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Democrats Promote Unity in the First Night of their National Convention

Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during the opening night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday.
 AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

MILWAUKEE – On August 17th, 2020, the first night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention took place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The four-day event is scheduled to be a series of online videos from montages, music complications, and speeches from notable political speakers. The Convention went online due to the threat COVID-19 has on mass gatherings.

The Democrats picked the theme of “We the People” for the convention, which highlighted a variety of people from different backgrounds to show diversity and inclusivity. The convention intended to portray a sense of unity of Republicans and Progressives against Trump.

For example, a part of the convention displayed a group of Republicans that are voting for Biden in November. Former Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio said his support for Vice President Biden as a deeply worried Republican.

To capture the attention of Progressives, the DNC allowed Senator Bernie Sanders to state his support for Biden.

Throughout Sander’s 2016 and 2020 Presidential Campaign, Sanders has tried to use an urgent tone as a rationale for his policy. Tonight, in the 2020 Democratic Convention, he used the same formula.

To increase a sense of unification in the movement against Trump, the Vermont Senator proclaimed, “My friends, I say to you, to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary, and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake.”

He also attempted to paint the progressive movement as enduring and “getting stronger every day.”

The intention of Sanders was clear: get his progressive base to consolidate around Biden. Since Sanders suspended his campaign, progressives have had waning confidence in Biden’s belief in progressive policy. However, with a pact between Biden and Sanders, and the speech at the DNC reassuring his confidence in Biden’s candidacy, Sanders may have been successful in convincing his base to vote for Biden.

“We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president,” he concluded in his eight-minute speech. “My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”

However, the most anticipated speaker of the night was Former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Mrs. Obama’s entire speech aimed to tear Trump down and put Biden on a pedestal. In a sense, she succeeded and went beyond expectations. In the beginning, she attacks Trump’s 2016 election win by saying, “Whatever the reason, in the end, those choices sent someone to the Oval Office who lost the national popular vote by nearly 3,000,000 votes. In one of the states that determined the outcome, the winning margin averaged out to just two votes per precinct—two votes. And we’ve all been living with the consequences.”

She then expanded upon what she believed to be the detrimental flaws of the Trump Presidency, “More than 150,000 people have died, and our economy is in shambles because of a virus that this president downplayed for too long. It has left millions of people jobless.”

From broad base national politics, she went to domestic issues like the recent death of George Floyd and systemic oppression, “And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matter is still met with derision from the nation’s highest office. Because whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy.”

Like Senator Sanders, she tried to portray a sense of urgency and paint the Trump Presidency as a threat to the livelihood of Americans.

She said later in the speech, “So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don’t make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”

In the end, she attempted to assert a more perfect union can come from a Biden Presidency, “And if we want to keep the possibility of progress alive in our time if we want to be able to look our children in the eye after this election, we have got to reassert our place in American history. And we have got to do everything we can to elect my friend, Joe Biden, as the next president of the United States.”


Throughout the Convention, the Democrats tried to enforce a sense of unity, not national unity, but unity in a movement against Trump. However, the problem I found with this message was how vague numerous speakers and politicians were when addressing present issues.

For the past few decades, Democrats have deeply cared about healthcare reform, climate change activism, and foreign relations, yet very little was mentioned about those policies. The only mention of healthcare within the entire event was when Sanders stated he disagreed with Biden on healthcare. From start to finish, the Democrats only spoke in non-specifics, which makes it hard to unify people of differing political views.

In reality, the enemy of unity is vagary. In the beginning, a handful of Republicans were shown stating they support Biden for President. However, that is simply not enough to convince moderates and especially Republicans to vote for Biden. To convince Republicans of breaking party lines, they must show policy that is appealing to Republicans. Sentiments and emotional appeals are virtually ineffective in convincing a Republican to vote blue.

As a conservative conflicted in this election, I know that Convention did not give me a single convincing reason to vote blue in November. In Mrs. Obama’s speech, she continuously attacked Trump on his COVID-19 response but failed to mention a Biden counterproposal.

Democrats overlooked the fact that unity cannot be derived from consistent criticism. The only modern Democrat that understands this notion is Andrew Yang. Within his campaign, he always said Trump was not the problem but a symptom of the problem. This ultimately shows that a common enemy is not an opponent of a political party, but an overarching concept that could be defeated through the unification of the parties.

For the Democrats to secure the vote of people outside their consistent base, they must realize that their campaign has to go beyond criticism of Trump.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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