It probably came as no surprise that Donald Trump was named the official Republican Party nominee for president of the United States in the 2016 national election, and that Hilary Clinton was the Democratic Party nominee … What was a surprise (to me), or I should say, a completely new first experience, was the build up to the nominations. I have not been in America long enough to have seen this process happen, so watching the RNC and DNC live on television was an eye opener.
I did not catch all of the speeches and events, but I did watch the main speakers / speeches with the political punditry that followed, on each of the 4 days of both conventions – and both conventions had a distinctly different feel. I will not pretend I do not lean somewhat more towards the Democratic party, but as a Brit, this was something I aimed to watch with an open mind.
There was a distinct difference between the RNC and the DNC – one rather obvious one was the lack of ethnic and age diversity at the Republican National Convention, however, as I was only watching from my armchair and could only judge it based on the periodic shots of the audience as shown via my television, that perception could well be skewed. What I saw at the Democratic National Convention was a real mix of people in every audience shot, and it also felt less angry, derisive and divisive than the RNC.
As a fresh pair of eyes and ears to life in America and these national conventions, I was left feeling, after watching Trump’s RNC speech, like this country is a place filled with fear and anger and that it should look to separate itself from the rest of the world. After Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC (rather than Hilary’s) I was left feeling like this country is a place of hard won progress and hope, shattering ceilings and creating a bit of a revolution (mainly at the hands of Bernie Sanders’ campaign and the youth that got on board with his political ideals).
As a person making a new life here in the U.S., I was left feeling that the America I want to be a part of is an America that looks to the future. An America that aims for progress, hope, fair treatment, opportunities, and betterment of all its people. The Republican Party, at this point in time, simply does not reflect that (for me personally). All the talk about making America great again, or going back to the good old days comes across as regressive and nostalgic, in the worst possible kind of way, because nostalgia can sometimes lead one to gloss over, or conveniently forget the realities of a place or time … and I suspect that that is what is happening within the Trump campaign.
What was encouraging is that people from both sides seem to be very invested and involved, and it felt like the population had been politically mobilised – which was really great to see / feel. People have been able to share their views and concerns for the future, and there seems to have been a increasingly genuine discussion around where America should be heading. It was also encouraging to see the rather murky and questionable voting restrictions stuck down by federal judges in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Kansas and Texas.
The race seems, at the time of writing this, to be very close between Trump and Clinton – and whatever your political leanings are, it is good to have a platform to raise your concerns and hopes for the future of this country, so I look forward to seeing what actually happens over the coming months, and I very much look forward to watching the debates between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.
What did you think of the RNC and DNC? What are your predictions for the outcome of the 2016 national election?