With both the Democrat and Republican National Conventions coming to a close, the most shocking observation from the two was the contrast in appearance. That is, the Democrats—who had at their beck and call the full power and talent of Hollywood—produced what appeared to be a low-budget and unprofessional-looking convention. Forget for a moment who was on screen at any given time: the look and feel of even “celebrities” beaming in from what appeared to be their living rooms at times had all the glitz factor of a kid with his laptop at Panera. Moreover, the party of fear, as the Democrats have become, with their masks and dearth of live people, presented their speakers in sterile, un-energetic settings. Regardless of what they had to say (and of course almost all of it was wrong) they nevertheless put you to sleep saying it.
The Republicans on the other hand (to quote Muhammad Ali) “shocked and amazed.” Their stages were clean but patriotic and looked BIG. When possible, President Trump, Melania, and Vice President Pence had live audiences—which, even in reduced numbers, were enthusiastic and warm. From Fort McHenry to the White House itself, the backdrop was one of grandeur and awe. Put another way, the Democrat convention just looked small.And it was small in ideas, even those most came with grotesquely huge price tags. There was nothing inspiring or uplifting about the Democrat convention, especially with its parade of whiny, better-than-you “stars.”
Contrasted with the Republican convention’s roll call of ordinary Americans from every walk of life, often in their natural settings, the Democrat convention was at the same time preachy and yet lacking authority. It didn’t help that real news coverage had to shift periodically to cities burning with chyrons of “mostly peaceful” protests going on.
I can’t help but remember Saddam Hussein’s propagandist, “Baghdad Bob,” who as American tanks literally rolled through Baghdad’s streets behind him insisted that Saddam had beaten the infidels and there were no Americans in the city!
As far as bounces go, NPR and other leftist sites gleefully proclaimed “Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Television Ratings” without noting that traditional broadcast viewership has plummeted in the last two decades and that most viewers watched the conventions on devices, cable, or some other service not measured by Nielsen. This is both predictable and devastating news for Joe Biden and the Democrats. He barely beat Trump in his acceptance speech (24.6 to 23.8 million) in the Neilson-measured households—but Trump got the vast majority of the non-network streaming viewership. At C-SPAN alone (not included in the six major outlets covered by Neilsen) nearly six times more viewers watched the Republican convention as watched the Democrats (over 440,000). When one adds in the other dozens of streamers, Trump and the Republicans likely buried the Democrats in viewership.
But the reason this should be so troubling to Biden is that the demographic who still watches the networks is much older. Biden continues his slide with younger people, especially blacks. Combined with the massive shortfall in student on-campus voting that I pointed out in “Back to School” the guts of the 18-24-year-old vote are going to be significantly diminished for Biden. In short, touting better numbers on ABC, NBC, and CBS is actually a warning bell for the Democrats.
And while I don’t do polls, it is evident from polling across the board that not only did Biden not get a bounce out of his convention, but something that has never happened before occurred: his opponent did get a bounce. In almost every poll since both conventions have occurred, Trump has gained ground. In the next column, I will go more into some of the more recent polling highlights. But for now, it’s clear the winner of the convention battle was Donald Trump and the Republicans in a knockout.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author with Michael Allen of the New York Times #1 bestseller, A Patriot’s History of the United States, author of Reagan: The American President, and founder of Wild World of History, a history curriculum website featuring full US and World History curricula for grades 9-12 including teacher guides, student workbooks, maps/graphs, tests and instructional videos.