-hillary-clinton/


Maybe he calls her Hitlery too.


FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Goodnight, Bruno.

Wish I COULD hang but I'm exhausted from yard work and putting up summer corn. 

Bruno2
Bruno2

Here's one for you, Fig, "Ready to Hang" by Wayman Tisdale.  I know you take a lot on crap on the blog, particularly at Bookman's place, so just want you to know that you're appreciated.  Pretty sad how Bookman's blog has turned into a cesspool of Lib flamers and stalkers.  As in all organizations, the problem starts squarely at the top, IMO.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG8igCgAGEE

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Bruno2

 I know you take a lot on crap on the blog, particularly at Bookman's place

I DO!!??!!

A nice sound. I YIKE IT!

Bruno2
Bruno2

@FIGMO2 @Bruno2 If you were unaware, Wayman was an NBA star who launched a very successful music career upon retirement.  Very few people can be at the top in more than one field.  Sadly, he passed away at age 44.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.

A Rollin' Gandhi and Donald Trump?

schnirt 

Bruno2
Bruno2

@FIGMO2 Howdy, Fig.  Glad to have some company on this late Sunday night.....

Bruno2
Bruno2

@FIGMO2 @Bruno2 LOL--I better check with my GF first, she's extremely jealous.  It may have something to do with her Thai heritage.....

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Bruno2 @FIGMO2

Whatever you do don't invite her to join you on the blogs. You know how that turned out for your last girlfriend or several girlfriends back.

Just like jealous boyfriends, jealous girlfriends can be bad news, Bruno. Very confining not to mention insecure.

Just a bit of friendly advice.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@FIGMO2 @Bruno2 Good advice, Fig. She's a very good-hearted person who was burned in the past by a cheating husband-- a wound that is hard to heal.

On the bright side, I'm possibly looking forward to leaving Columbus soon and moving to Savannah.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Bruno2 @FIGMO2

And you'll likely pay for her ex-husband's indiscretions. 

AGAIN, just a bit of friendly advice.

Savannah's nice. The food's GREAT!

Bruno2
Bruno2

@FIGMO2 @Bruno2 I've visited 4 times in the past month doing job interviews and really like the feel of the place.  The historic district is very pretty, lot of young folks hanging around due to the Savannah College of Art and Design.  Much better energy than boring old Columbus.  On my last visit, my GF and I ate at Garibaldis, which was excellent.

In my younger days, her jealousy would have driven me away, but in my old age, I'm a bit more understanding.  It doesn't hurt that she's 15 years younger than me and cute as a button as well.  Differently from you, she's extremely short, not even 5 feet tall.  Usually I like the tall ones.

Bruno2
Bruno2

Gotta say, guys, this has been the ugliest campaign season that I've witnessed in my near-56 years.  It may just be my imagination, but there seems to be a palpable anger just below the surface out in the general public as witnessed by all of the rudeness and road rage I keep running into.

Will there be any healing after the election??  Probably not, since I don't envision any Cons taking to Hillary, and I'm guessing few Libs would ever give Trump a chance should he win.  If Trump does win, it will take a monumental Presidency on his part to get even any begrudging respect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QkoOHvrViM

bu22
bu22

@Bruno2 I can't think of anybody either party could put up who would be more divisive.  Let's be real.  Cruz is more popular than either of these two even if you count the US Senate.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Are Hillary's "lost" emails Assange's get-out-of-jail-free card?

Bruno2
Bruno2

@Lil_Barry_Bailout It will be very interesting to see if Trump can make good on his promise to woo over some of the Sanders voters.  If I were a Sanders voter, I would be pretty disgusted by the DNC and the whole selection process about now.

I'm expecting a column from both Kyle and Bookman tomorrow addressing the emails.  I'm expecting Bookman to go into his usual shuck and jive routine, so will focus on Kyle's response.  Lately, Kyle seems to be working on behalf of Hillary by throwing as much mud on Trump as possible.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-uses-dnc-email-leak-000000431.html

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@Bruno2 @Lil_Barry_Bailout

Prediction:  Bookman and the other water-carriers will steer the discussion of Russian hacking of the DNC (but certainly not Clinton's homebrew server) to "Will the GOP over-reach?"

skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

When is the media going to wake up and smell the coffee on our wannabe fascist leader and his ties to Russia?

Break in by Russians at DNC by Russians should have clinched the obvious story on why Trump is running for  President- He is bought and paid for by the Russian oligarchs and Putin as well. He has curried favor with them for years and Don Jr. admitted in 2008 that Russian money was flowing into the Trump empire.He may now owe them billions and Obama froze the Russian's  accounts. Trump's tax returns and his businesses would probably tell us how much. Where is the media on this?


No alarm bells when for the first time since 1953 not a mention in Trump's  speech of Russia,  embargoes, frozen accounts or daily challenges by Russia to our ships and planes and  no to mention the military adventure by Putin in Ukraine and Syria. Instead Trump blows a kiss to Putin and says he may abandon NATO.


He is putting every American at risk with his ties to Russia  and this paper and others just snooze on.


Instead members of the stupid party have fun calling the President Obozo and Hillary Hitlery.

TheBrewer
TheBrewer

@lvg

"Instead members of the stupid party have fun calling the President Obozo and Hillary Hitlery."

I'm not a member of any party, ma'am. I do, however, enjoy calling those two scumbags names and there's nothing you can do about it. 

bu22
bu22

@lvg When will Hillary start claiming Trump's dad shot RFK?  No longer can the Democrats claim Trump is the crazy one.  Hillary keeps trying harder and harder for me to don my gas mask and vote for the Donald.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@lvg 

Nice try but it isn't going to play.Trump, will probably win against the baggage laden Hillary Clinton.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@lvg "He may now owe them billions and Obama froze the Russian's  accounts. Trump's tax returns and his businesses would probably tell us how much. Where is the media on this?"

I believe the World Weekly News is running a series on just that topic.....

TheBrewer
TheBrewer

@NativeAtlantan57 @TheBrewer


"I have a real life to get back to. Keep jousting at your windmills."

Great, get back to that so-called life that you have. I'm sure all of your imaginary friends are waiting for you. 

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

@TheBrewer You are one angry individual in need of therapy. Everyone who does not agree with you is not a flaming liberal. Educated, open-minded, less emotional Independent centrists are going to swing this election -- not radicals (include yourself) in either party. I hope this ranting makes you feel better but it will have no effect on the outcome. The electoral college is currently in Clinton's favor, which will certainly blow your mind and make you more vitriolic. If that's the case, chug some more of the Trump Kool-Aid and go outside and perfect your goose stepping to relieve your angst. As much as it pains you, the currently quiet and rational majority are going to swing this election.

TheBrewer
TheBrewer

@NativeAtlantan57 @TheBrewer

"You are one angry individual in need of therapy. Everyone who does not agree with you is not a flaming liberal.'

You're in need of a boyfriend. Try match or eharmony. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@NativeAtlantan57 @TheBrewer To respond to TheBrewer’s posts is a complete waste of time. You would have to assume at least a glimmer of decency and rationality on his side, and that has not yet appeared. If you look through his posts attacking various people you will see the same stupidities repeated again and again. Responding only encourages him to do more of the same.

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

@MarkVV @NativeAtlantan57 @TheBrewer  Very true. I know a sociopath when I encounter one. Dumbo thinks we are one in the same. Trump-ish paranoia. He can't comprehend that there are actually two level-headed and rational people. Glad to let him stew in his own pitiful morass. He can't deal with the fact that most everyone is brighter than he. 

TheBrewer
TheBrewer

The DNC is going to be a massive disaster. No one wants to watch an angry, old, ugly white woman whose only claim to fame is being married to a serial rapist. 


TheBrewer
TheBrewer

@NativeAtlantan57 @TheBrewer


"Typical. Thin-skinned just like Donald. You can dish it out but can't take it. Bye-bye boy."

Dish what out? You're the one stalking me, low IQ.