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(This week: The Virtual Conventions – will there be a post-convention bounce – the GOP’s Fall strategy – Republican botched attempts to attack Kamala Harris’s eligibility to be President – and a special from our British Political commentator Mr. Ross Duncan asking whether an “anyone but Trump” strategy is enough for the Democrats to win on Nov 3)
The Virtual Conventions – are they better than the old ones?
I can almost hear the announcer, “Don’t miss CBS’s gavel-to-gavel coverage of the 1976 Republican Convention.” And make no mistake, it was “start to finish” coverage. Not just the primetime heavyweights in the evening, but also coverage of the sessions in the afternoon, and detailed coverage of any action that might be brewing. Of course, 1976 was also the last time, thanks to binding primaries, that there was any doubt, before a convention, in that year it was the Republicans, as to who would be the nominee. The days, of three, or, the record, 140 ballots to select a nominee are a thing of the past.
With the drama waning year-by-year there has been a gradual erosion of the TV convention experience. First the major networks lost interest, though they still broadcast nominating votes and acceptance speeches, and finally limited convention coverage shifted to being the preserve of CSPAN and public TV.
I’ve been to 21st century conventions. The people are exciting, the foreign reporters a delight, especially the Japanese, you didn’t know journalists could be so friendly, but as to the proceedings, especially during the afternoon, they’re dull as dirt. Sorry, it goes for both parties. Hearing the mayor of Susquehanna City get their 15 minutes of fame just isn’t that exciting.
However, maybe, thanks to COVID and some incredible technology, there is going to be a whole new style to this finale of the nominating process shaping up. The Democrats deftly showed that with the start of their convention. As a reporter for the Washington Post put it, “…it was a technological tour de force.” Yes, some of the speeches dragged on. However, like any good plot, the evening built to a climax, and on Monday that was Michelle Obama’s speech. That in a sense, is what the week is about, four days of storytelling, message sending, and a climax to the tale each night. Oh, and if you want to catch it yourself, it’s at demconvention.com/watch-the-convention. The question now, is will the Republicans, usually a little behind on the “techy front,” do as well? Maybe, they are definitely aware that they have to make a splash. President Trump, no stranger to TV or the Internet (the man of over 17,000 tweets) is planning on using the Rose Garden for his President’s acceptance speech, kind of flashy, so stay tuned.
The bounce is the post party convention uptick most candidates get in the polls after a convention. It usually doesn’t last — usually, but that said — sometimes it represents the turning of the tide. Obama bounced in 2008 and never looked back. But, this year, it depends on the coverage, how many people actually tuned in, and how the “new convention style” is received on social media.
The GOP response to Senator Harris and their Fall campaign
One of the biggest problems with the GOP campaign, right at this moment, is that they can’t figure out how to land a punch on Joe Biden, and in spite of great hopes, didn’t do well when it came to Senator Kamala Harris. The Democratic Vice Presidential nominee. When it comes to the latter, they could have done a lot with Harris’ primary campaign statements and her leftward tilt. But, no, rather than doing this, they talked about first, whether she was really eligible to be President (i.e. born in the USA (seems I’ve heard that tune before)) and second, whether she was really black. Racism is not the best place to start in these things. That’s two strikes at their first week at bat.
So, what is the GOP strategy?
As for what the GOP strategy will be to take on the Biden campaign during the next few weeks, you’ve got me. The messaging is as erratic as the President’s Twitter feed. What is the theme of the Fall campaign, what is the strategy, and how are they going to attack the Democrats? Some of it is coming together. Though, not all that coherently. One thing is that President wants to win with his base in-tact like he did in 2016. Which means winning back some of that base. So, his campaign is striving to paint Biden as an out of touch liberal bent on doing everything from taking away your guns to defunding your local police force. That may work, i.e. in luring back some of his base that has strayed, but it’s doubtful it will be enough to expand it.
A Word from “…Down to the Wire’s” London correspondent Mr. Ross Duncan
As you read in this newsletter last week, David Kerr is convinced that Biden’s victory in November is inevitable, with Kamala Harris’ nomination for Vice President serving as the final, decisive blow against Trump’s re-election prospects. I, however, am not convinced.
Do the voters of the swing states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida want a candidate in Biden whose sole message is ‘I am not Donald Trump’? Do they trust the Democratic Party of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders with the future of their country? And can they accept the genuine possibility of President Kamala Harris? These are the crucial questions, of which I am yet to see conclusive answers.
Yes, the United States is ravaged by a pandemic, and yes, the economy is in a dire state. Yet the “woke” vision of America that Biden, Harris and the Democratic Party offer is radical, with real consequences for the United States. Consequences, indeed, which extend far beyond COVID-19 and the economy and go to the very heart of America itself.
Whether the good voters of the pivotal swing states want this future, however, is another question entirely