So the Republican convention is now over and nothing in the electoral landscape has changed. Was Trump’s speech any good or was it terrible? Whatever it was, it reflects electoral demography that stayed the same since day 1:. The only path for victory by Trump, and possibly any Republican to electoral success in the near term lies with holding on to their regulars–affluent, educated whites, while squeezing more votes out of the distrusting and fearful working class whites. Even if they are successful, the best that they can hope for is the barest of majority, if that. Yet, Trump probably has the best chance to get more votes than Clinton, even if he also also has much greater chance of cratering badly, thanks to the huge variance of his prospects.
In this sense, Trump’s tone was the only tone that he could have taken. He has to and pray that all the poli sci research is right and that the affluent and the educated will, eventually, mostly turn out stick to their party so that the extra working class voters drawn out by his zaniness, should there be many of them, would constitute a net plus. This is a big gamble, thus the high variance. But, in a way, he is right, in that he probably has the best shot at mobilizing the working class whites of ANY Republican today.