US Election 2016 : Tale of Two Conventions
While Trump tried to portray himself as a “law and order” candidate and the only one capable of fixing the country’s problems, Hillary made an impassioned plea to all sections of society to stand together
Dilip Chaware in US
The conclusion of the National Conventions of the two main political parties—Democratic and Republican—has set the tone for the election of the next US President, to be held in November 2016. The most vivid highlight of the ‘Tale of the Two Conventions’ is the nomination of Hillary Clinton as candidate of the Democratic Party. For the first time in US history, a woman has been fielded by either party for the post, popularly known as Commander in Chief.
With barely 100 days to go for the Election Day, it will be interesting to study the two candidates' convention speeches and the words used more frequently by each:
When one compares the two Conventions and the two contenders —Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump While there are some questionable spots in Hillary Clinton political past. Trump has been speaking recklessly, inviting the ire of his own party leaders day in and day out. More and more skeletons are tumbling out of his cupboard, exposing his dark past.
However, much water will flow between now and November 2016. The final outcome of the election will depend upon the events that take place during this interval. Therefore, the overall assessment about Hillary’s win is based on the current situation and is subject to revision from time to time.
Still, with both conventions now over, the final tally shows that the Democratic National Convention (DNC) averaged 29.2 million viewers over four nights, while the Republic National Convention (RNC) averaged 25.2 million viewers, according to media analysts. But though every night of the DNC averaged more TV viewers than each of the first three nights of the RNC, the biggest audience tuning in was for Trump’s speech at the conclusion of the RNC. According to television ratings showing, 33.3
million viewers watched Clinton’s acceptance speech against 34.9 million who tuned in to watch Trump.
While Trump’s own speech won the ratings battle, the DNC easily averaged more viewers across the board as high-profile Democrats such as Bill Clinton, Tim Kaine, Vice President Joe Biden, and President Barack Obama as well as Michelle Obama and non-party members like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke in Philadelphia.
There were stark differences in the tone and messaging of the two conventions. Trump tried to portray himself as a “law and order” candidate and the only one capable of fixing the country’s problems. On the other hand, Hillary made an impassioned plea to all sections of society to stand together to defeat the forces of divisiveness and negativism.
An important highlight was the difference in racial and ethnic mix of the two parties. According to DNC, black men and women accounted for 1,182 delegates out of 4,765, about 25 per cent. The DNC claimed that just 18 out of 2472 delegates at the RNC were black, less than one percnet. The DNC’s 2,887 of 4,766 delegates were women, while 292 were Asian American, 747 Latinos, 147 Native Americans and 633 were LGBTQ-identified people. On the first day of the DNC, 30 women spoke from the podium, and 30 men, making it an evenly balanced mix. And 18 of those 30 women were off colour. A look at the first night at the RNC shows that just seven women spoke. And the most ‘memorable’ speech of that night was given by Melania Trump. But it made headlines for a different reason, plagiarism. According to ‘Politico’ magazine, over 80 per cent of the prime time speakers at the RNC were white.
Television channel commentators, showing live coverage said that the cameras in the DNC hall showed a crowd that looked a lot more like America does: diverse. Conversely, cameras in the RNC hall could capture just one or two black and Latino faces in a sea of white ones. As one of them remarked, “We’re being given two distinct versions of America: its past was seen in the RNC, we’re seeing its future in the DNC.”
Although Trump claimed to stand for “law and order”, only one speaker who addressed the RNC actually works in law enforcement. He was David Clarke, Milwaukee County’s sheriff. On the other hand, Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay, Philadelphia’s former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez spoke at the DNC.
Paying respects to the military and retired defence personnel is a sensitive issue in the US. This was brought home when it was found that half the people who spoke on behalf of the military at the RNC were survivors of the Benghazi attack, which claimed several American lives, including that of US Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens on September 11, 2012, when Hillary was the Secretary of State (America’s External Affairs Minister). Those speaking at the DNC had lost their near and dear ones in battles in Iraq and Afghanistan. n