A postmortem of Joe Biden's convention performance

If one judges Joe Biden's convention speech by the standards of past convention speeches, whether Democrat or Republican, it was decidedly mediocre.  He had a lot of platitudes, he spouted lies, and he plagiarized.  In other words, it was what we've come to expect from Joe Biden during his 47 years in politics.

For Biden's supporters, though, which means those who hate Trump, it was a satisfying performance.  Unfortunately, Joe may not have enough of those supporters to make a difference come November.  This Democrat convention may have been the first time in American political history that a candidate's speech, rather than giving him the convention bounce, gave his opponent the convention bounce.

Regarding the content of Biden's speech, I wrote about my impressions here.  I also recommend Monica Showalter's piece about the con Biden was running.  Lastly, I recommend Charles Lipson's analysis of the conspicuous gaps on topics that Biden ought to have addressed.

The best spontaneous reaction from a leftist to Biden's speech came from Van Jones.  I have a soft spot for Jones.  While I despise his ideology, I like his honesty.  He praises Trump when he thinks the latter deserves praise, and, in the case of Biden's speech, he's the one who will blurt out what everyone else was thinking:

I saw similar sentiments on my Facebook page.  Democrats expressed pleased surprise that Biden didn't appear demented during the speech.  At least three people went farther, saying that even if Biden had been wheeled out drooling and completely incoherent, they would still vote for him because he's not Trump.

In sum, Biden didn't have to go far to satisfy the base.  Just by reading from the teleprompter without embarrassing lapses, he proved that he could probably survive the home stretch in this race.  That's all they needed.

It turns out, though, that satisfying a desperately anti-Trump base is not enough for the larger American population.  One of the truisms in American politics is that candidates get a "convention bounce."  There's even a  Wikipedia entry:

convention bounce or convention bump refers to an increase in support that U.S. presidential candidates in the Republican or Democratic party typically enjoy after the televised national convention of their party.

In the case of the Democrats in 2020, there was indeed a convention bounce.  The problem for them, though, is that the bounce didn't go in Biden's direction:

This wasn't supposed to happen.

During this week's Democratic National Convention, which was supposed to launch Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's ticket into the fall election with good feelings and high poll numbers, President Trump's approval rating surged.

The Rasmussen Reports daily average for Trump, which is spread over three days, hit 51% this week — and has stayed there.

Many things could account for this deviation from the norm.  The Democrats offered a dystopian vision of America even as, in the real world, Wuhan virus numbers are declining, the stock market is surging, and unemployment is shrinking.  The Democrats were offering Hunger Games, but Trump was rocking "Happy Days Are Here Again."  It's easy to imagine which vision would appeal to voters.

The Democrats also ignored something that is genuinely dystopian in 2020 America, and that is the BLM and Antifa mob violence in Democrat-run cities.  Wherever Democrats hold sway, there's looting, active warfare against government institutions, the threatening invasion of suburbs, and frightening guerrilla attacks against ordinary citizens — such as the man who was almost beaten to death after he stopped to help a white transgender person who had run afoul of the leftist rioters.

And of course, there are those Americans who don't think a candidate has proven himself viable if the best he can do is remain upright and not go into Grandpa Simpson mode.  Additionally, and maybe this is just my opinion, I think it was a mistake for Biden to make constant references to the "light."

Those references were clearly meant to sound uplifting.  However, because Biden is mentally failing and has the skeletal look of imminent mortality, all I could think of was, "Biden is going telling us he's going into the light."  That is not a good image for a presidential candidate.

Image: Collage: Berlin after WWII (public domain) and image from A Widburg's collection.

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