The most memorable speech of the night, and short enough that you can watch the whole thing from intro to conclusion in the time it takes to drink your morning coffee. I doubt it moved the needle, though. If you’re open to an appeal like this, chances are you were already down on Trump. If you’re not, well…
You know what this convention really needed? An angry Muslim with a thick accent like Fareed Zacaria.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) July 29, 2016
The average reaction on the right to this speech, I would guess, was that every bad bunch is bound to have a few good apples. Watching Khan reminded me of Marco Rubio bringing up Muslim servicemen during the primaries when asked about Trump’s ban on Muslim visitors. How are you going to be commander-in-chief of a military that includes them, he asked, when you’re out there saying you don’t trust Muslims enough to let them set foot in the United States? Four months later, Rubio’s now telling reporters to chill out about Trump because he’ll learn on the job. As a microcosm of Trump’s conquest of the GOP, you can’t do better than that. But that proves my point about Khan or anyone else having trouble moving the needle. If a deeply conflicted Trump supporter like Rubio is willing to shrug off an argument like this and stick with him, the average Trump supporter obviously will too. Rubio’s being a good soldier for his party. Like Humayun Khan was a good soldier for his country.
Beyond the attack on Trump, Khan’s speech is probably the starkest example of Democrats seizing the opportunity to try to claim patriotism from the GOP. That was a theme all week, starting with Michelle Obama’s unlikely scolding of Trump on Monday night for failing to appreciate American greatness. The nationalist message is that the country sucks now because it’s being overrun by foreigners; the Democratic counter-message is that the country is great because it’s hospitable to foreigners. There’s truth in both positions but the Democratic one at least doesn’t leave you stuck with arguing that America sucks. I assume they’ll revert to form in 2020 and once again be the party that wants to love its country and would do so if only X, Y, and Z were different, but who knows anymore. Maybe this is the choice for a generation.