7 Things That Made US Democratic Convention ‘Unconventional’
For one, Barack Obama set aside an unwritten rule to not directly criticise the incumbent.
The Democratic National Convention is held every four years to officially nominate the democratic candidates for president and vice president, officially adopt a party platform and in general bring democrats across the US together to plan for the upcoming election.
But this year, the democratic national convention was highly unconventional. For the first time in history, the entire four days of the event took place online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is, however, not the only historic incident from the convention.
Here are the seven factors that made the convention quite unconventional.
1. Barack Obama’s Direct Attack on Trump
Former US President Barack Obama pulled out all the stops in a bid to urge people to vote for Joe Biden.
President Obama set aside an unwritten rule to not directly criticise the incumbent, and called out President Trump for failing to do better for Americans.
“I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care. But he never did.”Barack Obama
He also visibly fought back tears and remembered the fight Americans have put up to counter racism and oppression and pleaded with voters to not let their efforts go to vain. He asked voters to fight for their democracy and to keep their power.
2. ‘Go High When They Go Low’
Michelle Obama gave a revised rendition of her speech from 2016 when she told voters to “go high when they go low”. She clarified that her highly popular catchphrase means “unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold hard truth”.
By truth, Obama says she was referring to “Donald Trump being the wrong president for the country and it simply is what it is”.
She also urged voters to turn out in full force and do whatever it takes to make sure they vote.
3. Joe Biden’s Official Nomination
The third most noteworthy event to take place was Joe Biden’s official nomination for President of the United States.
Kamala Harris also made history by being the first woman of colour to be officially nominated as the vice president of the country. Harris said she was doing her Indian origin mother proud. She referred to Donald Trump as a “predator” and accused him of “turning tragedies into political weapons”.
4. The Republican Support
Perhaps the most surprising event from the convention was support from four top Republican party members. Former Ohio Governor John Kasich spoke on their behalf and said their responsibility was to the country first and party second. Todd Whitman, former Republican Governor of New Jersey summed up their sentiment and said “this isn’t about being Republican or Democrat. It’s about being a person”.
Since then over 70 former national security officials who served under Republican administrations have endorsed Joe Biden for the presidency.
5. ‘Do Better This Time’
Former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did not mince her words. She warned voters to learn from her own campaign and do better this time. In a quick recap, Clinton had won the popular vote in 2016, meaning she got more votes than Trump but she lost the electoral college. She told voters to turn up in such large numbers to prevent another ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ situation.
6. Human Faces of Tragedy
The DNC also gave space for civilians and put a human face on the COVID-19 tragedy and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Various senators and health officials talked about Trump’s mishandling of the virus and invited Kristin Urquiza who lost her father to the virus to talk about her experience. She said her father believed Trump when he said the virus was under control.
She shared the spotlight with the relatives of George Floyd and Eric Garner, who were victims of police brutality in the United States and largely sparked the BLM movement.
7. Support From Other Key Democrats
The Biden-Harris administration also received overwhelming support from other key players in the democratic party. Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren vouched for him. Sanders actually appealed to his own supporters, progressives who are unhappy with Biden’s fairly moderate stance and told them that this isn’t the time for a party divide.
Most viewers have said the convention has been a roaring success despite the hiccups and obstacles. President Trump has even fired off several tweets criticising the convention and all the speakers.
It remains to be seen how the Republican National Convention, which takes place next week, pans out!
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