Donald Trump's Acceptance Speech: America Is Scary But Fixable

It's scary out there.

Donald Trump painted a foreboding picture Thursday of an America adrift as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination with a sober speech in Cleveland.

He invoked a nation imprisoned by its own rotten political establishment and clawing special interests, at risk from terrorists who could be disguised as Syrian refugees and stalked by tens of thousands of illegal immigrant criminals.

Trump has demonstrated a knack for channeling the nation's mood. His convention message is tailored for a country grappling with mounting anxiety over a rash of terror attacks at home and abroad, and a feeling that something is badly wrong after a spate of shootings of police officers, rising racial tensions and a globalized economy that has left many Americans behind. Trump's speech may have hit on a message that could propel him to the presidency.

The question now, as Republican delegates head home and the political circus decamps to Philadelphia for Hillary Clinton's anointing by Democrats next week, is whether Trump did what he needed to do in Cleveland.

Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist, said that notwithstanding Cruz's intervention on Wednesday, Trump succeeded in pulling together the Republican Party, which initially viewed him with suspicion around him.

"I think that he united the base," O'Connell said, arguing that Trump needed to ensure that more than 90% of GOP voters showed up in November if he has a chance to win the election.

Read more from Stephen Collinson at CNN

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Analysis & Political Strategy