This year’s Democratic National Convention is deemed the “unconventional convention” due to the pandemic. It is entirely held virtually with political figures speaking from cities across the country and a famous emcee orchestrating the transitions. The large, cheering crowds are the essence of a convention and the absence of them really drains the energy out of it. If I have to grade this year’s convention, I would give it a C-. I loved the virtual roll call from all states and territories in the United States. It was unique compared to roll calls at previous conventions which all took place in the same location (and was boring and time-consuming to watch). I hope they carry the virtual roll call over to the next convention even with the presence of large crowds. I wish there were more personality/policy-based cases more people would make for Joe Biden. Jill Biden, Bernie Sanders and the NYT security guard were the only ones who focused on those cases. Krystal Ball of The Hill’s Rising makes a great point (6:12- 8:38) today on how Joe Biden, while believing in the same failed neo-liberal ideology is distinct from Hillary and Obama in that he lacks the same contempt for the working class. That is partially due to himself growing up in a working class family. Even though Joe believes in a failed ideology that helped provide Trump, there is still a case to be made policy-wise that he is better than Trump. I wanted more people to talk about how Trump earlier last week proposed eliminating the payroll tax without any alternate way of paying for Social Security or how through Trump’s executive action of dismantling Obamacare, millions of people have lost their insurance. Entitlements and healthcare were a driving reason to Democrats taking back the house two years earlier. It is acceptable to make a moral case for Trump but the speakers should balance it with policy cases as well.
There has rightfully been anger at the fact that dissatisfied Republicans like Colin Powell (war criminal) and John Kasich (union busting governor). Directly after a slew of dissatisfied Republicans speeches that included Kasich’s on Day 1, there was a small compilation of clips from regular people who were former Republicans voting for Biden. I believe if you intend to reach the small percentage of dissatisfied Republicans or independents in general, they should have just shown those clips of regular, dissatisfied Republicans. There is a better chance the people in that small percentage relate more to the regular people rather than politicians. If you want to make the “big tent” argument for Kasich and Powell speaking, that is an acceptable argument. However, there should have been as many (if not more) progressives/lefties speaking at the convention. There were 5 dissatisfied Republicans compared to the 3 progressives/lefties speaking. Out of those 3, AOC the most popular congresswoman in the country had only 60 seconds (!) to speak. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Katie Porter all should have had speaking slots. If Mr. Stop & Frisk, Michael Bloomberg is speaking so should Tulsi Gabbard (who also attained delagates) and Julian Castro. It should not have taken a massive effort from the #YangGang for Andrew Yang to speak.
Overall, future DNCs should employ the virtual roll call and lend as much of a voice to the left as they do with dissatisfied Republicans.