It’s not that Trump has never criticized Hillary Clinton before. But a speech Trump gave today focused on those criticisms. I’ve been expecting that to happen, because realistically speaking it’s his best and perhaps only chance—to ramp up the already-existent dislike and disapproval of Clinton (and the Clintons as a duo), and to make people vote for him as a reaction to her.

To me, the most powerful part of the speech—and a theme Trump should hammer home, because this is the sort of thing that could change the minds of people who are not already predisposed to vote for him, women and the LGBT community—was this:

I only want to admit people who share our values and love our people. Hillary Clinton wants to bring in people who believe women should be enslaved and gays put to death.

[NOTE: As an aside—I have never bought the “Trump is a stalking horse for Hillary and in cahoots with her” explanation of his candidacy. It seemed a possible but highly unlikely motive for a person like Trump who so very much loves to win. This speech should put that theory to rest—although it’s also a remote possibility that he initially agreed to the set-up and then changed his mind and betrayed her.]

The speech contained other elements, mainly his usual populist and nationalist appeals and promises. It was a good speech in the strategic/tactical sense, because that’s Trump’s main attraction for those attracted to him.

Anyone who’s been paying attention for the last year knows a great deal about how Trump operates and what sort of character he has. Those who already favor him will favor him even more after this speech. Those who don’t favor him but might reluctantly vote for him considering the alternatives (a group with which I can identify) will probably find it a smart speech (as I did; but I’ve always said that Trump is a smart or at least a clever man—street smart and combat-smart, that is). Those who will never vote for him (and they are legion) will probably find it further fuel for their anger or irrelevant to their opinion of him.

If Trump keeps pounding on these themes, will it change the opinion of a significant number of people, enough to help him win? My answer is that I haven’t a clue, although I don’t see why it would for most people, whose opinions on Trump are quite solidified. However, there are a significant number of “undecideds” in a lot of polls, and they’re the ones we should wonder about.

The odd thing about this election—actually, one of many many odd things about this election—is that the two opponents are people Americans know quite well. We may not know Trump in the context of political office, but we know him as a character and we certainly know Hillary both as officeholder and person. To me that indicates that opinions about these two are less likely to change than if lesser-known people were running for office. But since Trump has never held office and Hillary has, there’s more wiggle room (perhaps) in people’s opinions of what he would be like in office than there is about the possibilities with her. This could favor him or not favor him, depending on his behavior between now and November.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]