American Life, British Accent: An Expat Perspective on the 2016 National Conventions

Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton being named their respective parties official presidential nominees may not have come as much of a surprise at this stage, but … what was a surprise (at least to me) was the build up to the nominations. Watching the RNC and DNC live on television was definitely 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.

donal trump and hilary clinton via bbc


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.

trump vs. clinton aug 1st poll results

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?


4 thoughts on “American Life, British Accent: An Expat Perspective on the 2016 National Conventions

  1. Orange Marigolds says:

    I’m interested in how you are feeling about the recent Brexit events? It’s interesting that you mention isolationism here and would love to hear your thought on the recent voting, having seen and experienced it literally from the other side of the pond now! Thanks for sharing these articles. I find them fascinating.


    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      Generally, I felt both the Leave & Remain camps did not do a great job with getting the information out, and making promises that were not really based in much actual truth. It shocked me to read about how divided Britain was, as I had assumed that it wasn’t, and I was extremely disappointed at the racist rubbish that came out as a result of Leave winning. I am sure that a large amount of Leave voters are not racist, but it seems to have given rise to people being more open about their dislike of immigrants or people who aren’t white (at least 5 of my friends had things shouted at them in the streets along the lines of ‘go back home’). The economic impact is one that I think was not made clear by the Remain camp and as a result there is no doubt going to be an impact – just how far reaching that is something that only time will tell.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    What is going on in American is complicated. I think the corruption of American values, the sensationalist news, and the us against them are the roots of the problem in America right now.

    One thing to understand about the US is that we are 50 states each with our own unique culture, history, laws, and values. People outside the country do not take into consideration that we are supposed to be states and not provinces. There has always been a debate about the balance between the rights of the states and the role of the federal government. This makes it easy for politicians to play the “US against them” game especially red state vs blue state. Those liberals want to take away our freedom or oh how those conservatives are racist bigots, and then the moderates are chased away from the national dialog. We are supposed to be the United States of America, and those at the top are supposed to be beyond juvenile name calling.

    Another major issue is that Americans are not getting balanced information about the world around us. Other then “today there was a terrorist attack at…” I have to get my international news online. I only learned about Brexit ,for instance, from listening to the BBC and Canadian news. Most people learned about it after the fact. Our news networks suck at telling us what is going on in the world with the exception of PBS. While US election coverage is important but there are other things in the world we really should know about.

    American values are being corrupted. This is a topic I could write an essay on. The concept of freedom is being used to justify selfishness. The price of freedom is responsibility, if you want to preserve your freedom you also need to take responsibility for your actions and think about the long term implications of the choice you make. We do not live in a bubble, life is going on around you.

    There is a lot of anger right now in this country and it has been building for a long time. I am not sure what the solution is to fix it. I offer these criticisms because I still believe in America and American values. “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” If I didn’t care then I wouldn’t be so opinionated about it and there is a lot I chopped out of this post. I am sorry for the novel, but I hope this helps put some things into context and of course this is one perspective among many.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      I really appreciate what you took the time to write – it is always great when someone shares a perspective and offers some clear thought on what is covered in one of my posts. I agree with the difficulty in getting balanced information from the media here as there is definite learnings to one side or another – that is something I am greatly curious about and want to possibly write about/look into deeper.


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