With the 2012 Republican National Convention in the history books, the focus now turns to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this week. So if you are burnt out on politicians talking about their personal lives and how they are just like you; well, you have to relive it all again!
But what can the Democrats do to simultaneously rally the base without alienating undecided voters who are genuinely interested in political theatre? The Republicans, even if fact checkers agreed they were guilty of lying, did convey a message that the everyday salt-of-the-Earth voter could understand. The memes of Barack Obama being a crusader against business, the middle class and the true cause of the rising debt were repeated in almost every single speech. The theme was clear, it wasn’t to elevate Mitt Romney into being the perfect candidate, but by Barack Obama being the worst one.
So how can the Democrats combat the mud that was being tossed by the Republicans for the majority of the past week? Here are a few recommended tips for Team Blue:
Do NOT Mention Clint Eastwood
This is the first tip and I believe one of the most important. Clint Eastwood’s speech to an invisible President Obama was a trainwreck and an embarrassment for the legendary actor. However, the fact that Eastwood’s skit overwhelmed not only Mitt Romney’s speech but also Marco Rubio’s (the Republican’s blue chip prospect) did enough damage for the Romney team.
If the Democrats keep bringing up Eastwood’s speech, it could theoretically give the Romney campaign a reason to utter the words “Chicago style bullying” that could actually turn off voters. Regardless of how painful watching Eastwood awkwardly amble for a seemingly endless amount of time, the fact remains that Clint Eastwood is an icon to many Americans. He’s got a tremendous amount of respect amongst various forms of industry and the last thing the Democrats need to do is make Eastwood a pitied figure.
Focus On Unity
Party unity is one of the most important factors when it comes to winning the battle of public opinion. If you were completely unaware of who was the true nominee of the Republican Party, you could’ve conceivably thought their nominee was Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan or even Condoleezza Rice.
A convention is supposed to highlight the positives that a party has represented in the past, present and future. Usually though conventions are springboards for ambitious politicians who want to do more on the national level of politics. So you will hear, often vapid, personal anecdotes on how a candidate fought to be where they are today.
But in the speeches mentioned above, most of the candidates took the time to make the case on why they were worthy of being on the stage as opposed to touting Mitt Romney. In fact, Romney was almost an afterthought in a majority of the highlighted speeches. The Democrats need to avoid this trap but without a contested primary, thanks to having an incumbent President, it’s less of a threat to happen.
Osama bin Laden
The former Al-Qaeda leader is dead and this has to be brought up multiple times throughout the convention.
I have nothing to back this claim up, but if you were to ask the non-political diehard on Barack Obama’s biggest accomplishments in office; this would probably be the main one mentioned. The Affordable Care Act is not universally popular and the GM bailouts are still controversial, which narrows the playing field for the President.
Over the past decade or so, the Democratic Party has been synonymous with being “doves” when it comes to the stereotypically hawkish Republican Party. President Obama needs to shake that stereotype hard if he wants to convince independent voters that not only will he improve the lives of Americans but also keep them safe at night.
In 2008, Barack Obama was a movement and not yet a President. Now is not the case and the Democratic Party shouldn’t be trumping him in the same way.
President Obama and his Democratic loyalists need to emote with the crowd and the viewing audience as opposed to trying to say how much the country has improved. While the country has taken the right steps towards economic recovery, the elephant in the room is the truth that too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet and living under the fear of not getting that next paycheck.
Now, you need to tout the potential America has in improving itself; no doubt about that. But still, Americans have a “chip-on-their-shoulder” mentality when it comes to being potentially “spoken down to” and their is a very thin line between talking up and talking down to your audience. Obama is an amazing orator, but that is a widely known fact, he needs to emote with the audience as opposed to rile them up too much.
Party Of Inclusion
The hardest thing for the Republican Party to do in this day and age is to convince minority groups that they care for them. The Democrats do not have that problem and having the first African-American President, a keynote speaker that is Hispanic, a rock star progressive that’s a female and a white former United States President having a featured role clearly exemplifies the demographic unification of the party.
The Republicans did a hard sell in trying to get women and Hispanics on their side, but being synonymous with the words such as “transvaginal ultrasounds” is nothing but an anvil attached to their electoral shoulders. I wouldn’t be entirely shocked to hear those words attached to a few speeches at the upcoming convention as it drives the message home for the Democrats.
If you are a women, gay, hispanic, black, or any minority group in this country; you have a home in the Democratic Party. If the Democrats can assure those groups of that, there could be a small, positive bounce for them in the polls following the convention.
All that being said however, it’s easier said than done to do everything that’s been stated in this post. There are plenty of risks, some with high-reward, others with catastrophic results that can be taken to make this convention a success or disaster.
Now we must sit and wait, because the most important moment for the Democratic Party is coming. Will it work? Will they heed our advice or utterly ignore it?