The Slatest

Today’s Trump Apocalypse Watch: Will There Be a Bump?

Balloons!

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump Apocalypse Watch is a subjective daily estimate, using a scale of one to four horsemen, of how likely it is that Donald Trump will be elected president, thus triggering an apocalypse in which we all die.

Slate writers panned Donald Trump’s shouty, apocalyptic Thursday convention speech as a failure of both style and substance. The RNC was otherwise highlighted by the Trump campaign’s botched reaction to Melania Trump’s plagiarism and by Ted Cruz making a spectacle of himself. Other speakers fixated bleakly on crime and terrorism and fantasized about jailing Hillary Clinton. It seemed, at least to this blogger, like a mostly missed opportunity to sell Trump’s reasonable side (which, to be clear, does not actually exist) to a skeptical general audience. He might have made the case—which he and his surrogates have floated before—that his bellicose rhetoric is just a negotiating tactic and that as president he would understand the importance of maintaining stability and leading in an inclusive way. But instead he went another direction, vowing grandiosely to end all crime, threatening to abandon European allies to a hypothetical Russian invasion, and generally coming across as a menacing presence who would subsume every aspect of American life into his person as a sort of president-emperor. It was enough to fill a man’s stomach with a real sense of foreboding dread.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

On the other hand, Trump’s children gave effectively delivered speeches that, for a moment, made their father sound somewhat tolerable. (More than one observer has suggested that Trump’s kids might, at some point, run better versions of his current campaign.) And many Americans do care enough about crime and terrorism to vote for someone who sounds sufficiently “strong” on the subject. Some previously undecided conservatives, meanwhile, were no doubt convinced to get on board by the vigor of the pro-Trump crowd and red-meat speakers like Laura Ingraham and Rudy Giuliani. Which is all a way of saying that, when next week’s polls start to indicate whether Trump got the usual convention bounce, any outcome will be easily explainable by reference to this week’s events. Isn’t punditry easy?

Advertisement
Advertisement

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons

Advertisement