Sanctimonious critics are blasting Donald Trump today for what they say was excessive fearmongering in his GOP convention acceptance speech on Thursday night.
But here's the thing: His speech simply reflected the headlines in every major U.S. newspaper and website every day for the past few months.
There has been story after story and column after column about an America mired in income inequality, gun violence, sexism, racism, and homophobia, crumbling infrastructure and global warming Armageddon. And then you hear people say that this can't go on, we have to do something about it!
Enter Donald Trump, who is ready to do something about it.
And to that, they say: His speech was too dark and scary!
As "The Donald" himself would say: Puhhhhhlease!
The same people pretending to be outraged by Trump's subject matter and tone on Thursday night are the ones who keep telling us we have to have those serious and even uncomfortable discussions about race, economic injustice, and our foreign policy. Last night, we got that conversation and suddenly the people calling for it have decided not only that they didn't like it but considered it entirely out of bounds.
The key question is whether the people — voters — who say they want change and are unhappy with the direction of the country really feel strongly enough about that to take a bet on an unknown and potentially volatile commodity like Trump.
Anyone turned off by last night's speech is highly unlikely to vote for him and now must be considered a strong possibility to choose Hillary Clinton over third-party candidates like Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who also promote themselves as "change candidates" hoping to fix a country in danger. The fact that Trump, Johnson, and Stein continue to show strength in the polls should probably tell us that the movement for change is robust as are its corresponding key ingredients of anger and fear.
It's one thing to be tone deaf about how the country is feeling and how it should be addressed by its candidates. But when you're the composer, conductor, and performer of the sad and scary song you're suddenly unable to accept and are supposedly shocked to see in someone else's symphony, either you're inordinately dishonest or desperately unhinged from reality.
Trump can very simply defend himself by not only pointing out that his sharpest critics have been even more consistently dire and negative, but he can also remind everyone that he at least offered some solutions. Those solutions may be too simplistic, but "simple and clear" works in elections and always has.
The news media's group-think reaction to Trump's speech last night will thus be just the latest example of how its attempts to wound Donald Trump have only made him stronger and increased his chances of winning in November.