Conventions Are Dumb
I've never understood the point of political conventions. I mean, I know if you go back a few decades, things of actual import happened there- but since I've been alive, they've essentially been three or four days of what's essentially an infomercial followed by an acceptance speech and a balloon drop. (Occasionally, there's a surprisingly dumb story about the party platforms- which I think exists to give delegates at these conventions something to do. During Democratic Conventions, expect to see right-wing media lose it's mind over eliminating the word 'God' from something, during a Republican convention, expect to see the left-wing media lose its mind over something about abortion, gay marriage, etc. Does it mean anything in the end? Not usually. Just something for the media the yell about.)
In general, I watch the acceptance speeches and that's about it. I sort of halfway pay attention to the rest and that's about it- and if there was a year when both major parties could have dispensed with the frippery and just dropped the facade it was this one, but old habits die hard I guess.
It's been noted in multiple places that both parties are now living in entirely separate countries and run on entirely separate narratives and have their own facts and their own truth now! It's super cool- but it doesn't actually fully plug into the reality of what's actually going on. The comparison between the DNC and the RNC illustrated this perfectly.
The DNC felt like it was held back in March. Everything via Zoom. No audiences for the acceptance speeches. Everything felt... dark. It felt subdued as if we were all still hunkering down and riding out that first wave of COVID where nobody knew anything. And in general, I don't have a problem with that. We're still in the middle of a pandemic. We should be taking precautions. But when Biden comes out in favor of shutting everything back down again "if the scientists tell him too" I feel like- well, I hope- that the science has moved beyond that by now. It seemed disjointed in time. The production values were shockingly slapdash- especially given the amount of Hollywood support for the Democrats.
Of course, this is yet another apocalyptic election and yes, Orange Man is very, very bad. But in what little I saw, I couldn't help but feel that the DNC was talking to its base more than me or the country at large- and while some of that is probably inevitable given the nature of political conventions, it's also meant to be an opportunity to make your case to the country and on that score I think it was kind of 'meh.'
(And this is just my lazy, half-assed paying attention to both conventions. Had I fully plugged in, I might have a different impression- but in general, I stick to my contention that conventions are dumb and largely a waste of time.)
Biden's speech was good. It blew a hole in the notion that he was losing his marbles and couldn't string together two sentences. Granted, he probably had a teleprompter at hand, but even that isn't foolproof. Biden looked like he was up to the task and it was reassuring to see. Did I roll my eyes a little at some of the Tolkein-esque references to light, dark and love? I sure did. (But I'm pretty cynical.)Was it a grand slam? No. Was it a home run? Maybe- thanks to an error by an outfielder. All in all, it felt like a solid triple to me and that, I think, was good enough.
In comparison, the RNC looked amazing. Like, shockingly so. Did it break the law? Eh, probably not... I don't think they'd be that stupid, but you never know. Did it break precedent? It absolutely did. And given how any number of institutions in our society are holding up these days, I think a certain amount of unease is warranted here- if only because when the next Democratic President gives an acceptance speech on the South Lawn of the White House, you know the right-wing media will lose its damn mind.
Was the Naturalization Ceremony a brilliant touch? It sure was. Was there way more diversity than I expected? You bet there was- a Vice President of the Navajo Nation appeared to give an update for everything the administration's doing for Native Americans- and surprisingly, they appeared to be pretty happy with things. (A story I certainly never heard about.)
Did I see Kimberly Guilfoyle? Nope. Did I watch any of the Trump family speeches? Nope. Did I watch Kimmie's speech to the RNC? Nope. But I did take a minute to watch Senator Tim Scott's speech to the RNC... and if you were looking for a 'way too early dark horse candidate for 2024', keep an eye on him.
Trump's speech was... loooooooooooooooong. Was it chock full of red meat for his base? It absolutely was. If you live in Red America's Universe, you undoubtedly loved every minute of this speech. To me, it was a rather long and rambling laundry list of accomplishments, both real and imagined. Did it perfectly illustrate the idea that they were going for- namely that Republicans love America and Democrats don't? Sure did.
Over the summer, there were many a thinkpiece floated that Biden's campaign was being pretty smart. Why go on the offensive if Trump was constantly stepping on his own dick and getting in his own way? Well, I think they're going to need a new strategy after the RNC. Biden is going to have to come out of the basement and actually campaign. He's going to need to debate and Trump and win- and I have a feeling (just a feeling, mind you) that suddenly all kinds of Democrats are going to be coming out against riots- because if they can stick Biden as being pro-riot, then that's the ball game.
Do I have any idea how things are going to play out in the fall? No, because every month this year feels like a decade and who knows what things are going to look like in November.
But anyways. Conventions are still dumb, but this year I think they finally managed to tease out what this election is going to be about. If it's about COVID, then advantage Biden. If it's about riots, law and order, then advantage Trump. The most interesting thing of all? Those two predictions are not 100% true.