Critique of the Philadelphia Democratic Convention

Although political party conventions have lost most of their importance to the general election, the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, one week after the Republicans’ in Cleveland, had its highs and lows. The four-day event went back and forth between spine-tingling orations to disastrous moments throughout.

There were, like the Republicans, stark displays of disunity. The “Bernie factor” spilled onto the convention floor from major displays of anger on the streets.

Clearly, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech Thursday night was a crowd-pleaser. Though actually unspectacular, it wasn’t too much of that and too much of this. Hillary gave a predicable oratory of the country’s problems in a general way, far different than Trump’s in Cleveland. It was enough to keep her from being held down to hard promises.

What helped Clinton the most was the strong speech by President Obama openly endorsing her with perceived enthusiasm. The strange thing is the fact they are not friends in any sense of the word. Obama would have been much happier with VP Joe Biden.

Bernie Sanders, who gave Hillary fits in the primaries, came off with a smoldering critique of “evil and untrustworthy” billionaire Trump. Sanders painted Trump as the creator of the coming war of the worlds, if elected.

He did his duty, even though he is actually not a Democrat by title. But you could have fooled the viewing TV audience with the oft-seen camera shots of him in his seat. What he said can be construed as a hostage interview, as many of his vocal supporters will most likely think.

Critique of the Philadelphia Democratic Convention.
Critique of the Philadelphia Democratic Convention.

Did he help Hillary or leave a smoldering rage with his base? What will that translate into; not voting, vote for the Libertarian Gary Johnson or actually cozying up to the other outsider, Donald J. Trump? Sanders handled it as well as anyone could have expected.

Vice President Joe Biden did his usual down home folksy speech. His Wednesday night address was received rapturously by the crowd as he hammered Trump with his brashness, which comes close to Trump’s style. A sample of Joe’s style; “He’s trying to tell us he cares about the middle class which is malarkey.”

As expected, CNN topped the ratings in Philadelphia while Fox News did the same in Cleveland. No real biased reporting worth screaming about, which was surprising considering some of the commentators who obviously root openly for one party always.

VP nominee Tim Kaine was droll and vanilla. That could or could not be a good thing with Hillary’s reputation as robotic and predictable “I feel strongly both ways” speaker. There are not high hopes he’ll bring much to the fall campaign aside from looking good and hopefully handing his home state of Virginia to the Democrats.

Bill Clinton is old and tired and it showed. He doesn’t have the famous charisma he once had and it was obvious from the crowd’s less-than-enthusiastic reaction to his “love” for Hillary and usual “You may not like Hillary, but I come with the package.”

The same can be said of daughter Chelsea’s teleprompter “earnestness.” Aside from the warming hugs and kisses with mom following her rehearsed-to-death words, one came away thinking she misses her two kids more than Hillary and Bill miss the grandchildren.

The whole Clinton lovefest left many with doubtful effectiveness. A big reason is obviously Bill’s lurid affair with Monica Lewinsky, among many others Hillary handled as “bimbos.” Bill and Hillary’s speeches were devoid of wild applause lines, especially the legendary big orator, Bubba Clinton.

And then there is now former Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. It should be said she did an above-average organization of the gala considering the lurking Sanders factor and the discovered emails of a “rigged primary system” to destroy Bernie.

She was through before it all began. Debbie the Terrible was thrown under the bus only to be hired by Hillary’s campaign for a job well done screwing her unwavering arch nemesis. The Florida congresswoman faces a strong challenge in her own race for re-election to her House seat and the horrible publicity she received may make Debbie a private citizen in four short months.

She was virtually invisible during most of the convention. It was a grim end to her five years as head of the DNC. It was a good riddance from the Bernie campaign who demanded her dethroning.

Cleveland was basically unmemorable aside from Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse Trump and the fiery and effective speech the billionaire real estate mogul gave. Philadelphia was dogged by poor organization of basic amenities, traffic problems and other logistical setbacks. But it was problems mostly unseen by the general viewing audience.

In summation, the two will be in a dead tie with next week’s poll results. Hillary will get a slight bump and the election will most likely come down to the three decisive debates this fall.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr.
Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, "Redistribution of Common Sense - Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014," was published in July, 2014. "The Game Changer - America's Most Stunning Presidential Election in History," was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.