Trump rolls out ‘human props’ to add heart to State of the Union

Taking a page from Ronald Reagan’s playbook, he repeatedly referenced regular Americans and their stories, as TV cameras picked them out in the gallery, throughout his 80-minute address.

In addition, you’re not a particularly good speaker, and you’ve got a vocabulary that might embarrass a sixth-grader?

What, in the name of William Jennings Bryan, can you possibly do? If you’re Donald Trump, you pull out the skutniks, the rhetorical device of the “human prop.”

In so doing, perhaps for the first time in U.S. history, you successfully convert a dry and unmemorable State of the Union address into a spirited, even emotional, campaign pep rally.

Politics and personal animosities notwithstanding, observers must concede that in terms of oratorical performances, his Bill Clinton-size, 80-minute State of the Union (SOTU) ramble last night was intriguing.

‘Skutniks’ galore

Although the hopelessly jaded “experts” might quibble about his failure to be conciliatory on immigration or his propensity to play fast and loose with the facts—it’s the eighth-largest tax cut in history not the “biggest ever”—it was Trump’s use of skutniks that carried the night and proved the most fascinating dimension of the speech.

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