It’s time to Break It Down!
As we greet this new day on planet Earth, there are a number of great truths; few more apparent than that there is a gulf separating the two major political Parties, a space that spans poles (no pun intended). The philosophies and ideologies that frame the views and the accompanying talking points of the Republican Party, which convened last week in Cleveland, are frequently pitted in diametrical opposition to those of the Democratic Party, now underway in Philadelphia.
More often than not, it seems the media, intent upon the devolution of all civil discourse, fans the flames of discord. It may be to garner ratings, or to gain clicks, or to sell newspapers or magazines. Regardless of the intended purpose, far too regularly, a media outlet is front and center in the midst of the resultant turmoil.
Last week, the GOP gave us four days flush with varying degrees of drama. Let me say up front, the early analysis suggests that, at least in the short term, the drama was a plus for Candidate Trump. He started this week with a 6-point bounce, and a lead of then Democratic presumptive nominee Clinton. According to CNN, Trump leads Clinton 44% to 39% in a four-way matchup between the Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and the Green Party. In a head-to-head match-up with Clinton, he leads 48% to 45%.
If anything I suppose those results give credence to the maxim, “There is no such thing as bad publicity…also framed as “All publicity is good publicity.” At least it seems that way when you consider the chaotic nature of the GOP’s four idyllic days in “Believe-land.” To summarize that amazing moment in time, the highlight of which was formally elevating Donald Trump to the status of Party Nominee, here are my personal highlights:
- Monday – Melania bites Michelle. No, not in a man bites dog kind of way. Rather that is hipster patois for copying one’s style, copping one’s moves, or in this case plagiarizing one’s speech. That may actually have been the low moment of the Convention. It was certainly the negative event that consumed the most media time and energy. It totally “trumped” the day’s earlier events, when a small group of Delegates attempted briefly to oust Trump as the Nominee-in-waiting, and Ohio Governor, John Kasich opted to follow through on his pre-announced plans to skip the Convention (held in Cleveland).
- Tuesday – Dr. Ben Carson uses Alinsky, Lucifer, and Hillary in the expression of a singular circular thought. It was the kind of classic Carson logic with which we have become all too familiar. You know, the sort that assails Obamacare, asserting it is the worst thing for America since slavery. I suppose I should give him credit for ascribing to slavery a negative light. OK, thumbs up, Doc.
- Wednesday – Ted Cruz addresses the GOP Convention, and, after having advised Mr. Trump of his intentions days in advance, and providing a copy of his remarks earlier in the day, to absolutely no one’s surprise, he refused to endorse Donald Trump. Suddenly what had been reported by CNN for two days was treated as a shocking development…by the media. There was gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, and a general post-mortem consensus that Mr. Trump should have deleted Senator Cruz from the program, given what he knew, and/or Senator Cruz should have, knowing what he knew, just stayed home. But where would the drama have been in that?
- Thursday – Donald Trump talks for 75 minutes in his acceptance speech, a modern day record, before finally “humbly and gratefully” accepting his Party’s nomination. In his uniquely “humble” way, he declared himself the only person capable of resolving the litany of problems he enumerated that require fixing, in order to make America safe, work, first, one, and of course, great…again. If I didn’t know better I’d think a master Reality TV producer engineered their convention. But that’s just me.
This week, it is the Democrat’s turn to step up and show their wares. At the outset, it looked at though the media and the Convention were jointly committed to create just as much excitement, or drama, if you will, as the Republicans brought us last week. Even before the Monday opening, Wiki-Leaks released a series of emails Sunday that showed high ranking officials of the DNC conspiring to devise schemes to denigrate Senator Sanders. The resulting fallout led to the resignation of the DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Shultz. Initially, DWS planned to gavel the Convention into Session, and to gavel it closed, even though she had resigned. This…was an incredibly bad idea. Yes, the optics were less than desirable, but more importantly the concept itself was profoundly flawed.
Fortunately, sanity prevailed, and some Democrat, or perhaps several, figured out that the most effective strategy to pursue if you dig yourself into a hole…is to stop digging. To that end, the erstwhile Chair relinquished the remainder of her duties and responsibilities, and stepped to the sideline. The result was, after looking and sounding like a hair-on-fire story throughout Sunday night, and Monday morning, the Democrats reinvented the opening day by the time the Convention was gaveled into Session at 4:00 p.m. Monday afternoon.
The actual Convention session went off largely without a hitch. In fact, the proceedings were so understated from a drama point of view, that CNN’s resident GOP counter-programming critics were either mostly silent, or altogether AWOL. That means, unlike the Trumpster Fire that lasted all four days of last week’s Convention, Day 1 of the Democrat’s Convention was a critical success.
Even after losing DWS, there was still a level of anticipation that Bernie’s supporters would bow up and crash Mrs. Clinton’s party. The media kept trying to keep viewers on the edge of their seats with what ifs, and queries of what might happen next. By the time the evening was over, Senator Sanders, who wrapped up the evening, had given a clear and passionate endorsement of Secretary Clinton, Senator Cory Booker, NJ, gave a stem-winding speech, Senator Elizabeth Warren gave a strong speech touting the candidate that drew high praise, and the cherry on top, though it was not the final speech, was a masterpiece by First Lady Michelle Obama.
By now, we have like last week, traversed half of the Convention. Last night’s highlight, naturally, was a speech by former President Bill Clinton who wove a series of anecdotes and short stories into a compelling tapestry about Mrs. Clinton. There was a considerable amount of discussion about whether Bill would be able to effectively humanize his wife. In all fairness, he has frequently had a blind spot when it comes to Mrs. Clinton. Last night, that did not appear to be the case.
Clinton’s speech on Clinton was substantial in every conceivable dimension. However, it was Bernie Sanders, in fact, who delivered Tuesday’s highlight. The Clinton and Sanders teams negotiated an agreement that led to the Senator formally making a motion that led to the Party nominating Hillary Clinton by acclamation. While I am sure there will be strains of the Never Hillary Movement in the future, that single act moved mountains in diffusing the most substantive elements of any remaining resistance. In effect, Sanders demonstrated he would continue to do his part to unify the Party.
With that said, when Mrs. Clinton, who appeared via satellite Tuesday night, formally accepts the Nomination tomorrow, it will mark the moment when the gloves come off…for all parties. The sparring between the two sides has grown in frequency and tenor in recent weeks. However, methinks, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Years from now, when we look back on it, the crossfire between Clinton and Trump is likely to be deemed legendary. In just under 15 weeks, this whole thing will be a wrap, kit and caboodle. Today we can reflect on Mrs. Clinton having become America’s first female major Party Nominee for President. Indeed, “The Voters (Delegates) Have Spoken: Hillary Is the (Democratic) Nominee!”
I’m done; holla back!
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