There should be mixed feelings on political conventions. Great orators paint a vision of the America they want their country to become. The speeches create an ideal, not a reality. The DNC and RNC both painted a vision of their country, and both outlined a plan to shape America into a country that fully realizes its potential.
The Republican National Convention was – and forgive the pun – not conventional. Donald Trump’s speech painted a dark and paranoid America, one that reveled in its past, suffers in the present, and one that will be Great Again. But only if Donald Trump is in charge. Compare and contrast that to every other convention in recent memory, and Trump’s current understanding of America cuts perpendicular to an America with a stock market at an all-time high, crime rates at historic lows, and continued job growth.
What held my attention the most at both Conventions, however, were not the speakers but the speakers’ audiences. As the cameras panned through the audience at the RNC convention, I saw a sea of white faces, every single time. As the cameras panned through the audience at the DNC convention, I saw something entirely different: women wearing hijabs, blacks, whites, Hispanics, gays. The DNC threw a party, and everyone came. The RNC threw its party, and even those who received an invitation did not show (i.e. George Bush Sr., Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney). The anecdotal evidence seems to be supported by something more substantial.
The New York Times noted that only nine percent of Americans participated in the primaries dominated by two political parties. Nine percent. Trump’s messages do not need to resonate with the American public writ large to secure a nomination, but with a select few. No wonder a June 2016 poll shows Hispanic support for Trump hovers below 30%. An August 2016 Washington Post poll shows that African American support for Trump hovers around 1%.
Which party do you see as more inclusive?
Take another example: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s recent selfie with the interns working for the Republican Party. Compare that to images of the interns working for the Democratic Party, and the narrative remains entirely consistent. [photos below]
What it comes down to, ultimately, is that the Democrats did a far better job finding a representative slice of America in its small sample size than the Republicans did in theirs. Trump has his messages, and the fear and pessimism generated by his words resonate with the folks who voted for him. Clinton has her messages, too. The difference is that her messages appeal to a far broader swatch of America.
And that will be the difference in this election. Clinton for the win.