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Trump Speech: Lies, Fear, Monomania in Gold

I listened to a complete Donald Trump speech for the first time last night. I heard nothing to convince me that Republicans really have nominated someone who could preside over the United States of America.

Trump began his speech with a lie: “I humbly—”. Anyone who takes Donald Trump’s use of the word humble seriously has not been listening to his perpetual resort to self-superlatives. He even brags about his humility.

Trump then offered 75 minutes of absurdity after absurdity and lie after recycled lie. Vox scores fewer than half of his factual claims as “true or almost true.” Immediately after saying “These are the facts,” Donald Trump made a Pants on Fire lie and and Half-True cherry-picked claim about rising crime. Where he did speak of facts, he tried to claim to be the unique voice of fact—”I will tell you the plain facts that have been edited out of your nightly news and your morning newspaper”—even though everyone of the facts checked in the blossoming fact-checks online can be find from reports that have appeared in the nightly news and morning newspapers and other journalistic sources available to the public. (Don’t forget morning, afternoon, and evening radio: NPR offers another enormously useful annotation and fact-check of the Republican nominees speech.)

When Donald Trump says, “I am your voice,” he’s not talking about empowering others to speak. He’s saying, “Listen only to my voice. Ignore any voice that challenges me.”

Given the lack of reliable substance, I want to spend a moment on Donald Trump’s style and tone.

Even in his abject surrender to the teleprompter, Donald Trump could not resist scratching himself orally with senseless emphatic phrases. Believe me, he said five times, as if belief is won by such explicit appeals and not by the apparent quality of the speech and ethos of the speaker. I mean, four times, not as an apologetic recovery from a verbal slip but as an emphatic device, as if we would doubt that he meant the words he just said. Never ever, five times, as if never doesn’t mean enough with two more syllables.

Repetition is a valuable rhetorical device, but Trump’s repetition is not artful. It doesn’t help us understand or remember his words. It sounds more like motorheads revving their engines at the intersection, using noise to make people look without actually getting anywhere.

Some of my best friends are woefully mistaken.
Some of my best friends are woefully mistaken.

Trump seems to take no real joy in his words. He gazed out mostly sternly, if not belligerently, at his audience, pouts and jaw-juts that, had it been Barack Obama, would have been instantly screen-capped and memed into nasty Tweets about the President’s obvious arrogance. His brief forays into chanting “U-S-A” sounded less like someone joining in popular jubilation and more like Il Duce, unhappy with the interruption, trying at least to lead the crowd into a more unified shout (and indeed, the RNC crowd seems to be really bad at rhythm).

Trump’s not really into composing or reading great oratory. His speech, lurching back and forth without developing any coherent direction (crime and chaos, faint hint of plan, random insertion of Mike Pence, back to crime and chaos), underscored the concern expressed by his ghostwriter Tony Schwartz, that Trump has no attention span. He just wants to say stuff and have people look at him.

His only enthusiasm seems to come in tearing down others and building himself up, in relishing the defeat of others—”We love defeating those people, don’t we? Love it.”—and his own imagined role as a singular champion—”I will be a champion. Your champion…. I will fight for you, and I will win for you.” He uses we as an afterthought, a necessary concession to pro forma humility, which any attentive reader can see right through.

Trump sees an America lost in “death, destruction, terrorism, and weakens.” As he painted his dystopian America, Donald Trump said freedom once last night. He said liberty zero times. He said law and order four times. He said crime eight times and some form of terror thirteen times.

Trump’s acceptance speech was anything but inspiring. Like the entire Republican National Convention, Trump’s speech was filled with falsehood, fear, and Donald Trump’s exclusive self-absorption—”Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”

Let’s see how well the Democratic National Convention can provide an inclusive antidote.


  1. Richard Schriever 2016-07-22 08:14

    Phrasing designed to seek out the hypnotizable – not the thoughtful.

  2. Jeff Barth 2016-07-22 08:36

    We light the torches and hand out the pitchforks.
    The veneer of civilization is not thick.
    In 50 years the old people will remember wistfully that “he made the trains run on time.”

  3. Steve Sibson 2016-07-22 09:07

    “I listened to a complete Donald Trump speech for the first time last night. I heard nothing to convince me that Republicans really have nominated someone who could preside over the United States of America.”

    Cory, Trump was speaking to Americans. So it makes sense that those who want to destroy America would not like what he said. The global economic elite certainly will do what they can to get Hillary in the White House.

  4. Eve Fisher 2016-07-22 09:14

    Once again, Mr. Sibson makes it plain that whoever does not agree with him is not an “American”. Which is patently unAmerican right there.

  5. Greg 2016-07-22 09:24

    Go ahead and down Mr Trump, I would expect no less from you Cory. Next week it will be the GOP,s to bash Hillary and her tell them what to hear speech. There is not a lot of difference in the caliber of either candidate. Looks like we are stuck with either Mr Arrogance or Mrs Liar.

  6. Jeff Barth 2016-07-22 09:26

    Getting Americans to agree is one of the amazing things about jury trials. 12 Americans agree? Gotta respect it.

  7. Rorschach 2016-07-22 09:51

    Is the US really the un-great place that Trump makes it out to be? We have our issues, but doesn’t every country have its issues? Are we really circling the drain?

    Donald Trump is not the plunger, but the plunged. Hillary Clinton is not the plunger either, but she’s not for holding back and reversing progress.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-22 09:57

    Richard, seeking “hypnotizable not thoughtful” voters is an excellent summary. Code words, not developed argumentation, as if saying “rigged system” will make Bernie Sanders voters suddenly flap their arms and vote for Trump.

  9. Darin Larson 2016-07-22 09:58

    I can’t get over the darkness and pessimism of Trump and his speech. America has its challenges to be sure, but every successful presidential candidate that I can recall offered hope and optimism. Trump acts like America is in its death throes instead of the world’s shining light for democracy, freedom and economic vitality. Reagan didn’t win because of his pessimism and personal attacks. He won because he persuaded voters that he had a vision for the next great chapter in American history. Likewise, Bill Clinton was the man from Hope and worked toward a brighter future. Barack Obama was Hope and Change. Even W was far more optimistic than Trump.

    Making America Great Again directly implies that we are not great now. But we still have the world’s biggest and most resilient economy. We have by far the world’s strongest military. People still flock to the US for economic opportunity and social freedom. By any comprehensive measure, America is still great!

    If the Republican Congress had not been on an absolute mission of obstructionism during the last 8 years, we could have been working on issues like the budget deficit, the debt, making the healthcare system more efficient and healthcare more available to all Americans, and initiatives to strengthen the middle class and our educational system. Instead, it has been a do-nothing Congress with a GOP that is bankrupt of ideas except to oppose Obama at every turn.

  10. Rorschach 2016-07-22 10:02

    Whew! Just taking a break from the GOP Party blog DakotaWarCollege’s non-stop coverage of the GOP convention.

    They have one post criticizing Ted Cruz and two posts criticizing Isack Latterol.

    That’s the sum total of DakotaWarCollege’s coverage of their own party’s national convention. Pathetic!

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-22 10:04

    Correction, Greg: Trump isn’t just Mr. Arrogance, his speech last night showed him to be Mr. Arrogant Liar. And let’s not play false equivalence to assuage conscience. There is vast difference in the caliber of the candidates with respect to qualification for the highest public office in America. Donald Trump has shown no prior commitment to public service. Hillary Clinton has spent her life in public service. Donald Trump has shown no regard for the voice of the people. Hillary Clinton triangulates to a fault to respond to the voice of the people. I still don’t like her, but I have confidence an attentive public can keep her headed down the path we want. Donald Trump, monomaniac, will do whatever he wants with however much money and power he can accumulate… and that’s a dangerous attitude to have in the White House, in charge of the fate of the world.

    I will watch next week’s convention. I will listen to Clinton’s acceptance speech and try to apply the same critical eye I have applied to Trump’s.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-22 10:09

    Ror, I’m happy to provide the most thorough coverage in the South Dakota Blogosphere of the Republican National Convention. I’ll try to be as diligent about the Democratic National Convention… though I do have doors to knock on!

    Pat’s sponsors probably told him to ignore the convention, and certainly to ignore Trump. Oh, look, a new video from John Thune:

  13. Donald Pay 2016-07-22 10:26

    Happy to say we had a big storm that knocked out our cable. Blissfully GOP free last night, but had to mop up the basement. While Trump was speaking lightning started a small fire across the street. A sign from God about the disaster Trump would cause?

  14. Dicta 2016-07-22 10:46

    For all intents and purposes, Trump’s speech last night was a success. Most surveyed by cnn liked it. Never one to let success go without some threat of bankrupting it, Trump is running his mouth this morning about Cruz’s dad again. The man just can’t shut his mouth.

  15. Ed 2016-07-22 10:53

    It’s no coincidence that we’ve had our worst heat spell in five years this week. When you put that much hot air in one place like the Republicans did at their convention, it is bound to boil over on to the rest of us. Perhaps God was trying to send a signal of his displeasure with the rhetoric coming out of Cleveland? And lo and behold, the forecast calls for a cooling off period and possible rain next week during the Democratic Convention. Imagine that!

  16. Steve Sibson 2016-07-22 11:11

    ‘Mr. Sibson makes it plain that whoever does not agree with him is not an “American”.’

    Another sad attempt to make this thread about me. My point is that the Clintons are working with the global elite to destroy America as nation. Illegal immigration is one of their tools. Ever here about the Clinton Global Initiative?

    “Hillary Clinton triangulates to a fault to respond to the voice of the people.”

    That is a lie. The Clintons work for the One Percenters:

    Nevertheless, the election of Sanders or Trump is important, because it demonstrates that American citizens are emerging from The Matrix and have no confidence in the two corrupt political parties that betrayed them. The message would go out to the world as well that the American people have no confidence in the Washington Establishment. These messages are very important and can only have beneficial effects.

    So why is the progressive left helping the One Percent keep the lid on the rest of us? Has the progressive left sold out or is the progressive left putting its emotional needs above the general welfare?

  17. mike from iowa 2016-07-22 11:14

    Greg, can you pick out one or two points of importance Drumpf hasn’t lied about? I’d sure like to hear them.

  18. mike from iowa 2016-07-22 11:18

    A sign from God about the disaster Trump would cause?

    Only had it taken out Snott Wanker and his pretentions of being Potus. Madison Cap Times does an excellent job correcting Walker’s obvious lies about the state Wisconsin is in-Dire.

  19. Donald Pay 2016-07-22 11:19

    The staging seems eerily similar to The Hunger Games. In fact the mix of reality TV memes and fear is right out teen dystopian novels. Hillary is our Katniss.

  20. mike from iowa 2016-07-22 12:01

    We have has our fun poking fun at wingnut convention. Next week, it gets serious. The vitriol will be too thick to cut with a knife. It will be plain right wing ugly hate fest and , of course, they will say Dems did the same to Drumpf.

  21. Roger Cornelius 2016-07-22 12:29

    When Sibson casts his vote this November’s election it will be for Donald Trump for no other reason than he has to since Trump is a republican.
    As Darin Larson points out on the Cruz thread, Sibson will be supporting the biggest elite crony capitalist America has ever known.
    Hillary doesn’t hold a candle to Trump and his elite crony capitalism.

  22. mike from iowa 2016-07-22 12:34

    Drumpf eyeballing his daughter and grabbing her hips last night shows what a horndog, perverted perv wingnuts support.

  23. Steve Sibson 2016-07-22 13:15

    “When Sibson casts his vote this November’s election it will be for Donald Trump for no other reason than he has to since Trump is a republican.”

    Another sad attempt to distract the discussion by making this all about me. I want to know why Democrats would vote for the One Percenter candidate:

    Leading off the Clinton cheering section at Bilderberg 2016 is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the uber-éminence grise of the globalist establishment. Yes, he is a “Republican” — in name only; “Dr. K” is — first, last, and always — a committed one-worlder, as his career and membership in key insider organizations (Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, CFR, Atlantic Council, Aspen Institute, Bohemian Club) attest.

    However, there are more than ideological affinities and organizational ties that closely bind Henry and Hillary. Oddly enough, and unbeknownst to most of the American public, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Henry and Nancy Kissinger are bosom buddies. These two power couples have long shared their Christmases together at Punta Cana, the luxurious island estate of designer Oscar de la Renta, in the Caribbean. In interviews with NPR and USA Today, Kissinger praised Hillary’s stint as secretary of state and said she would make a “good president.”

    And you Trump haters have Republican and Neo-Con company:

    On May 7, the Washington Post ran an article entitled “The 10 Republicans who hate Donald Trump the most.” No surprise, they named [Lindsey] Graham as #1 among the “biggest Trump haters,” ahead of even Bill Kristol, Mitt Romney, and “the Bush family.” His continuing vocal attacks on Trump undoubtedly contributed to his invitation to the Bilderberg conclave — along with his reliable pro-Big Government, internationalist, pro-intervention, pro-war-everywhere voting record.

  24. Dicta 2016-07-22 13:52

    Goddamnit, Sibson is legitimately insane.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-22 14:42

    Oh, Ed, I don’t want to rain on your rain (thunderstorm headed for Aberdeen right now!), but let’s not go seeing patterns where there are none. sometimes the weather is just the weather… and sometimes fascism is really fascism.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-22 14:46

    Dicta, I see the insta-polling gives Trump positives for that speech:

    56% of speech viewers more likely to vote for Trump, 10% less likely; 57% had “very positive” reaction to the speech itself, 18% “somewhat positive,” 24% “negative”. That 24% included all speech teachers, debate coaches, and history teachers who watched the speech. ;-)

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-22 14:50

    Steve Sibson, Donald Trump is a card-carrying member of the One Percent. As Jon Stewart said last night of Sean Hannity’s “blue-collar billionaire”, “That’s not a thing.

  28. Dicta 2016-07-22 14:50

    It was a good speech. The best speech. By the time he’s done speeching, you’re all gonna be tired of speech because he speeches so good.

  29. Darin Larson 2016-07-22 14:55

    Sibson, let’s hear why in your view someone should vote for Trump, who is the one thousand of 1%er candidate (.001%)

    It is sad that you won’t tell us why the biggest admitted crony capitalist in the world is the person deserving our vote for president.

  30. Douglas Wiken 2016-07-22 16:10

    Those pre-disposed to support Trump will hear only what they agreed with in Trump’s speech. As an NPR Science Friday story today indicated people are more and more living in “silo communities”. Reds in Reds, Blues in Blues. The primary appeal to most people will be the anti-illegal-alien comments and the attack on political correctness….even if it was soon followed by GOP political-correct Trickle-down tax cut humbug.

    Democrats should put on a very positive convention doing their very best to ignore the GOP convention. A little humor, a lot of valid and entertaining history, real programs related to real issues, and scrupulous attention to truth and not just “truthiness”.

  31. leslie 2016-07-22 17:06

    good comment doug. I think we are all about to see what a leader Hillary can be in the roll out of her campaign. trump couldn’t have given her a better opportunity. Bernie would have been great too, but the danger of losing to trump has become all too real. wow.

  32. leslie 2016-07-22 17:14

    Jeff, there is nothing more manipulated than a jury trial by a (master or not) trial lawyer. smoke and mirrors. you’ve heard “argue the facts, if u don’t have the facts, argue the law…,” yahdahyadah

    psychologists profile potential jurors. there is not much that is real in this this country, that I can see.

  33. leslie 2016-07-22 17:22

    cory, is that golden trump backdrop in your 1st photo really what was used at the convention? heil trump.


  34. bearcreekbat 2016-07-22 17:31

    The messages we hear from anti-Hillary and anti-Trump factions are quite telling.

    If you are anti-Hillary you say nothing about the policies she advocates. Instead you engage in name-calling, conspiracy theories, etc. But you identify no policy reasons to justify your hatred.

    If you are anti-Trump there is plenty to criticize about his character, yet that seems the least troubling factor. Much more problematic are his cruel and anti-human policy proposals, such as: break up families by arresting 11 million people to deport; punish women who have abortions; keep women and children refugees out of the USA; treat American Muslims as a threat; stop Muslim immigration; kill the family members of those men believed to be terrorists; expand the use of torture and waterboarding; expand Gitmo to hold many more “bad” people without trial; build a wall along our southern border to keep Mexicans out of the USA even though we are at peace with Mexico; break our treaty obligations; eliminate minimum wages for workers; lower taxes on the very rich; default on American debt so we can buy it back at a discount or just print more money to pay off the debt; consider using nuclear weapons to fight terrorism; among other ideas for our nation to pursue.

    People simply have decided to hate Hillary based on character assassination, calling her dishonest, a liar, corrupt, etc, even though she has never been charged, let alone convicted of, with any crime in her life. But there seems to be an extreme absence of criticizing her because of what she advocates for public policies.

    Many people oppose Trump because of stupid comments he has made, but the more common complaints seem to relate to public policies Trump advocates that many find not only unreasonable and unrealistic, but harmful and horrific.

    Ask yourself, which position is the most rational?

  35. Don Coyote 2016-07-22 18:06

    @cah: “Steve Sibson, Donald Trump is a card-carrying member of the One Percent.”

    So are Bill and Hillary. Pot meet kettle.

  36. Roger Cornelius 2016-07-22 18:25

    In looking at the high approval ratings for Trump’s speech, I am reminded of whoever it was that said, you can never understand the ignorance of the American public.
    Truer words have never been spoken.

  37. mike from iowa 2016-07-22 19:13

    Billary actually worked for their money. They weren’t born on 3rd base like a certain fascist you wingnuts admire. Drumpf the perv would make a good replacement for Roger Ailes at Fake Everything Corp.

  38. leslie 2016-07-22 19:42

    coyote-bill went to a big law school from NOTHING. he was a state attorney general. Hillary went to a big law school from NOTHING, nearly. then went after Nixon. and got him. then bill became a governor. then Hillary became a law partner representing the biggest client in the world, Waltons. any lawyer in the world would die for that kind of client. then they made investments. the savings and loan industry tanked. some investments worked out, others didn’t. you and the rest of republicans have been trying to tackle them ever since. bill, idiot he is, had affairs, then lied about it to the nation. pretty stupid. but that’s all you got.

    oh, you got trump, that’s right.

  39. Don Coyote 2016-07-22 20:17

    @Roger Cornelius: Dooh! (facepalm). Underestimate not understand.

    “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” – H L Mencken (paraphased)

    “No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.” – H L Mencken (actual)

  40. Roger Cornelius 2016-07-22 20:41

    Bite me, Coyote.
    I didn’t quote H.L. Mencken or anybody else.
    I attributed my comment to what I heard somewhere in my long life. There have probably been others that heard similar quotes are sayings.
    Save your history lessons for the classroom.

  41. Donald Pay 2016-07-22 22:05

    One thing that’s interesting to me is how Republicans insist on using certain focus group tested words and phrases, then criticizing anyone who doesn’t echo the same words or phrases. I mean how many times have we heard Trump or other Republicans say, they will “take care of our veterans,” at the same time they propose reduced funding to do just that. The big one, of course, is “radical Islamic terrorism.” If you are opposed to all terrorism generally, Republicans seem to think you are some sort of politically correct, pointy headed liberal. It’s as if the bodies torn apart by the bomb set off by right wing Christian extremist Nichols aren’t to be considered with the same reverence as those torn apart by the Boston Marathon bombers, who were Muslim. They insist on “all lives matter,” which is just another way of dismissing the real issue of inadequate policing that leads to dead black men. Of course, “law and order” has a long history as a blatantly Southern racist dog whistle, but if you don’t mouth “law and order” as a phrase, Republicans think you support mayhem in the streets.

    I’m not sure why Republicans can’t get beyond words and phrases, and get down to policy. Sure, liberals have some of the same hangups about certain words and phrases, but they at least bring some substance along with their hangups.

    Anyway, I thought this little article, which I’m not sure is actually real, brings home the point.

  42. jerry 2016-07-22 22:34

    Mr. Pay, that is all republicans offer, bumper stickers and focus groups that test the correct way to say “America, we are here to screw you” They may well have sent their wordsmith to the UK to come up with the slogans that were successful to instigate Brexit. Here is exactly what Trump and the rest want us all to buy into. Law and order only means confinement, nothing else in their world.

  43. Donald Pay 2016-07-23 09:51


    It’s just so obvious. “Build a Wall.” Is it really any surprise that master marketer Donald Trump’s entire campaign involves focus group tested test words and phrases repeated over and over again. Then add some facial expressions and raised voice that conjure up limbic system emotions in the audience. Trump is a master at this sort of marketing to the unsophisticated. Hate/anger/fear generally will win out over love/goodwill/courage, especially in those with a reptilian brain.

  44. Jerry 2016-07-23 10:40

    Sibson, think clearly about the name Neut, when you think of that name, think of slimey. Is this not the man who left his sick wife for blondie? Youse guys and .your dolls.

  45. mike from iowa 2016-07-23 10:49

    Quite an article<Mr Pay. Are we talking former American soldiers as mercs? Blackwater type guns for hire?

  46. Mike Kokenge SR 2016-07-23 11:04

    My roots go back to Luxembourg Germany. That being said, it has always been a curiosity of how an entire intelligent nation could allow itself to be ruled by a monster like hitler. I listened to your belfrage interview the other day. You touched on a matter that belfrage and his listeners must have thought was crazy. You talked about the staging of the RNC event. That staging is in fact eerily similar to 1932 Germany under propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. But for me the most haunting image that sticks with me is trumps body language. The pursing of the lips? Classic mussolini. The scowl? Again, mussolini. The forced jutting out of his torso as he looks down on his domain? mussolini. I have watched hours and hours of youtube documentaries on the second world war. Check it out for yourself. Just use the youtube search engine and type in mussolini.

    Getting back to goebbels, the propaganda minister of the third reich. He did in Germany what Roger Ailes has done here with fox news over the past twenty years. With the hate that cable news spews, right along with right wing radio talking heads spreading there own brand of hate, I no longer how frankentrump was created.

    Perhaps the ouster this week of Roger Ailes is a good sign. We can only hope so.

    Oh, and have I answered for myself how an intelligent nation was led down a path of destruction? Yes, I am seeing it played out again 84 years later.

  47. Darin Larson 2016-07-23 13:44

    Mike Kokenge, thanks for your perspective. There certainly are a lot of parallels.

    As divisive and politically charged as the country is right now, it is nothing like the disaster that Germany was in 1932. The economic upheaval and humiliation of Germany in the aftermath of WWI created the perfect environment for a fascist regime to sprout and grow.

    Similarly, Trump is trying to paint the picture of an America in crisis and in mortal danger, but his doom and gloom is only so much hype from the king of gold-plated hype.

    When it comes down to it, Trump is a poser who wants to play the tinhorn dictatorial strongman role as he would on TV. Contrast Hitler who was a true believer. Trump knows he is full of crap, but he is so full of himself that he will say anything to try to pander to get votes.

    The danger is in Trump’s narcissism he may make decisions that will be horrible for the country as his campaign demonstrates everyday. By uninformed gut feeling is no way to make decisions. Unlike Trump companies every few years, the US can’t declare bankruptcy and make our economic challenges go away when bad decisions are made.

    This is not to say that Trump won’t carry out some of the outrageous fascist promises that he has made such as trying to limit first amendment rights for critical media, trying to stop immigration and generally encouraging discrimination and an unhealthy brand of nationalist fervor. And you certainly can’t discount the fact that the magnitude of a crazy decision made by a president Trump could lead to catastrophic consequences for the country and the world.

    The irony of the fact that Trump’s vision of doom and gloom could come to fruition as a result of Trump’s election is not lost on me.

  48. mike from iowa 2016-07-23 18:47

    Drumpf’s groped daughter’s line of dresses is made in China and sold at Macy’s-two of Drumpf’s mortal enemies.

  49. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-24 10:26

    Good history, Mike K. Trump’s body language is very Mussolini. His staging Thursday night made me think Nuremberg—not the Trials, but the Rallies.

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