By tradition, the US Republicans and Democrats in the United States hold a national convention every four years ahead of the presidential election to select the party's nominee for popular election and adopt a statement on the next government’s plans. The nominating convention of the two parties for the upcoming presidential election, slated for November 3, 2020, was held recently. This article reviews the National Conventions of the two US political parties, the main topics in the speeches made by the two nominees, the foreign policy issues, the supports from political figures in the conventions, and the quality of the meetings.
The Democratic National Convention preceded that of Republicans. In his 25-minute speech, Mr. Joe Biden said, “United we can, and will, overcome this season of darkness in America… This campaign isn’t just about winning votes. It’s about winning the heart.” He also said the US is facing four crises at the same time, namely the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis, racism and climate change. Biden noted that first move by his administration would be to tackle the coronavirus, because it affects the other pillars of life. Stressing the need to care about education and tax cuts, Biden said he has selected Senator Kamala Harris as vice president to pay more attention to the people of color, while respect for the values and human rights would be high on the agenda. Biden said “maybe George Floyd’s murder was the breaking point” in the US history that motivated him to run for president. Stressing the need to fix the problems, Biden expounded on the economic and health damages because of the Trump administration’s poor handling of the battle with coronavirus. On the foreign policy, he criticized the Trump administration’s support for dictators, saying, “I will be a president who will stand with our allies and friends… We will never again be at the mercy of China and other foreign countries in order to protect our own people… Under President Biden, America will not turn a blind eye to Russian bounties on the heads of American soldiers.”
In his 70-minute acceptance speech, Mr. Donald Trump said, “This election will decide if we save the American dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny… At the Democrat National Convention, Joe Biden and his party repeatedly assailed America as a land of racial, economic and social injustice… I ask you a simple question: How can the Democratic Party ask to lead our country when it spent so much time tearing down our country?... This is the most important election in the history of our country. There has never been such a difference between two parties or two individuals in ideology, philosophy, or vision than there is right now.” The bulk of Trump’s speech involved attacks on Biden and China and the fight against ISIS. On the foreign policy, Trump said he has managed to readjust the defense payments of NATO, withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and “the unfair and very costly Paris climate accord and secured, for the first time, American energy independence… Unlike many presidents before me, I kept my promise, recognized Israel’s true capital and moved our Embassy to Jerusalem.” He also said China, which has harmed the world, supports Joe Biden. Trump, whose speech was greeted with rapturous applause, pointed to the West Asian countries, the NAFTA deal among the US, Mexico and Canada, supporting the American farmers, the Mexico border, and completion of a border wall. In his sensational speech, Trump repeatedly used “America first” slogan in all sectors.
The point about the supports from political figures for the two conventions was that while former president Barack Obama and his wife have given speeches in support of Biden and have denounced Trump, prominent figures such as the former presidents absented themselves from the Republican National Convention, so that Trump used his family members in the speech. Biden tried to drum up support from all political tendencies and become the symbol of traditional American policy. Democrats accused Trump of racism and supporting dictators. Some of the comments from the Republicans were new to American people. “President Trump knows he inherited the first generation of Americans who couldn’t promise their children a better life than their own,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, adding that Democrats want free health care for illegal immigrants. Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, said in the RNC Speech, “New Yorkers wonder, how did we get overwhelmed by crime so quickly and to decline so fast? Don’t let Democrats do to America what they have done to New York.” He also criticized Democrats for selling the US to China. In his RNC speech, Senator Tom Cotton said, “President Trump stands up the China’s cheating and stealing and lying. Joe Biden allowed Chinese fentanyl to flood across our southern border. President Trump sanctioned Chinese drug dealers for poisoning our kids.” Ivanka Trump, the US president’s daughter and aide, said, “I heard foreign leaders beg him (Donald Trump) not to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, yet he delivered on a promise also made and unfulfilled by past presidents because my father knew that it was the right thing to do.” At the Democratic National Convention, a number of Republicans gave speeches against Trump. Joe Biden did not attack the character of Trump, but criticized his policies. While Biden advocates increased dignity and place of American citizens, Trump is an overt supporter of white people in the American community. Trump advocates white supremacy, but Biden calls for unity within the American society. Biden emphasizes the importance of cooperation with the allies, while Trump urges plans to prevent others from taking advantage of American resources.
Republicans gathered together in the RNC and held a magnificent meeting, but the DNC was held without any gathering in compliance with the coronavirus protocols. According to reports, the DNC drew more viewers than the RNC. The organizers of the RNC have been accused of non-compliance with the social distancing and health restrictions and intentional refusal to wear masks. The two parties accuse each other of using “illicit drugs” and “telling lies”. Trump was accused of incompetence and Biden was criticized for lack of necessary physical condition to become president. Trump accused Biden of reducing security in the administration led by Democrats, saying America would become stronger and more glorious than before if he wins the election. In turn, Biden accused Trump of racial prejudice, discrimination and creating a bipolar society in the US, saying he would unite Americans if he is elected president. Trump disgraced the Republicans from inside, moved in the opposite direction of the US ruling system, and did not even agree with the platform of the Republican Party about supporting free markets, multilateralism, and cooperation with the allies. Conversely, Biden received full support from Democrats and pledged to revive the political American traditions at home and in the foreign policy. Biden was accused of supporting China, while Trump was implicitly accused of ignoring Russia’s misconduct. Trump proudly boasted about formation of the US Space Force, while Biden pointed to Obama's healthcare plan covering millions of Americans, which was ended by Trump, and pledged to revive the plan. Time will show which candidate will win the presidential election. In the meantime, the political debates between the two candidates would affect the election results.
(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)