Parties gear up for conventions

The Republican convention will highlight the country's “greatness, opportunity and President Donald Trump's bold leadership”, while the Democrats will highlight stories of how ordinary Americans are struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic.

18 August 2020 | International

MATTHEW RUSLING

WASHINGTON



Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, both Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for their conventions, after economic turmoil and rioting in cities nationwide.

While the economy is slowly but surely returning to normal and most of the riots have ended, the conventions will occur during a highly uncertain time.

In a historic first, Democrats are going totally virtual, and US president Donald Trump will deliver his convention speech from the White House, in a bid to stem the spread of the virus. According to Fox News, the Republican convention will highlight the country's “greatness, opportunity and President Donald Trump's bold leadership”.

One speaker will be Tanya Weinreis, owner of Mountain Mudd Espresso in the US state of Montana, a small coffee shop with around 50 employees. Weinreis received a special loan reserved for businesses that have suffered from the pandemic, and she is slated to speak about how the loan made a big difference for her company during this unprecedented time.

“[The loan] will allow us to continue paying our employees, as well as covering other operational costs like rent and utilities,” she was quoted as saying on Fox News.

A sergeant in the St Louis Police Department, Ann Dorn, will also speak.

She is also the wife retired St Louis Police Captain David Dorn, who was murdered by looters while protecting a store during the nationwide riots that lasted over a week last May.



Police defunding

The speech comes at a time when some Democratic politicians are pushing to defund police departments. Last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio passed a city budget that took US$1 billion from the city's police budget.

For their convention, Democrats will highlight stories of how ordinary Americans are struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic. The party will use that as a platform to cast blame on Trump and argue that Joe Biden is the leader to shepherd the nation through this ordeal, US media reported.

Democrats have chosen “Uniting America” as the main theme for the four-day virtual event. The event will kick off Monday and feature former Democratic candidate for president and self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, as well as former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Tuesday night will see a speech by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. On Wednesday night, former president Barack Obama will speak, and Thursday will be Biden's big night.

Clay Ramsay, a researcher at the University of Maryland, told Xinhua that some air time will go into explaining what a Biden administration would do - perhaps more time than people are expecting.



Trump criticism

The criticism of Trump will mostly be handled by speakers below the top headliners, he added.

“The tone of (Republican) speeches will be darker, implying a future of racial turmoil if the Democrats win... The usual format will be remodelled to give us lots more 'Trump-some' every night. And there's a large audience for that,” Ramsay said.

Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua that Trump will emphasise crime and policing and argue he is the only thing standing between voters and chaos.

“He'll argue that if Biden wins, every place in the US will turn into Minneapolis at the height of the protests and rioting there,” Galdieri said of recent massive riots that tore that city apart.

Biden will emphasise his biography and record in office as part of his pitch that he can get the country back to something resembling normal, Galdieri said.

“Biden will probably make the coronavirus pandemic central to his speech, and blame Trump... for the extent of it and the fact that life has been abnormal and kids aren't in school and so on,” Galdieri said. -Nampa/Xinhua

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