Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Two Parties, Two Conventions, Two Ways of Governing

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Two Parties, Two Conventions, Two Ways of Governing

Article excerpt

I've had time now to consider lessons I learned after attending the backto-back Republican and Democratic conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia this summer. The differences were clear how the republicans and the democrats organized their agendas and their conventions. Is that a clue how they might govern if elected?

Each convention offered immediate enduring impressions.

In Republican Cleveland, the biggest impression was the overwhelming presence of thousands of multi-generational law enforcement officers from city and county police agencies across the country. They were armed but friendly. Demonstrations were peaceful. Many pedestrians with delegate credentials around their necks, took seffies with smiling protesters and cops. The GOP message: public safety and law and order.

"Small government" operations also was a lesson in Cleveland. There were no official RNC [Republican National Committee] activities until the late afternoon. Credentialed conventionees could easily attend thinktank and media events in town and then access the convention arena by foot, taxi or streams of official busses. After detailed security clearance by black uniformed Secret Service agents, once inside the "Q" convention arena there was little evidence of controls by the RNC or Trump staffs.

Anyone could visit "Radio Row" and perhaps be interviewed by the some 100 radio talk show hosts ensconced there 18 hours a day after gavel-in at 4 p.m.; the convention program seemed often to be spontaneously organized with sudden appearances of barely announced guests, largely unknown to the national media.

The loud floor protests by the "Never Trump" delegates of course flummoxed Trump delegates. But when asked, a Virginia delegate told me "this is what democracy looks like."

Outside and inside the convention hall, my overall impression was minimal party control and lots of law enforcement presence. Is this how the Trump administration would govern?

It was quite the opposite at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. Uniformed police presence was relatively non-existent. But inside the convention arena, there were hundreds of eager friendly DNC volunteers from across the country. Unfortunately, few if any of them could give accurate information about the fairly horrendous convention logistics.

Getting to the convention at the Wells Fargo gigantic sports arena eight miles from downtown was difficult. Delegates and media could only enter its perimeter via official busses. The arena was surrounded by eight foot fencing a good mile away with only one secured access point for press and delegates. …

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