There is an old formula in journalism known as the inverted pyramid. You put your biggest stuff at the top, then your next biggest and you just let it taper off.
At the end of big speeches or days in court, reporters go into huddles and decide on a ranking order for the day's revelations, and then write them up in that order.
But it’s ninety minutes since President Donald Trump stopped speaking now and I still haven’t got a clue where to start.
Would it be the attack on Senator John McCain over his vote on healthcare reform, even as McCain is at home dealing with brain cancer?
Would it be the poetry recital, casting immigrants as snakes that will only turn on the “tender” people who care for them?
Would it be the calling out of the apparent cowardice of the police officer in Florida who, armed only with a handgun, did not enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to exchange fire with the man a semi automatic weapon, in the middle of a murderous rampage?
Would it be the ramping up of his deranged solution to this latest horrific manifestation of America’s gun problem? The claim that this police officer didn’t act because he didn’t “love and care for” the students like teachers do? And that the solution therefore is to arm the teachers? If the teachers were armed, apparently, “they would have shot the hell out of him in a second.” Teachers rush in where trained police officers fear to tread.
Maybe it would be the wild ramblings about the apparently “forgotten” fourteen people who were merely wounded when a terrorist drove a truck down the West Side Highway in Manhattan last year, killing eight people. Only the eight are remembered, in Trump’s world. Those who lost an arm, a leg, two legs, “we forget them.” Do we?
Or maybe it’s just the outright lies. That rogue foreign states are pressuring their citizens to enter the green card lottery. That it’s the Democrats that are killing off the “dreamers” scheme for child immigrants. (It’s Trump that’s doing that). The “$100bn trade deficit” with Mexico. “The $500bn trade deficit with China.”
The generalised sense that America is turning away from globalisation, and can damage itself and everybody else.
Perhaps it was the wild boast that “every time someone tells me I don’t really want to build the wall, I say it gets ten feet higher.”
In fact, it’s none of these things. A bizarre old man going on a bizarre long rant almost doesn’t matter.
Most of this stuff has been said before, on the campaign trail. But back then, Donald Trump was merely an international laughing stock who definitely wasn’t on his way to the White House. Now he’s a laughing stock in it, it’s all a bit less funny.
In fact, it starts with the cheers. The thousands of workaday Americans in a convention hall in Maryland, cheering his every unhinged word. They still want to "lock her up." They still want to "build the wall." America has never seen this like before.
There are midterms coming, but moreso than that. It is hard to escape the sensation that the race for the White House is already underway. And despairing onlookers will again have to accept reality- they face a formidable candidate. And it really doesn’t matter what he says.