Joe Biden, who now is the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, received high grades for moving his party’s national convention forward. It wasn’t a simple job. This is the first time in history that there has been a virtual convention, meaning that it was necessary to reinvent the format completely. In addition, the ideological differences in the party, for all practical purposes, did not surface.
I think that Biden and his team bet on three keys that gave them a successful convention that they will use as a springboard to go on the offensive during the short last phase of the election: the 73 days left before Nov. 3.
“Strike at Trump” was the general message during the four days of the convention. Whenever a president tries to remain in the White House for four additional years, the election becomes a referendum on his performance. Evidently, the Democrats have much to complain about regarding the nation’s leader.
From last Monday, the opening night, Michelle Obama established the message: We are where we are because of Trump. (Translator’s note: this phrase does not occur in the transcript of the former first lady’s speech; the writer evidently uses quotation marks to denote his interpretation of the former first lady’s overall message — I took out quote marks, EC). Everyone who followed her hit the president hard. The speeches by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Wednesday night stand out. The former secretary of state insisted: “It turned out much worse that I expected.”* (Translator’s note: In the portion of the published transcript of Secretary Clinton’s remarks, the phrase that comes closes to this is: “I wish Donald Trump had been a better President.”) And Obama, always respectful and presidential, took the gloves off completely to point out: “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”
These heated criticisms of Trump served, in addition, as the glue to keep the diverse factions together, especially the most progressive and radical wing led by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Every night, a Democrat from this progressive wing gave a speech.
The second very wise decision was to have a more nimble and entertaining convention, with short speeches and touches of television spectacle. The majority of the speeches were five minutes or less. For example, Bill Clinton, who was participating in his 11th convention, took only five minutes rather than speaking for the 55 to which he had accustomed us. The Democratic closeness with Hollywood stood out. On Wednesday night we were captivated by Billie Eilish, a young composer and vocalist who took the latest Grammy Awards ceremony by storm.
Finally, what came through was who Biden is and what issues move him, such as fighting for climate change and immigration with a human face that doesn’t separate families.
The presentation on the plan to combat global warning and guarantee clean energy left no doubt that he is on the opposite pole from Trump, who has not only pushed hydrocarbons but even coal. In addition to the ambitious plan that he calls net zero emissions by 2050, there was a conversation with young activists in a clear message for that progressive sector to go out and vote.
Biden’s immigration bet was also presented through the use of two segments. First, a letter from a girl who was left without a mother who was deported to Mexico, despite the fact that she was married to a member of the United States Navy.
For me personally, the courageous and revealing moment was the segment in which three women presented their testimony. One was an immigrant mother with two daughters. One of the daughters was a young woman with a disability who crossed the Rio Grande in her mother’s arms. The second, born in the United States, was her mother’s translator when she braved the odds to reach the American dream.
Just as with the issue of climate change, the immigration segment shows that Biden is the opposite of Trump, who calls that mother and that young woman with a disability immigrants from “shithole countries.”
The last time a president failed to be reelected was in 1992, when George H. W. Bush (the father of the later president) lost to that pair of young ambitious centrist Democrats: Bill Clinton and Al Gore. They came out of the 1992 convention in Madison Square Garden, also in August, literally victorious. They got on a bus and made a grand tour that won them millions of votes.
Biden and Kamala Harris have to take advantage of their successful national convention to convince the undecided to embrace their cause. Even more important, to motivate the entire spectrum of the party to come out to vote in great numbers.
Biden has exceeded expectations in two of the three key moments of an election − the primary season from January to June, and during the national convention in August. Now he needs to close strongly and prevent Trump from continuing to work in the Oval Office.
*Editor’s note: This quote, accurately translated, could not be verified.
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