Donald Trump is an un-American and un-patriotic demagogue, and he isn’t even a proper conservative!
Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Jeb! Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina. All fell by the wayside in their attempts to take on Donald Trump during the Republican primary campaign. At some point during the campaign, all tried to paint his views as unpalatable and incompatible with traditional Republican ideology, but had minimal success. Party grandees such as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan also had a go – with the same result.
On Wednesday, President Obama showed them all how it is done.
In his speech to the Democratic National Convention, he brought with him a strong message of Donald Trump as an individual who is not fit to lead the United States, and who should not be allowed to triumph based on his campaign of fear. It will surely be remembered as one of Obama’s best speeches, a tough ask given his status as one of the best political orators of his generation.
Obama painted an optimistic picture for the future of the United States, a stark contrast to Donald Trump’s dark and alarmist speech last week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He took on Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan with this:
America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.
Obama went on to say that America being great “doesn’t depend on any one person”, a sharp contrast to Trump’s rhetoric in which he has painted himself as the only person capable of leading the country and ‘Making America Great Again’. This vision of citizens working together to ensure the success of the nation echoed the speech Obama made at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, which first bought him into the public consciousness. In one of his most quoted lines that night in Boston, Obama said: “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America. There’s the United States of America.” In essence, Obama came to Philadelphia with the same message. One of hope, and collaboration so that all can share in his optimistic vision of the future of America.
Throughout his convention speech, Obama did a far better job of denouncing the views of Trump than any establishment Republicans managed during the primary campaign. In May when Jeb! Bush refused to endorse the candidacy of Trump, he said he was doing so because: “Donald Trump has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character. And, he is not a consistent conservative. These are all reasons why I cannot support his candidacy.” Obama did far better than Bush:
Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward.
But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican — and it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.
And that is not the America that I know.
Finally a major politician managed to properly articulate the danger and idiocy of Trump’s rhetoric. And to see a Democratic President criticising a Republican candidate for not being conservative enough, well that is quite something.
This takedown of Donald Trump’s campaign did not end there. After praising Hillary Clinton for having “real plans to address the concerns she’s heard from you on the campaign trail,” Obama attacked Trump once again.
And then there’s Donald Trump. He’s not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated.
Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice? If so, you should vote for him. But if you’re someone who’s truly concerned about paying your bills, and seeing the economy grow, and creating more opportunity for everyone, then the choice isn’t even close. If you want someone with a lifelong track record of fighting for higher wages, better benefits, a fairer tax code, a bigger voice for workers, and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton.
Obama’s speech was a triumph. He eviscerated Trump and his fear-mongering campaign, denouncing the billionaire businessman as, “just offering slogans”.
One of the biggest successes of this speech is the way in which it clearly captured the imagination of everyone sitting in the hall. Throughout the convention there have been protests from Bernie Sanders supporters disgruntled that their chosen candidate is not the nominee. Indeed, even earlier in the day during the address of former Secretary of Defense Leon Pannetta, there was audible booing along with chants of “no more war” from sections of the Sanders support. So for Obama to have been able to unite the party somewhat, he has done the campaign of Hillary Clinton a great service.
He managed to denounce Trump as un-American and un-patriotic, hardly characteristics that will endear him to the wider electorate come November, whilst at the same time championing the optimism pitched by the campaign of Hillary Clinton when compared to the pessimism of Donald Trump.
This speech will be remembered as one of Obama’s best, and perhaps even a turning point in this Presidential campaign.