World & Nation

21 thoughts about the Republican and Democratic conventions


21 thoughts about the Republican and Democratic conventions

Cathleen Decker, who analyzes politics for The Times, took to Twitter tonight for an instant analysis of the Republican and Democratic conventions. Here’s what she had to say, in 21 tweets: 

  1. Conventions have a specific purpose: to sell or redefine.
  2. To the extent that people watched, there was tons of testimony from people about HRC’s good deeds/warmth, that helps redefinition.
  3. Tons of time was spent emphasizing Donald Trump, and what speakers from Obama on down see as the threat he poses to America.
  4. That went beyond the usual criticism to ground-floor level impact he would have on democracy, in their view, imperiling it.
  5. The question now is whether Trump and Clinton are so well known that no further definition, for good or bad, will stick.
  6. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on ads. Will we still have at the end two highly unpopular candidates, a coin flip?
  7. Or will one candidate have dramatically reshaped his/her image over the course of the four days each spent in convention hoo-haw.
  8. Some observations: This was Clinton’s best big speech. Well written and delivered well. Akin to challenge/execution by GHW Bush in 1988.
  9. Both Bush and Clinton were seeking office after two terms of a popular same-party president who’d overshadowed them. Both delivered.
  10. In Bush’s case, his success at the convention speech improved his future speechmaking/communication. Will this do the same for Clinton?
  11. Other observations: Staging of Clinton’s convention speech was lush. Flags of different sizes, signs, color scheme all worked together.
  12. People can laugh at things like that but they translate in voters’ minds. Staging at GOP convention felt more haphazard; speakers too.
  13. The theatrics of it all won’t matter in a blow-out. But they can matter in a close race. After this year, is anyone betting against that?
  14. Viewers of all convention hours saw tons of people testifying for Clinton or against Trump. You can bet the ads have already been cut.
  15. That brings up another Clinton advantage: A team that has done this before. Crispness, efficiency, knowing where to get voters, helps.
  16. Tonight also was something of a Sista Soulja night for Dems: Army general/military endorsing HRC, gun control a big part of her speech.
  17. Also worth noting: Chelsea Clinton + other speakers offered reams of personal anecdotes about Hillary. Not even Trump’s kids did much.
  18. Personal anecdotes may not matter; the combo of anti-Clinton and economy woes may negate. Just like no minds may change on Trump.
  19. But re the conventions, Clinton helped herself on a personal level. On a policy level, too little talk of the economy, seems to me.
  20. And Trump had a rocky convention and has worked to obliterate any gains with his talk about Russia and continued belligerence.
  21. As to what it all adds up to, voters will decide in November. That’s why they call it “democracy.” A bipartisan suggestion: Vote.

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