The Trump show: he could just win again

The Trump show: he could just win again

Is the American President about to pull off his greatest trick yet?

Keep America Great’ is President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election slogan and it sounds off. The phrase doesn’t have the same ring as Make America Great Again, the mantra that Trump pinched from Reagan and repeated to victory in 2016. As an acronym, KAG is uglier than MAGA. The words particularly jar when America’s cities are burning, homicide rates are spiking, almost 180,000 Americans have died of or with Covid, and the country is reeling from the largest economic shock of all time. You call that great?

Then again, 2020 is an even crazier year than 2016, and the maddest news is that Donald Trump might be about to defy the odds again and win. He remains much-loathed, divisive, behind in the polls, but he’s suddenly running a much better campaign than his opponent, the Democratic nominee Joe Biden — and it’s beginning to show.

Compare and contrast the two big party conventions we’ve just witnessed. This week the Republican party has had its quadrennial nomination fest and it felt much more coherent than the event the Democrats put on last week. Thanks to Covid, both conventions have been conducted online, which gives them an unreal quality, yet Team Trump’s video presentation has been slicker and simpler than Biden’s — despite (or maybe because of) the fact the Democrats had the might of Hollywood and the entertainment industry behind them. Perhaps that is the benefit of going second.

The Trump show is still weird as hell, of course. On Tuesday, the Republicans had to pull one of the speakers, an ‘angel mom’ called Mary Ann Mendoza, after she posted links to an online conspiracy theory that suggested the Rothschild family is trying to enslave the world. ‘Do yourself a favour and read this thread,’ she tweeted, then later claimed she hadn’t read it herself. That whiff of anti-Semitism was offset by Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, who arguably breached diplomatic protocols by delivering his convention address from the rooftop of the King David hotel in Jerusalem, Israel.

After Pompeo, Melania Trump, the First Lady, came over well as she praised her husband and talked about protecting children from social media and addiction. Americans may be wondering, though, why they had to hear speeches from not one, not two, but six members of the President’s family. On Monday, Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former TV presenter, sounded possessed as she howled, almost orgasmically, that ‘the best is yet to come’. Team Trump called that ‘passion’. Everybody else knows that the reason she is on the campaign is because she is Donald Junior’s girlfriend. It’s a land of opportunity.While the world shrieks and gawps, Family Trump is able to speak directly to American voters

Yet that sordid freakiness is the key to Trump’s success: five long years after he descended that shiny moving staircase in the Trump Tower to launch his presidential bid, he still has the power to horrify the media and fascinate people. His great talent as a campaigner is that while much of the world continues to shriek and gawp at the Trump circus, the President and his talking heads are able to speak directly to American voters about the issues that most concern them. Again and again this week, Family Trump touched on the economy, China, restoring law and order, and free speech.