John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Conventions Reveal Deep Divisions of Two Political Parties

Posted on July 28, 2016
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(This originally appeared on the website Political Storm)

The Democratic National Convention (“DNC”) is focused on the marginalized.

The Republican National Convention (“RNC”) was focused on those who feel they are being marginalized by a rapidly changing society.

Outside the DNC, you can find a prayer circle that features a Wiccan priestess. Inside the building, you can find a Muslim prayer room. At the podium, Dr. Cynthia Hale, an African-American preacher, who said that there is a war on black people, offered the opening prayer, which was lustily booed by supporters of Bernie Sanders.

At the opening and closing of each session of the RNC, prayers were omnipresent, from Christians, Catholics, Sikhs, Muslims, Mormons and Greek Orthodox Ministers.

The RNC opened with Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame, who, while wearing his trademark American flag bandana, said that Donald Trump will always have your back. Meryl Streep, the accomplished Academy Award winning actress, while wearing an American flag-themed dress, closed Day 2 of the DNC with an “I am woman, hear me roar” speech.

Scott Baio, who became famous for his role in the sitcom “Happy Days,” spoke passionately on behalf of Donald Trump’s efforts to make America safe again. Lena Dunham, the provocative star who often appears naked in the HBO television series “Girls”, claimed that Trump wants to make America hate again.

The RNC featured several business associates of Donald Trump, as well as entrepreneurs like Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist who founded PayPal. Thiel pointed out that while he doesn’t agree with everything in the Republican platform, he was proudly gay and proud to endorse Donald Trump. The DNC featured every labor union chief it could get its hands on Monday and will close on Thursday with the leaders of gay activist organizations.

At the RNC, David Clarke, Milwaukee’s top cop, said, plainly and passionately, “Blue Lives Matter” and praised prosecutors for dropping the spurious case against police officers in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the controversial Arizona lawman who makes a point of putting illegal immigrants in jail, spoke out in favor of Donald Trump. Parents of children killed by illegal immigrants were also prominently featured at the RNC.

At the Democratic National Convention, Mothers of the Movement, a collection of mothers whose offspring were killed in officer-involved events, came out in favor of Hillary Clinton. Astrid Silva, an undocumented immigrant, political activist, and so-called Dreamer, who has spoken passionately in favor of immigration reform, heartily endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Every living Democratic President will have made an appearance at the DNC by the time it is done Thursday night. Every living Republican President and presidential nominee decided to skip the RNC because they dislike the GOP nominee so much.

The DNC featured comedians like Al Franken and Sarah Silverman. Silverman had the line of the convention when she accused supporters of Bernie Sanders of “being ridiculous.” The closest thing that the RNC had to a comedian was radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, who hammered the GOP establishment with as much gusto as she did the Democratic nominee.

Cecile Richards, the abortion activist, told the crowd at the DNC that women will keep Trump out of the White House. Chris Cox, the NRA’s top lobbyist, plainly said that only Donald Trump would protect the Second Amendment. The RNC featured Tony Perkins, a noted anti-abortion activist. The DNC featured gun control activists like Gabby Giffords.

The top scandal to hit the RNC was Melania Trump’s speech, which apparently borrowed heavily from Michelle Obama’s 2008 address to the DNC. Commentators intoned about how this showed some fundamental weakness about the Trump campaign. The top scandal to hit the DNC knocked the party’s chairwomen out of her job and riled an already-fractured group of Sanders activists who knew that the primary was rigged against them.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties have unhappy factions. Conventions are meant to bring those factions together in the hopes that they will unify enough to win the presidential election.

Cynics like to say that there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties, but after looking at these two conventions, I don’t think anyone can say that anymore.

The voters have a stark choice in November.

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