WASHINGTON — As the four-day Democratic National Convention (DNC) concluded Thursday night with now presidential nominee Joe Biden’s speech bringing him to the pinnacle of his nearly half-a-century political career, comments on the highlights of and regrets about the event kept pouring in on Friday.
Although the Democrats tried to make full use of this most important occasion in the 2020 election so far to contrast President Donald Trump’s failure of leadership and unfitness for the presidency with Biden’s sturdiness and decency as a political veteran, The Washington Post regretted that the convention stopped short of hitting Trump’s most notorious scandals as well as the biggest catastrophe of his presidency. “Over eight total hours, the Democratic convention made countless critiques of the Trump administration’s policies. But it did not make much use of the scandals that had defined long stretches of his presidency and captivated news outlets. While Trump is only the third president to be impeached and stand trial in the Senate, none of that came up. Neither did the arrests of some of his close campaign advisers,” wrote the Post’s David Weigel.
On the same day when Biden delivered his acceptance speech, a federal judge in New York blocked Trump’s latest bid to conceal his tax returns to prosecutors, and the former chief strategist for his presidential campaign, Steve Bannon, was indicted on charges of defrauding donors in a crowdfunding campaign for building the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The Post went on to bemoan the fact that the resolve to win back the Republican-controlled Senate was not declared as strongly as Democrats’ determination to propel Biden to the White House. “Democrats’ chances of keeping the majority of the House of Representatives are looking pretty good, but the Senate is a much harder lift,” it said.
While Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged in his speech that “we must win back the Senate” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly underscored in hers that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump are “standing in the way” of better policies for the American people, the Post argued “you wouldn’t know the Senate was in play from watching the Democratic convention.” Besides not giving the liberals enough spotlight for them to advocate their policy agenda, analysts also reckoned that the Democrats didn’t seem to have paid much attention to appealing to the so-called Obama-Trump voters — those who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012 (or both) but later cast their ballots for Trump in 2016.
Trying to reach out to the Obama-Trump voters “just wasn’t a major theme for Democrats, even though Biden has proved particularly talented at connecting with this group of voters over his career,” it added. Reactions to Biden were mixed from commentators for the New York Times. While some praised his masculinity, empathy and patriotism, others said that the Democrats, instead of putting forth policies envisioning a post-Trump America, focused too much on Biden’s personal tragedy to make his humanity shine. “It’s also worth noting the image constructed by this convention: Joe Biden as a traditionally masculine American man who seeks to provide and protect, while also showing empathy. It is also Joe Biden as a traditionally patriotic American man, vouching for a younger generation of leaders,” said the Times’ Jamelle Bouie, who was echoed by Melanye Price, saying “Biden was eloquent on issues of race, on the pandemic, on the economy and on the discomfort and uncertainty Americans are feeling. He understands the emotional appeal in elections.”
Daniel McCarthy said “the overemphasis on the nominee’s family this last night of the convention made it feel like Biden is running for grandpa, not president. It’s a sign of how weak Biden and his program are: His campaign depends on sentiment, COVID-19 and Trump.” Hector Tobar held a similar opinion, saying “the Democrats gambled big that they can rebuild the big tent of the party on the foundation of Joe Biden’s humanity. Millions more of us can now recite the details of his remarkable family and political biography. But the party passed on putting forth concrete (and contentious) policies to shape a post-Trump world.”
On the Republican side, Vice President Mike Pence on Friday morning criticized the speeches rendered during the DNC as presenting “a grim vision for America.” “So many of the speeches at the Democratic National Convention were so negative,” Pence told “CBS This Morning,” pointing at Biden, saying he “amazingly … never mentioned the violence that has beset major cities across this country.” On the economy, which Biden said was “in tatters” now amid the coronavirus pandemic, Pence offered a counterargument, saying “Joe Biden said last night the economy’s not going to come back until the coronavirus is over. Newsflash to Joe Biden – the economy is coming back. The only real threat to our economy is a Joe Biden presidency.”
In a separate interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, the vice president lambasted Biden’s policy agenda, saying: “Last night, in Joe Biden’s address, we heard a lot of platitudes, but if you read between the lines, you heard about Joe Biden’s plan to raise taxes, increase regulation and take us back to all the same policies of the last administration that resulted in the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.” He described Biden’s agenda as “of higher taxes, socialized medicine, open borders, abortion-on-demand, and continued calls to cut, defund, disassemble law enforcement that’s driving violence in the streets of our major cities.”
Pence told the CBS program that speakers at next week’s Republican National Convention will present the Trump administration’s “record of results” achieved during the last three years, which he said included rebuilding the military, cutting taxes and “a commitment to law and order.”