Democrats' virtual convention was embarrassingly bad television
The political party that has a near-lock on donations and endorsements from the entertainment industry could not muster a tolerable video feed to take advantage of the two hours of free television coverage available to them last night. The series of pre-recorded video presentations offered as a substitute for an actual Democrat political convention was so tedious that even one of the runners-up in the Democrats' contest panned it in a tweet.
I wanted to like it. I really did, I promise I did.— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) August 18, 2020
Plenty of others on the left, such as N.Y. Timesman Charles Blow, shared her disappointment:
This is a good effort by the DNC, but you can already tell that a virtual convention is going to be tough.— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) August 18, 2020
This feels more like a sad telethon than a rousing call to arms. I get the limitations of the format, but man this is slow so far. Only @RepGwenMoore added 60 seconds of much-needed energy. #DemConvention— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) August 18, 2020
Kaylee McGhee, writing in the Examiner, shared my bemusement at the gigantic fumble:
The convention began with the National Anthem, sung virtually by singers whose faces twirled and rotated across the screen in such a way that I almost wonder whether a middle schooler who just discovered Microsoft Powerpoint was put in charge of the layout. Then, it became obvious that most of the interviews were prerecorded, which makes the entire convention feel more like a telethon than a significant political event.
If the Democratic Party was aiming for a conversational tone, this is not it. The monologues sound rehearsed and forced, and the sudden concert breaks are distracting. Surely, someone, somewhere, among the Democratic Party's many Hollywood connections could have helped them avoid this.
To be fair, there's only so much you can do virtually. It would have been impossible to recreate the energy that accompanies an in-person political event. But the Democratic Party could have at least tried not to squash what little excitement remained. Truly, anything would have been better than this.
Twitter users were far less polite, including many Democrats who were disappointed, even outraged at the incompetence. There are collections of amusing-to-scathing tweets at The Daily Wire, Breitbart, and of course Twitchy (multiple pages). A sample:
Someone please talk me off the ledge. I want to win, and the first 22 minutes of this DNC...I'm scared. Can someone tell me how great this is or something?— David Pakman (@dpakman) August 18, 2020
The DNC so far feels like one long ad on YouTube you’d usually skip— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) August 18, 2020
The cheesy videos that used to be the space fillers in the convention have become the convention.— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) August 18, 2020
I don't think the broadcast networks were prepared for convention programming that didn't have ten-minute breaks between each appearance. They're all doing analysis nobody wants. pic.twitter.com/ybmZfST1E4— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 18, 2020
this Democratic convention is like a more depressing version of the Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon, and that involved kids with muscular dystrophy.— tsar becket adams (@BecketAdams) August 18, 2020
The always delightful Mollie Hemingway was appalled:
I don't think I can do this.— Mollie (@MZHemingway) August 18, 2020
Idea: Both parties should stream an MST3K version of the other party's convention. Ratings gold. I would totally love to see Trump and Melania watching this and hearing their comments.— Mollie (@MZHemingway) August 18, 2020
One thing that's fun about watching the DNC is how their messaging is identical to corporate media messaging. What are the odds?— Mollie (@MZHemingway) August 18, 2020
As the snoozefest droned on, Mollie got a little desperate:
I will pay cash money for someone at the DNC -- ANYONE -- to do something exciting over the next two hours. I did not get much sleep last night and I'm going to need someone to spice things up. These pre-recorded, perfectly composed vignettes are not doing it for me.— Mollie (@MZHemingway) August 18, 2020
Mollie also sees that Trump, the most successful reality television producer in the history of the medium, already has shown that he and his team better understand what makes for interesting TV: spontaneity and genuineness.
One of the things that made 2016 Trump rallies so fascinating was that the campaign didn't pick who sat behind him the way campaigns normally do it -- to get attractive women and the right balance of skin color, signage, etc. Instead, you'd get this "here comes everybody" feel— Mollie (@MZHemingway) August 18, 2020
and it was oddly fascinating to watch people just looking at their phones, or possibly having had a bit to drink before showing up at the rally, or calling their friends to tell them to look at them on the TV, etc. This ethos continued at the WH in picture composition— Mollie (@MZHemingway) August 18, 2020
More Mollie here.
Trump-hating Republican John Kasich came in for a ton of mockery for his segment that made the point that America is at a crossroads by standing at...wait for it...an actual crossroads. I wonder what genius came up with that concept! (Plenty of mockery here.)
Twitter screen grab
There's the postman's son, all by himself, alone out in the country addressing a party whose base is the cities, with nobody following his lead. But the thing that struck me as really odd is the specific choice of the crossroads, with the branch going off to the left seriously bent, while the main road, that continues slightly to the right, is perfectly straight. That's a message all by itself that works on the brain entirely apart from the words chosen by the ex-governor and Fox News host. It perfectly sums up the aims of the Democrats to bend the nation and our institutions sharply to the left, with a growing list of radical changes, from forced low-income housing in the suburbs to blackout-prone "green" energy and defunded or abolished police forces, for example.
Republicans have the opportunity to watch and learn from the Democrats' failures. But as Mollie H pointed out, with Trump in charge, they already have someone who understands the medium better than the Hollywood pros, in exactly the same way he understands politics better than the swampy pros and diplomacy better than the globalist pros who have been deindustrializing America and building up China for decades.