At the conclusion of the Democratic and Republican national conventions in the United States, both parties shared pretty dark visions on the other.
The Democrats slammed Trump’s leadership, in terms of handling the coronavirus pandemic and uniting the country, while Republicans depicted Biden as “a trojan horse for socialism.”
At both conventions, the parties did a good job of strengthening their voter bases.
President Trump’s Republican Party emphasised a strong message of law and order, hailing law enforcement, despite waves of protests against racial injustice and police brutality spurred by the murder of George Floyd and the recent shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Many of these protests turned into violent riots over the last couple of weeks.
Vice President Mike Pence underlined that, “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America," painting the election on 3 November as a choice between chaos or a state of law.
Former Vice President Joe Biden said, “I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It is time for us, for we the people, to come together. And make no mistake: United, we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America.”
Both parties suggested that the fate of America would be decided on Election Day. For the Democrats, a second term of Donald Trump means the end of democracy. For Republicans, Biden's genial manner is a foil to obscure the enactment of Bernie Sanders’ socialist agenda.
These messages are intended to motivate voters. "But they also speak to the fraying of America's social fabric over the past six months,” Matthew Continetti, resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute and the author of The K Street Gang: The Rise and Fall of the Republican Machine, told Ahram Online.
The Democrats devoted a large portion of their national convention to highlighting Biden’s personality traits and political career, showing how he helped a 13-year-old overcome a stuttering problem.
Biden himself has suffered from stuttering, but managed to overcome it.
However, Democrats did not devote much DNC coverage to Biden’s plans if he is elected president. Biden has repeatedly promised that he will only raise taxes on Americans making over $400,000 a year, and that he will not raise taxes on the middle class. Instead, Democrats heavily criticised President Trump’s policies and leadership on the Covid-19 pandemic, race issues, and foreign policy.
Furthermore, Democrats seemed more united than ever in their national convention as the party’s most prominent leaders fully stood behind Biden. It was clear last week that even Biden’s ideological opponents — such as Senator Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who are far-leftists — stand with Biden even if they do not agree with many of his policies.
On the other hand, the national convention of the Republicans featured many African American speakers, to counter the Democrat and the mainstream media’s consistent labelling of Trump as a racist. Republicans are hopeful that they could get more African American votes than they did in 2016. These votes could be highly significant in various battleground states, such as Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
President Trump has repeatedly said that he has done more for African Americans than any other president besides Lincoln, who urged passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery.
“The Republicans had the advantage of going second, as the incumbent presidential party traditionally does, and they capitalised on it. After the Democrats confidently assumed that everyone thinks Trump is a racist and xenophobe, his convention spotlighted former Governor Nikki Haley, the daughter of Sikh immigrants from Punjab, India, and Senator Tim Scott, whose family went from cotton farming to Congress in one lifetime,” Michael Barone, senior political analyst at The Washington Examiner, told Ahram Online.
At the end of the day, both parties are playing politics to undermine the other. The Democrats avoid subjects such as the violent riots. The Republicans avoid the coronavirus topic.
“The Democrats had little to say to the white voters without college degrees who swung the election to Trump four years ago. They did not discuss the surge in violent crime and general disorder in America's cities. And they did not dwell on the rise of China. The Republicans tried to cast as wide a net as possible, featuring speeches from people of all ethnicities. They also pinpointed messages to working-class people in the upper Midwest whose votes will be decisive,” Continetti told Ahram Online.
“The most recent polls still suggest that Biden is leading. Biden has a sizable lead over Trump, and in most simulations of the electoral college outcome. The national conventions have not changed that. The conventions had a small audience compared with the traditional in-person conventions — about 25 percent lower than in 2016. Thus, the immediate impact of the television coverage has been more limited in 2020 than in the past. Attitudes about the candidates are more fixed than usual. With fewer undecided voters likely, there was less chance that either candidate would net a significant advantage from the conventions,” Steven Smith, professor of political science at Washington University, told Ahram Online.