Here’s a rundown of some key events at the DN Convention, pretty much in chronological order.
The conclave began amid some tumult, provided by many very disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters both inside and outside the venue. Their complaints ranged from claims that the nomination was stolen from their man to intermittent chanting of “No more wars”. The latter never let up and from time to time could be heard all the way into HRC’s acceptance speech late Thursday evening. Needless to say, this was a continual distraction from efforts to provide the tv audience with a picture of a completely unified party.
During that first evening, both Senators Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders spoke. The former had to endure some scattered booing, presumably because she had finally decided to support HRC. Sanders got plenty of “love” from the entire crowd, but especially from his supporters.
What stood out in the middle of that first evening was Michelle Obama’s speech. It was a touching oration that had the audience rapt, and thereafter, even drew praise from some conservative pundits.
The boisterousness of day-1 was followed by more of the same on day-2; again a product of the disenchantment of Sanders’ supporters. That did not stop former President Bill Clinton from delivering an account of all the things he came to love and admire in his wife. What distracted from these remarks was that they went on for too long, and for the first several minutes, was more about Bill than Hillary.
As day-3 (1) rolled into the evening hours, the live and tv audiences got treated to the current Democratic Party at its oratorical best. Vice President Joe Biden rallied the troops with exhortations to stand strong because that’s what Americans do. The next three speakers – VP-nominee Tim Kaine, former NY mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Obama, all took shots from various angles at Primadonald. The second of the three got off this telling line; “I’m a New Yorker and I know a con when I see one” referring to Trump.
It was left to the president to deliver a powerful discourse on American exceptionalism and our national character including who and what we are, and most definitely what we are not. As the day’s events were coming to a close, Twitter lit up with conservatives referring to Obama’s presentation as “Reaganesque” and lamenting the fact that it had been given by a Democrat rather than a Republican. Other conservatives gave voice to the same concern; i.e. we’ve been co-opted !!
For several hours during the fourth evening, audiences were treated to a “rollout” of what is now likely to be seen as the “new Democratic coalition” with Latinos, African-Americans, American-Muslims, the military, police, millennials and even some moderate Republicans all claiming membership. Certainly, what was arguably the high point of this show of both strength and solidarity, was provided by Khizr Khan, an American-Muslim and father of a soldier who had died heroically in Afghanistan. It was not just that the father’s remarks were moving; they showcased how Primadonald’s stereotyping of Muslims is like all stereotyping – the product of a weak, narrow, lazy mind that cannot differentiate between people who all carry the same superficial label.
All the foregoing was the build-up to Chelsea Clinton’s introduction of her mother. The former Secretary of State graciously accepted the party’s presidential nomination and proceeded to offer a glimpse of what her presidency would be like; e.g. elevation of the minimum wage to $15/hr., student debt reduction, job creation, an expansion of Social Security, and the vigorous prosecution of the war against ISIS. The candidate also managed to throw some serious shade on Primadonald, saying that any man who can be baited with a Tweet, isn’t fit to hold our nuclear codes.
Having watched the vast majority of the evening hours of both conventions there are these takeaways: The contrasts between the two conclaves could not have been more striking. The Republicans were, from start to finish, all about who to fear, who to hate, and how starkly can we portray our country as being in steep decline. There were the promises of making “America great again” and Primadonald even went so far as to assert that he “alone” could make it all better. This latter boast proved a perfect foil for HRC i.e. her belief that “it take a village” and that America is at its best when we pull together and make our participatory democracy work.
There may be no better way of differentiating the two meetings than to refer to the disparity between darkness and light; between pessimism and optimism; between disharmony and unity; and between dispirited and high spirits.
We shall now sit back and see what the post-convention polls tell us. How will respondents’ judgments stack up against those cited above?
- Primadonald managed to insert himself into the news cycle that included the Democrat’s third day. The GOP nominee prompted Russian Premier Vladimir Putin to hack his way into HRC’s private server to find and share the 30,000 e-mails that she had previously erased. This remark elicited a firestorm of protests all of which caused Primadonald to claim that he was just being “sarcastic”.