Hey, did you hear that Melania Trump plagiarized her RNC speech from Michelle Obama? You’re not the only one.
Actually, whoever wrote her Melania Trump’s speech stole from whoever wrote Michelle Obama’s speech and got caught. The Trump campaign, though, is saying that no one will be fired. Of course they won’t. It was, after all, a job well done.
Even getting caught. Especially getting caught.
Think about it. They didn’t choose a speech from decades ago that most people on the internet today probably never heard, they picked one from 2008. They knew someone would find it and share their findings.
The Trump team wanted to get caught. The question is why. I can think of two reasons:
The Perfect Audition
If you see politics through the lens of showbiz and reality TV as the Trump Campaign clearly does, this speech was Melania’s audition for the role of First Lady. And now, thanks to the plagiarism, everyone gets to see her audition reel juxtaposed with that of the woman who currently has the role.
They’re using the same script, as many performers do in an audition. Only the delivery can be judged. If you think that Donald Trump thinks substance is important, especially when it comes to women, then you really haven’t been paying attention to the Trump Campaign.
Sure, there will be Trump plagiarism jokes, but they will fade. Everyone knows about speechwriters, so there won’t be any lasting repercussions for Melania’s credibility. The result of the media’s inadvertent and subliminal elevation of Melania Trump to Michelle Obama’s level, on the other hand, could be long lasting.
Burying the Ugliness of the Night
Until Donald introduced Melania, night one of the Republican National Convention was a prime time play to the extreme right of the GOP base. The speakers hit all the right bigot sweetspots.
There was fear of the Mexican other, fear of the Muslim other and fear that Hillary Clinton somehow colluded with the others in Benghazi. There was praise of the militarized state and, of course, Blue Lives Matter.
It was a display of middle American white pride and fear that was as sure to rally the Republican troops as it was to infuriate the left and alienate more than a handful of centrists. But that’s not what we’re talking about now, is it?
While the far right most likely now feels that Donald Trump’s Republican Party really speaks to them, the rest of us have been focused on video of a would-be first lady played opposite a video of an actual one. Donald didn’t even screw it up by saying something inflammatory himself.
After using We Are the Champions as intro music (something, fortunately, we are calling him out for), Trump said: “Oh, we’re gonna win. We’re gonna win so big!”
He sounded like someone unable to contain the fact that he thought his plan was working. Now, it’s clear what his plan for the night was.
The most frightening takeaway from RNC Night One wasn’t that most of the GOP base are bigots, we already knew that. It’s the horrific realization that Donald Trump may actually be smart enough to pull this off.