Americans have been fed a steady diet of political rhetoric over the past two weeks, trying to convince them that two people they have known for decades — and generally do not like — should be their next president.
Hillary Clinton finished off this week’s Democratic National Convention with a speech in which she had to walk a fine line to mollify Bernie Sanders’ supporters while reaching out to independents and Republicans who are looking for change, but are wary of Donald Trump.
Polls conducted in the days ahead will show us how the Democrats’ message has been digested. Meantime, reviews and comparisons of the two conventions are coming in. And the acceptance speeches of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton can be found below, a way to pass the 102 days still to come before Election Day.
The Biggest Speech of Hillary’s Life Was an Uninspired Wish List
Michael Goodwin – New York Post
Her performance fulfilled the party’s fear that she would be overshadowed by a roster of political heavyweights at her own convention and waste an opportunity to reinvent herself. Without doubt, the fourth and final night of the convention was a letdown….
The result is that Clinton is not so much leading the Democratic Party as the beneficiary of its sprawling political cultural, and racial strength. Resembling a European-style parliamentary leader, she is running like she wants to be a prime minister selected by her party instead of an American president elected by voters.
Hillary Clinton Finally Found the Message She Was Looking For
Paul Waldman – The Week
Someone who has been a national figure for a quarter of a century may not be able to redefine herself in the course of a single speech, no matter how long it lasts and how many people are watching. But what she might be able to do is change the frame you see her through, change the context that surrounds her and the job she’s seeking. If it’s possible, then Hillary Clinton might have accomplished it Thursday night.
She did it not with anything entirely new, but with a relentless reinforcement of the central theme of her campaign, “Stronger Together.” While it was criticized as a slogan with no punch (not to mention being the third or fourth her campaign had tried out), by the end of the Democratic convention it has actually come to be imbued with depth, meaning, and even emotion. And perhaps most strikingly, it moves Hillary Clinton a step or two back, even at the moment when all the spotlights and cameras are on her and her alone.
Donald Trump Acceptance Speech (via CSPAN)
Since When Does the American Left Believe America Is Great?
Eugene Slaven – American Thinker
In speech after speech, Democratic Party elites breathlessly proclaimed how great America is and how misguided Donald Trump is for painting a “dark” vision of America.
Claiming the “America is great” mantle as a way to differentiate from Donald Trump’s “America is in decline” message might have been a shrewd political strategy were it not being promulgated by an invariably non-credible messenger: the American left….
Two Conventions, Two Starkly Different Views of Nation
Caitlin Huey-Burns – Real Clear Politics
Many strategists maintain that a hopeful message is a leadership sign that helps win elections. But Trump doesn’t put too much stock in tradition. “Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country,” he said last week in Cleveland.
“The problems we face now — poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad — will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them,” Trump said. “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”
Democrats see it differently. “We are not a fragile or frightful people,” Obama said. “Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order. We don’t look to be ruled.”
For a Change, It’s the Democrats Channeling Reagan
Eugene Robinson – The Washington Post
Democrats have done a remarkable thing this week in Philadelphia: They have framed this election as an epic struggle not just to continue the policies of President Obama but also to renew the sunlit, optimistic Americanism of Ronald Reagan….
“We are not a fragile people, we’re not a frightful people,” Obama said. “Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don’t look to be ruled.”
The president promised that “anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.” It was a Reaganesque defense of American ideals — clearly designed to appeal not just to Democrats but to independents and moderate Republicans as well.
The Reviews Are In: Conservatives Say the DNC Was a ‘Disaster’ for the GOP
Katherine Krueger – Talking Points Memo
After Trump painted America as a downcast country in need of a billionaire savior, night after night of all-star DNC speakers preached a sermon of American exceptionalism, with values that unify us all – talking points once exclusively owned by Republicans.
It was enough to give a lot of conservatives whiplash. Here are just a few of them praising the DNC and bemoaning the state of affairs in their own party.
Hillary Forgets Herself
The Editors – National Review
Dressed symbolically all in white (as though she were a bride or a monarch enjoying her privilège du blanc), she delivered a speech that was one part It Takes a Village and eleven parts old State of the Union speeches from Barack Obama and her husband. Her presentation was her usual hectoring — she is not capable of speaking in another mode — and one of her themes was the superiority of collective action to atomistic individualism, as though she were running against Ayn Rand rather than Donald Trump. She decried “mean rhetoric” and then said that people who operate their businesses in ways that displease her are unpatriotic. She suggested that pillaging high-earning individuals and companies with confiscatory taxes could fund an endless goody bag of patronage for her constituents.
I.e., the usual Hillary.