Monday, August 1, 2016

A Tale of Two Conventions by C. Ealey

A Tale of Two Conventions by C. Ealey

I watched both the Republican and Democratic convention over the past two weeks and I must admit the Republican convention was hard to watch. Much has already been said about the dark dystopian view of this country by the Republicans and their spineless concession to nominate Donald Trump as the standard bearer of their party. What happened to the “Never Trump Movement”? Apparently, it fizzled out the first day because of backroom trickery by the RNC rules committee. So disappointing but just what you’d expect from Republicans. The attendees at the RNC didn’t look like America either with only a few people of color and the arena was not completely filled. Many national GOP leaders boycotted the convention and refused to endorse Trump. Those who endorsed him did so either because they felt they had no choice or because they retained a vague hope that should he win, their congressional leaders would be able to limit the damage that might occur in an unrestrained Trump presidency. Adding to the fractiousness of the GOP’s situation, significant components of another insurgent group, prominent leaders of the religious right, also refused to endorse Trump creating negative press with a walkout on the first day followed by a prime time rejection by Ted Cruz on day three. And we can’t forget Melania Trumps plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC speech on the first night. With most GOP leaders not in attendance, the key Trump endorsement speeches were given by his children. While Trump had promised a “blockbuster”, the Republican convention was a lack-luster affair bringing together a strange collection of minor “celebrities” and drew headlines for a series of unforced errors. Overall, the Republican convention was a pathetic show filled with hate.

In contrast, the Democratic National Convention was well produced and, despite moments of tension and controversy, was a nearly flawless affair. The convention hall in Philadelphia was filled to the rafters with people of all colors, religions, and ethnic backgrounds, young and old, gay couples, and people with disabilities. It looked like America; everyone was represented in the audience and on the stage. Hillary Clinton was able to receive validation and support from President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice-President Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, leading progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren, and most of the Democratic Party’s Senators and Members of Congress. In addition, there was a host of major celebrities who performed at or addressed the event.

As political and policy events, the Democrats’ convention had the clear advantage. Both parties spent considerable time in attacking the others’ nominee. But the Democrats were better at telling their story, presenting their candidate and their programs, and creating optimism that they had made progress in the last 8 years and would continue to make positive change in the years to come. Bravo Democrats!