Cleveland

It’s been quite a week. Here’s a brief impression of the outcome of the Convention and the impossible Mr Trump’s speech.

Forget the row about plagiarism and Mrs Trump’s speech. Anyone with a plagiarism app could have worked that out and only the “insiders” smart enough to spot it were “upset”. Middle America doesn’t care.

Senator Cruz played the role of the dinner guest who arrives drunk then throws up in the soup. Should have stayed at home in the first place – like Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Governor Kasich. It may be rude not to turn up at all, but turning up, then not endorsing was simply ridiculous.

On the Thursday night “The Donald’s” purpose was to lay out the battle ground beyond “anyone but Hillary” and illuminate the policy divides. He partly succeeded. Bluster was still the style, but he’s now a candidate, so there were some subtle changes.

The words on immigration were carefully crafted – no “ban” this time, but stricter examination of those who legally qualify. The wall with Mexico will not be impermeable.

Trade agreements? Suddenly he shifted from “ripping up” agreements to a nation by nation negotiated basis – in contrast to the Democrats’ global structure (architect, Bill Clinton). There are parallels with the UK’s post Brexit challenge.

NATO? Everyone has to pull their weight, he says. If his assertion that resisting any future Russian aggression against Baltic states wasn’t a given for the US raised censorious eyebrows, he was just stating the bleeding obvious after Obama’s aimless pushing of Putin’s reset button (his build spec doesn’t include one) and the failure to defend Crimea and incursions in Ukraine. And are other NATO states keen for a confrontation anyway? Maybe Trump should pledge to step up behind Belgium when it leads the way in defence of Estonia.

Making this a “law and order” election is smart. It is hard to overstate the horror here at recent police shootings. The fear of a worsening racial divide, which Obama thinks is “institutionalised” and hopeless, is palpable here – especially among the African Americans I spoke to.

It was swept over in reports, but Trump delivered a stinging analysis of Obama’s and Hillary’s abandonment of middle east commitments as the cause of power vacuums across the region, which bred Isis. In that, he’s blunt and right. Clear policy initiatives on education, energy and tax were also on the agenda.

There was a lot more meat in this speech – different from his Primary blustering – including equality of pay for women; abandonment of Tea Party obsessions; embracing minorities (“LGBTQ” is the acronym here – work it out for yourself, if you dare), only don’t expect to insist on a transgender restroom in your neighbourhood anytime soon; and a sensible criterion for appointing Supreme Court Justices, meaning adherence to “process”; not another arm of the legislature (Hillary’s declared objective).

Not all he said had the convention floor enraptured. That is good news. He won’t run a campaign based on their religiously driven obsessions, hence the divide with Cruz. So, the Tea Party is over. Welcome to the Bar Room Brawl.

His kids were a revelation – capable, articulate and almost “ordinary”. They seemed unspoilt by their celebrity and if there had been a floor vote after Donald Jr.’s presentation he would have been the candidate.

There are plenty of shortcomings and Trump still has the capacity to implode – and fail to capture enough of the votes of women and Hispanics who loathe him.

Here’s an explanation of where he’s coming from. America is simply his latest “project”; and he loves projects. It was building towers. Now it’s tearing down government – not politics. Welcome to “Trump America”! Most of his projects worked. Last year he was given a 1% chance of winning the nomination, which says it all. Cleveland was strewn with pundits still eating unfinished chunks of humble pie left over from the primary season.

And Cleveland itself? Thank goodness it was an exemplar of excellent policing and retrained protesting. The only incident I actually heard tell of was a guy who set fire to a US flag – a constitutional “free speech” right, incidentally – who attracted the attentions of the police only when his pants caught fire. They approached him with extinguishers and he was carted off to the emergency room.

‎And Cleveland’s Art Museum is fantastic – featuring amazing Renaissance and British collections. Cleveland’s Opera Theater probably deserves a future visit, too. Any organisation with a President called “Scipione” who portrays the recent sacking of founder Andrea Anelli as “having her timeline compressed” must be worth a second look. Pure Tosca.