(Cleveland, Ohio) – The Republican National Convention is in the books, and now it’s on to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Both candidates have picked running mates. Pretty soon we’ll be in full-bore campaign mode, heading to November. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:
“Citizen Kaine” – It comes as no surprise that Hillary Clinton has picked Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)to be her running mate. He has a great resume: Mayor of Richmond; Lt. Governor of Virginia; Governor of Virginia; and now U.S. Senator. He was also chairman of the Democratic National Committee for two years. A 58-year-old, Harvard-educated lawyer, he’s a seasoned political pro who could step in and be President.
“The Electoral Math” – I think Kaine was a good choice for the Democrats; and Mike Pence was a good choice for the Republicans. Both bring extensive leadership and experience to the table. You want that in the Vice President, in case the worst happens. Pence will probably secure Indiana’s 11 Electoral College votes for the GOP ticket, but Kaine's home state is not as secure for the Democrats. The Old Dominion was a “red state” from 1968 through 2004 in Presidential races, but Barack Obama won it in 2008 and 2012. It’s a battleground state - with 13 Electoral College votes - that remains up for grabs; but, for now, I’ll say it leans Democrat. The bottom line, the net advantage is two Electoral College votes for the Democrats.
“Si!” – Another big asset Kaine brings is that he is fluent in Spanish and speaks it at many rallies, as well as in social media. No, he is not Hispanic; but when you can speak the same language, you can connect with people in a unique and personal way. Remember, the Latin vote is the fastest growing demographic in the electorate. Swing states, such as Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada, used to be solidly “red” but President Obama won all three in 2008, and again in 2012. Each has a rapidly growing Hispanic voter pool. Subtleties matter. Kaine’s bilingual skills may also help Democrats in the two most crucial states: Florida and Ohio.
“Trump Stump” – I thought Donald Trump gave a very good acceptance speech. It was the most forceful address I have ever seen him give. It was also the most disciplined address, as it was scripted and in a teleprompter (although you could tell he would ad lib when he felt the need). The tone was angry from the start to finish, but I’m not saying that in a critical way. In fact, I believe it was an asset. Trump was successful this year (as was Bernie Sanders) in tapping into the considerable anger in the American public, so I give him points for that. My overall grade: B.
“I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore” – That was the famous line from network news anchor Howard Beale in the movie “Network.” The acclaimed film won numerous Academy Awards. But in the movie, Beale “articulates the popular rage,” as it was referred to often. The problem was that no solution to assuage the rage was ever offered. People were just encouraged to open their windows and vent about how mad they were. Trump hit that same nerve, but never laid out any concrete battle plans as to how to turn the anger into action. Had he done so, my grade would have been an A.
“Odds and Ends” – Political conventions are carnival side shows in a lot of ways. All kinds of colorful characters show up, and an endless number of people are there to “pitch stories” to the press. One woman asked me if I’d like an opportunity to interview a young lady “to get the perspective of the election from a 14-year-old’s point of view.” Really? She’s not even old enough to vote, and she’s a juvenile. I just found it odd and exploitive; so I passed.
“Hair-Spray Gate!” – I have never been comfortable with the amount of hair spray and makeup I have to wear for my job. It’s kind of silly, but necessary. As I went through the security screening on Tuesday, a female Secret Service agent confiscated my hair spray because it was in an aerosol can. I politely pleaded that I needed it for work. The woman’s male supervisor suddenly interjected, asking, “What kind of work do you do?” I told him I worked in television. “Are you on-air?” he asked; and I responded "Yes." “Okay sir, you can keep it, but please go buy a pump spray bottle for next time,” he said. It was a very funny exchange, especially with the male agent coming to my defense!
“Cleveland Rocks!” – That’s the name of a famous song by British singer-songwriter Ian Hunter. Even though I grew up in Wisconsin, I had never been to Ohio until late last year, and this was my first trip to Cleveland. The city on Lake Erie has always been the butt of comedians’ jokes, but I loved Cleveland. The theatre district is spectacular, and the lake has been cleaned up over the years. Some nice restaurants catered the convention, so there is a culinary buzz. I missed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame party, but I can’t wait to go visit again as a tourist. Nice city; I was impressed!
I’ll have more from Philadelphia next Sunday. Share your comments at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.
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