Katz: First Thoughts On Trump In Indy
GOP Presidential front-runner Donald Trump made a stop in Indy to being his campaign for #Primary500, the Indiana primary which takes place on May 3rd.
He spoke to over 2000 people at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, where he gave a speech that can only be described as rambling and unfocused. And, it would seem, that his supporters don't mind in the slightest.
I tried to take notes throughout, but the level of repetition was so great that my notes ended up being copies of notes I took five minutes earlier. Watching this speech was like being in a real-life version of Groundhog Day.
Trump came out to thunderous applause, and wasted no time in calling people names; Crooked Hillary (Clinton) and Lyin Ted (Cruz.) I will say I was surprised to hear Trump edge toward a claim that Sen. Cruz isn't serious about his faith. He said (paraphrasing) Cruz is lying every time he puts down the Bible. I havent heard that previously. It stood out to me.
Trade and military were his two biggest talking points. On trade , Trump said our country is in trouble if, "...we don't get smart, very very quickly, on trade. On defense. We have to build our country big. Powerful." No one is surprised by this; pushing on trade, in the wake of Carrier's decision to leave Indiana, had to be point number one.
What was surprising was that he moved off it quickly, pivoting to national defense. "We're going to build up our military. And, by the way, we're going to take care of our veterans, because they have not been taken care of properly."
He comes back to Carrier, saying (of their move to Mexico) when they want to sell in the United States, "We're going to say, sorry folks. We're gonna charge you a 35% tax after what you did." Trump is focused on tarrifs. It gets big applause, and cheers from the audience. I was left wondering if he has thought through the economic impact of such taxes, and whether he can get any passed by Congress.
Trump almost mentioned his meeting with Gov. Mike Pence, but a protester caught his attention and he shifted focus. Again.
His attention in this speech was non-existent. Half sentences, unfinished thoughts, random outbursts; all were common place. One would make a tourette's joke, but that would be an unwarranted attack on tourettes' sufferers.
He talked coal and steel, saying we're going to bring back steel to Indiana in a big way. It's odd to hear him talk about jobs leaving Indiana, when Indiana has a lot of economic growth. But, he should get credit for making mention of coal, which is a big story here. Pence's battles with the EPA are far from over.
(It should also be noted that Trump is also the only candidate who repeatedly talks about Carrier. The loss of 1400 jobs to Mexico has been big news here, and a source of frustration for Hoosiers and elected officials.)
But his talk of coal and steel didn't last long. In a span of less than five minutes, Trump talked about police treatment in the US, coal, steel, China and problems with drugs.
Focus level = not applicable.
Trump came back to Carrier, asking if anyone in the audience worked there. He finds two people with more than two decades at Carrier. It's a perfect moment to speak to them directly, as if he's speaking to all Carrier employees, about how he can help them if they elect him. But he doesn't stick with this conversation; he moves on to the delegate system.
This was the most informative part of his speech. Trump talked about the crooked system, about his issues with delegates. He complains that both the GOP, and the Democrats, both have a crooked system in choosing delegates, and selecting a nominee. He makes the claim that the only way to beat the system is to be a part of the Trump "movement."
This was his first admission that Indiana matters, and matters a lot. He seems to know that he needs the win in Indiana to get the nomination in the first round. He might be aware, if only for the first time, that if he doesn't win on the first ballot, he might not get the nomination.
Everything else was a rehash, and a repeat, of what he said earlier. Mentions of NATO and "radical Islamic terrorism" were sprinkled between the continual mentions of China, and the military. He had multiple mentions of clean coal, with no details of plants, costs nor the EPA.
He goes back to "The Wall," Carrier, and tarrifs: "You're gonna pay a damn tax when you leave this country and sell your product...If I was in office right now, Carrier would not be leaving Indiana."
Trump reiterates how Indiana is going to be very important. "We have a movement going on....We don't want to be taken advantage of, both militarily and economically."
Trump ended his talk by returning to his favorite talking point - "We don't win anymore." He tells the crowd that, "...everything is going to be a win. And when (you) cast that vote for Donald Trump, we start to win again. Remember - Make America Great Again!"
In the end, his speech didn't move any undecideds. It was meant solely as a way to excite his base. He did that, and not much else.