Democratic and Republican Convention Highlights

By Olivia Espinoza

The Democratic and Republican National Conventions may have looked different this year because of the pandemic, but they provided voices illustrating party beliefs and officially nominated their parties. The Democratic National Convention (DNC) that was held August 17-20 was filled with discourse and discussion on how electing Joe Biden for President would “overcome the season of darkness.” The Republican National Convention (RNC), which was held August 24-27, gave Republican speakers a chance to rebut the Democrats’ claims and convince Americans to re-elect President Donald Trump.

This year’s DNC was full of firsts. Not only was it the first in history to be held virtually,  but on the third night, Kamala Harris became the first Black woman and Asian American to accept a Vice Presidential nomination. In her debut, Harris acknowledged the women who paved the way for the opportunity that she has been given. 

“Without fanfare or recognition, they organized, testified, rallied, marched, and fought—not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table. These women and the generations that followed worked to make democracy and opportunity real in the lives of all of us who followed,” Harris said.

Although Harris strongly criticized Biden in her own campaign for the Democratic nomination, she now supports him as the official nominee. The duo sends a message that Americans must reconcile differences in order to move forward.

“Make no mistake. United we can, and will, overcome this season of darkness in America. We will choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, fairness over privilege,” Biden said. 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke on the second day of the convention reflecting on the months prior that were filled with Black Lives Matter protests and the continuing COVID-19 death rates. 

“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,” Michelle Obama said. 

The following day, former President Barack Obama spoke out against Trump’s efforts as president. 

“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 said. 

The following week, in the RNC, Trump declared that the United States has handled the Coronavirus the best in comparison to other countries. 

“Altogether, the nations of Europe have experienced a 30 percent greater increase in excess mortality than the United States. Think of that,” Trump said.

Trump also addressed his original campaign promises to secure the border between the United States and between Mexico, sharing how he plans on continuing the construction of the border wall.

“We already built 300 miles of border wall, and we are adding 10 new miles every single week,” Trump said.

Trump invited citizens who he had pardoned for their criminal charges to speak at the RNC. Alice Marie Johnson, who was convicted for two decades for a non-violent drug offense, was among them. She went to the podium to praise the president for his pardon and explained how Trump has helped many in her situation. 

“Truth is, there are thousands of people just like me, who deserve the opportunity to come home,” Johnson said. Further, Johnson said that she was free “by the grace of God and the compassion of President Donald John Trump.”

Trump shared with the audience that he believes he has been a fighting force for the black community.

“And I say very modestly that I have done more for the African-American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president,” Trump said. 

The insults toward Trump at the DNC were not left unnoticed. Trump took the chance to respond to Barack Obama’s beliefs, especially, that Trump has not taken his job as president seriously. 

“Because if they did a good job, I wouldn’t be here, and probably if they did a good job, I wouldn’t have even run. I would have been very happy. I enjoyed my previous life very much, but they did such a bad job that I stand before you as President,” Trump said. 

Overall, each convention showcased the different party beliefs, highlighting that the Democrats are seeking change and diversification while the Republicans seek to continue the work they have been doing.

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