Freddy Gray in The Spectator:
‘Whatever complicates the world more — I do,’ Donald Trump once said. If you can’t decipher what that means, don’t worry, that’s the point. ‘It’s always good to do things nice and complicated,’ he added, by way of explanation, ‘so that nobody can figure it out.’ That was 1996 and Trump was talking about business. But 20 years later, his approach to politics seems informed by the same perplexing mentality. Trump is the confusion candidate for President of the United States, and his platform is chaos. He promises to Make America Great Again. In reality, he’s Making America Madder Than Ever. Look at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week, where Trump was finally confirmed as the party’s official nominee. It ought to have been the triumphant moment when The Donald was anointed as the Chosen One, ready to lead the conservative charge to the White House. Instead it felt like madness — democracy as a cosmic joke.
Lots of Americans fear that civilised society is breaking down, and it’s easy to see why. Fifteen police officers have been killed in the line of duty this month, including three in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, just before the convention started. Around 5,000 officers were drafted into Cleveland from across the country, and were left to roam the streets with little to do. This overbearing security operation might have made delegates feel safer. But it also added to the atmosphere of dysfunction and instability which helps Donald Trump put himself across as the saviour for troubled times. Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort said this week that he based his acceptance speech on Richard Nixon’s 1968 effort, in which Tricky Dicky reassured Americans that he could bring stability to the country after the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jnr and months of civil unrest.