While I enjoyed all the convention speeches, the really powerful rhetoric has been lurking in all the background noise. Effective persuasion isn’t noticeable as persuasion. It tends to skid and honk like traffic outside your window, and you can only detect individual sounds when you pay attention.
The sound you should listen for most in this election is that of a candidate attacking on his own weakness.
Are you a draft dodger running for office? Have a PAC accuse your opponent of cowardice. Been unfaithful to your spouses? Attack the other for infidelity. Not really up on your Bible? Hint at your opponent’s alleged Moslem sympathies. Caught in a series of fabrications? Call your opponent a liar. Hiding something in your taxes or emails? Attack your opponent for cover-ups.
It’s fine to do this in a speech. Far better to release these attacks over and over, like a noxious gas leak, until they surround your opponent like a miasma.
I loved the speeches. But the miasma is where the real dark art lies.