The texts started Monday during the Democratic National Convention’s opening ceremony and continued through Thursday night.
“Wow! I’m energized.”
“Isn’t this amazing? I’m so proud to be a Democrat!”
“For the first time in three years, I feel good again!”
“We’ve got this!!!”
But as the week progressed, I became more and more concerned. The increased adrenaline
rush of my friends sent me further and further into anxiety hell. I’ve had these feelings before. When Trump came down the escalator and said things I didn’t know were part of the internal fiber of my fellow Americans, his poll numbers went up instantly. I warned my fellow patriots that I feared he had awakened a “sleeping giant” group of Americans who had lain dormant for the past 25 years after Reagan squashed the middle class like a fly on the kitchen counter. As Hillary’s arrogant campaign leadership ignored what I thought was the obvious; Trump could actually win! I feared that the outcome of the 2016 election was not only our own fault, but also just the beginning of the demise of our democracy.
Enter the Democratic National Convention, 2020.
Everyone who is singing its praises and jumping for joy at seeing their own point of view so brilliantly and convincingly presented does not, in my opinion, get it. The Dems had us all at hello. We were all already voting for the Biden-Harris ticket. The goal of the convention should not have been to energize us. It should have been to put to bed the concerns of those whose votes we need, encouraging them to switch over to the blue side of the ballot. It should have been to energize them.
Did we do that? I do not think so.
That guy in Wisconsin did not see a reflection of himself and the issues he cares about. He saw Black Lives Matter (Please do NOT tell me that because I think it shouldn’t have been highlighted the way it was, I don’t support it; I DO!), with a Black fist reminiscent of the Black Power days of the 1970s on the screen. It scared the bejesus out of him, and it doesn’t accurately represent what the Black Lives Matter movement stands for. As Trump started his messaging this week (which I think is brilliant) around “law and order” and “Be afraid, be very afraid if you unleash the Dems on the entire country,” we played right into his hands.
We know that fear is the greatest motivating force that exists. It’s marketing 101. Fear of what we don’t know is a stronger influence than acceptance of that which we do know and don’t like. “It could be worse” will, in my view, render them unable to dethrone someone they know is the devil, but it’s a devil they can live with, and they have. They just have to switch off the television and ignore what he is doing, and who the hell cares if he and his cronies make billions as they tear apart the country? The cities won’t burn, they tell themselves. Black people and their liberal friends won’t take away our guns and what little respect we have left for ourselves. I can't afford to take the chance and vote him out. The devil you know...
“It’s the economy, stupid.” It’s always the economy. People vote based on the economy. Now, in all the polls out there, Biden is beating Trump on every single issue other than the economy, where Trump is beating Biden by a large margin: 48% to 37%. The economy should have been front and center. It should have been shown every night over and over again that Trump’s picture of the economy is focused on the stock market, and the stock market isn’t the economy! It should have conveyed via graphics and videos and great oratory that Trump bankrupted six of his own companies and devastated our foreign trade. I am not good with numbers, or even at expanding my own monetary worth, but I am good at recognizing that when you have a single area in which you are being beaten in the polls and it happens to be the same area that has made and broken politicians for the last 100 years, it should have been front and center at this convention.
The last 25 years have shown marketing people, like me, how to move people. And the production of the Democratic National Convention moved my fellow Democrats each and every night. I cried at the intro to Kamala Harris by the amazing women in her life. But, as I said, they already had me at hello. This was their ONE chance to present to those who are on the fence or worried about making a change, and the convention failed to accomplish this. The dangers of keeping Trump in the White House were not presented. There should have been a segment each and every night with visuals and oratory that put forth what the next four years would look like with Trump in charge. I didn’t leave with an understanding of the risks of staying the course.
I promise you, next week’s Republican National Convention will be all about the dangers of changing course. The last word will be spoken to those who are watching — those we need to vote our way on November 3 — and those GOP crooks will be in every nook and cranny, cementing that messaging.
My friends are sick of my doom-and-gloom mentality. It’s OK; I’m sick of the naivety and, frankly, the self-centered, pat-ourselves-on-the-back righteous arrogance of shoving our point of view down the throats of those who find it frightening and not in their own self-interest. We have to meet in the middle. In my opinion, the convention, from start to finish, did not do that.
What to do now?
1. Focus not on the first woman of color to get on the ticket of a major political party; focus on her ability to keep us safe by using her clear understanding of immigration reform and management, law and order for all, and keeping the peace.
Ignore the gun issue for now.
2. STOP with the fist-in-the-air Black Lives Matter pressure, and instead speak about there being a future for all.
3. Change the language of “defunding the police.” I have researched and understand its intention, but it comes off as offensive and confusing to those whose votes we need, and it gives Trump’s people a perfect opportunity to misrepresent its meaning.
4. Begin to address what will be our economic future under Trump if Biden isn’t afforded the opportunity to make sure that all Americans can survive this most financially challenging time.
5. Oh, and for God’s sake, stop clicking on and sharing social media’s shiny objects that rip apart all things Republican. Share articles and videos that contain messages for us all, not messages that focus on why those who continue to support Trump are evil.
In short, when I look back on this past week’s Democratic National Convention, I have the same sick sensation I had four years ago. We will see what the polls do this week. And, let's not celebrate anything until November's election is finished. Including the counting.