Editor's Note: Below is a brief excerpt from Hedgeye Potomac Chief Political Strategist JT Taylor's Capital Brief sent to institutional clients each morning. For more information on how you can access our institutional research please email email@example.com.
"With me it is exceptionally true that the Presidency is no bed of roses."
-James Knox Polk
LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUMBLE
Even for a master showman like Donald Trump, last night’s primetime acceptance speech was the biggest test of his life and his campaign, and he did what Donald needed to do. After three days of convention chaos, a very poised and polished Ivanka Trump introduced the softer side of her father and made the strongest appeal of the week to women while portraying her father as a fighter.
The pleasantries stopped there as Trump launched into an hour-long dialogue doubling-down on ideals he’s pushed for over a year, and presented himself as the leader who will bring law and order to a country victimized by corruption, illegal immigrants and terrorism. The night was Trump’s and he closed the convention the way he wanted to close it, leaving no prisoners and highlighting what he’ll do to put America first again.
His rockstar performance brought the Quicken crowd to their feet - and solidified his most fervent supporters viewing from their living rooms - but will it be enough to appeal to undecideds, independents and estranged Democrats?
Trump’s campaign tried to focus the Republican convention on party unity, but it’s apparent that Senator Ted Cruz didn’t get the memo. Most Republicans eyeing future runs for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave have already made peace with Trump, or at least ignored him altogether, and worry a failure to fall in line could backfire if the outspoken and mercurial candidate ends up placing the blame of his defeat - at their feet.
But for over a year now, Cruz and like-minded conservatives have made the case that Republicans will lose again if they nominate an insufficiently conservative candidate, and they’re betting that a Trump loss would prove their point. Cruz is only 45 years old and could have a long political career ahead of him – that is, if his arrogance doesn’t come back to haunt him.
It’s been said that foreign policy is not Trump’s strong suit, and his previous quip that he “watches the shows” to gather geopolitical information further cements that view. So we weren’t surprised when Trump stepped into it again by stating that the US would not necessarily defend new NATO members in the Baltics in the event of Russian attack.
Hmmm...that contradicts everything his newly-minted veep has said, not to mention that it rattles the very foundation of NATO itself, further digging himself into a deeper hole. His lack of foreign policy cred and unorthodox declarations will be on full display throughout the election, especially as his counterpart continually references her experience and steady hand.