Donald Trump's run for president might be the most bootleg, shoestring, lazy effort by any candidate in the history of the presidency. Maybe it's because of the racist, xenophobic stink that permeates everything he touches and, in turn, pushes any self-respecting Republican far away from his candidacy. At this point, he might as well be running for president of a Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
Currently, Trump's wife, Melania, for whom English is a second language, claims that she wrote the speech she delivered on the opening night of the Republican National Convention.
Everyone, including every member of Donald Trump's staff, knows that Quentin Miller—I mean, Michelle Obama—wrote the speech that Melania Trump apparently lifted. This isn't debatable. Everyone knows Melania Trump lifted that speech; in fact, the obvious tell, besides the fact that she seems to have straight stole damn near an entire section of a speech Obama gave in 2008, is that she used the phrase “Your word is your bond.” Ummm, unless there is a Slovenian Run-DMC that none of us knows about, clearly that phrase was lifted from Michelle "South Side of Chicago" Obama. But that's par for the course for this campaign, which can't raise the funds to support itself. One of the richest men in the world, to hear him tell it, can't spend the money to hire decent speechwriters.
My theory is that Melania Trump had her speech all written when a campaign staffer saw it and decided that it needed some more authenticity, some more Michelle Obama, and, like most white artists, decided to borrow a few phrases from black culture. This has been the ethos of Donald Trump's bid for the presidency. He doesn't actually want to research foreign policy, so he gets his info from “the shows." He doesn't know the logistics of building a wall or even how said wall would be built, but it sounds good and tough. Always tough.
What he has built is a poorly constructed following of like-minded, indolent thinkers to hide the fact that he's just uninformed, uninspired and lazy. And Melania Trump is following in the Trump tradition. She didn't want to look back to her own life and provide insight into who she really is. Why do that, when she could just borrow a life already lived by Michelle Obama?
What is more telling has been the Republican response since the speech heard ’round the Twitters and, more importantly, the resurgence of My Little Pony.
In defense of Melania Trump's obvious speech-jacking, RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer, with all earnestness in his heart, actually spouted lines from the My Little Pony series to prove that Melania Trump didn't steal the first lady's speech.
My Little Pony might be where we are as a nation, and right about where Donald Trump's campaign has been all along. But not present-day, “Friendship Is Magic” My Little Pony. I’m talking the original ’80s My Little Pony. Back then, it might have been the one toy that encapsulated all the excess, drug-fueled mysticism the stock market Reagan ’80s are known for. My Little Ponies were these psychedelic, painted, magical ponies with mystical powers and odd branding on their hind parts. They lived in Ponyland. They were all the rage, and they might have been the dumbest toy/cartoon ever made. They didn't do anything; they were just these little horses with colorful manes, a hairbrush and a message.
So, it is fitting that the orange man with the My Little Pony tresses who also lives in his own fictional Ponyland—where he wants to build walls to keep people out—would start the GOP national convention by framing his silhouette as "We Are the Champions" blared in the background.
Doesn't matter that Queen has repeatedly asked Trump and his campaign to stop using the band's music. He can't hear them because they haven't sent their request to Ponyland.
Trump's entire campaign has really been magical, but not David Blaine-mind-blowing magic. Trump's campaign strategy is like that of the magician who works children's parties. He has a few good tricks, so he plays to those: He's strong on immigration—excluding the fact, of course, that his wife is an immigrant; and he’s strong on making America great … for whatever that’s worth.
But in the end, it's all balloon animals; just hollow shapes with no real substance. Like the time Trump tweeted the Star of David over a pile of money in an attempt to bash Hillary Clinton. Critics jumped all over Trump, calling the image anti-Semitic. Trump's staff didn't even vet the image before he sent it out. If it had, it may have learned that the image was posted on an anti-Semitic, white supremacist message board just 10 days before Trump sent it out. Didn't matter; Trump used sleight of hand and misdirection, calling the image a “sheriff's star” and bashing the "dishonest media."
The grinning, cheering faces in the crowd at the convention, all the Trump supporters, truly believe that Trump isn't using sleight of hand but is actually pulling quarters from their ears every time he reaches behind their lobes. In fact, they can't figure out how they got past security with all those loose coins in their skull.
But that is part of the Trump allure; he is a vaudeville act, and the convention is his biggest stage. Like Santa and the Tooth Fairy and My Little Pony, Trump is only as honest or genuine or sincere, or even presidential, as your imagination.
If this story were any more real, it would be fiction.
Stephen A. Crockett Jr. is a senior editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.