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A Plea to the Democratic Party

After two days of the Republican National Convention, anyone but wildly partisan Hillary haters are probably fed up with the almost nonstop Clinton bashing that has characterized the majority of the speeches. None of the speeches has said anything that has not been said before. Instead, references to Hillary have been rallying points, designed to inject negative enthusiasm into the crowd, which in response to Chris Christie’s and a few others’ speeches have shouted, “lock her up!” On Tuesday night, which was billed as the “Make America Work Again” night, the references to the economy were minimal. The night quickly became a “get Hillary” affair, led by Christie’s repetition of the word “guilty” after listing each of a long series of charges against the Democratic candidate.

As most of the broadcasters and pundits have observed, the first two days of the Republican Convention have not included any substantive proposals on the economy, on defense, foreign relations, criminal justice or virtually anything. The aim of the convention appears to be to demonize Hillary, a sentiment already shared by the partisan attendees. TV ratings have been good, with those for the first night very similar to the 2012 convention’s first night ratings and only slipped a little on the second night (but both nights’ ratings were surpassed by other reality TV shows). How the TV audience, and most importantly, undecided voters, are reacting to the convention so far is unclear. Its message so far seems to be directed toward the true believing Republican base.

Jake Tapper on CNN did a count of how many times Donald Trump’s name was mentioned on Tuesday night compared to Hillary Clinton’s. The tally was Trump = 61 mentions and Clinton = 79 mentions. He and his co-hosts predicted that the same focus on the opposing candidate will characterize next week’s Democratic convention.

I’m really hoping that the Democrats don’t repeat the strategy of the Republicans. So far, the Republican convention has come across as mean-spirited, devoid of ideas and playing to the hatred of its base. It’s not only unpleasant to watch, it’s boring. I can’t imagine that an undecided voter would be swayed to vote for Donald Trump on the basis of what they have heard and seen so far.

Hillary Clinton has narrowed much of the focus of her TV ad campaign to attacks on Donald Trump and his “temperament,” which she says is unsuitable for the office of the presidency. Whether or not that is the case, we’ve heard the argument ad nauseam. If it is true, we should be able to make that judgment ourselves by watching and listening to Trump at his rallies, on TV and at the convention. We don’t need his opposing candidate, nor her surrogates, reiterating the point as the reason we should vote for Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump share the distinction of being the two most unpopular candidates ever to run for the presidency. Their respective conventions are an opportunity for each to reverse or at least moderate that image. Trump has missed the opportunity so far. Hillary needs to take advantage of her chance. The argument that “he’s worse than I am” is not a telling one for someone running for president (although it appears to be the reason many people are voting for Clinton). Anyway, if it’s true, we should be able to figure it out for ourselves.

What the Democrats need to do is present a positive program for how their candidate and their party plan to deal with wage stagnation, income disparity, bank regulation, injustice within the criminal justice system, gun violence, the threat of ISIS, global foreign relations, immigration, refugees, health care, social security, Medicare funding, international trade and climate change and the environment. These were the issues debated and discussed in the Democratic primary, primarily because Bernie Sanders largely avoided attacks based on his opponent’s character. There are many of his supporters still not convinced they should switch to supporting Clinton, at least partly because they are suspicious of her positions on all of the issues listed above. They need to be convinced, if they can be.

Stay at home, but committed Democrats may be persuaded to come out and vote because of their fear of Trump, and it’s OK to discuss the issue of the invalidation of constitutional freedoms that Trump and his supporters appear to want. But new voters and independents need to hear more. They need to be reasoned with, they need to hear the arguments for the kind of America Clinton and her party want to create. Some attention needs to be paid to what is working under Obama, such as the reduction in unemployment, and some attention needs to be paid to convincing those who are not yet convinced, that we really do need to pay attention to the environment and climate change, that the Iran nuclear deal is a step in the right, not the wrong direction, and that a movement toward more government involvement in healthcare can reduce costs and improve quality, especially with a “public option” available.

I am afraid that the Democrats will mirror the Republicans by focusing upon the defects of their opponent instead of the virtues of their platform, their plans, and their candidate. I hope this is not the case. I hope that we will hear what a Democratic president plans to do in the areas of concern to most Americans. That’s what I hope.




Reader Comments (2)

It's a circus, performed by psychopaths for the amusement and profit of the owners.
Here is a clue, This nation is not owned by the public.

July 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMike Anderson

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