Democratic National Convention to Stress Unity in Philadelphia

By Steven Klett, Epoch Times
July 20, 2016 Updated: July 21, 2016

What’s in a name? A lot, when it comes to political conventions. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have carefully chosen the themes for their conventions, highlighting the priorities as well as the challenges each faces.

For the Republican National Convention that took place in Cleveland, Monday was “Make America Safe Again,” Tuesday was “Make America Work Again,” Wednesday was “Make America First Again,” and Thursday was “Make America One Again.”

The focus of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia zeroes in on a weakness of the Republican party that the Democrats seek to exploit: unity. 

Day 1: United Together

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to Bernie Sanders at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., on July 12. ( JUSTIN SAGLIO/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to Bernie Sanders at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., on July 12, 2016. (JUSTIN SAGLIO/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, the convention in Philadelphia will kick off with the theme “United Together,” featuring speakers Sen. Bernie Sanders, first lady Michelle Obama, and DREAMer Astrid Silva.

One of the testaments to the “Unity” label—for Hillary Clinton—is having Sanders on her side for the convention.

Sanders and Clinton fought a long and bitter Democratic primary campaign, and the senator from Vermont held off from endorsing Clinton until earlier this month, long after being mathematically knocked out of the race months before. 

Clinton looks to move past what residual animosity and differences remain between the surprisingly strong challenger and herself to unite the party under a common party banner and philosophy going into the convention.

First lady Obama has been doing speaking engagements aligning herself with the Clinton campaign and attacking Trump. She inadvertently got pulled into a scandal involving Melania Trump, who was accused of lifting parts of Obama’s speech from the DNC in 2008.

Silva may be a lesser known name at the top of the billing, but she’s a big name in the advocacy for undocumented immigration. After handing a note to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the two became pen pals and eventually friends.

Undocumented immigration has been a heated topic since Trump proposed a temporary ban of all Muslims entering the country, and building a wall between the United States and Mexico. 

Day 2: A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families 

On Tuesday, the theme of the day is “A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families,” and former president Bill Clinton and members of the Mothers of the Movement will speak. 

Hillary’s husband, Bill, has been one of her most ardent supporters and surrogates, sent out to speak on her behalf to crowds across the country. Hillary has signaled that he will be taking an active role in the administration, being in charge of the economy. 

The Mothers of the Movement is a group of mothers who have been affected by controversial shootings, including the mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown, among others.

The day is designed to appeal to supporters of the former president, and to the African-American community, which made up a large contingency of Hillary’s base support during the primaries. 

In the 2012 election, President Barack Obama won 93 percent of the black vote, which makes up about 13 percent of the population.

A recent Washington Post-ABC poll released July 17 shows that Hillary Clinton has a 76 percent approval rating with black voters—higher than her 68 percent support from Hispanic voters and 30 percent of white voters.

Overall, she has 42 percent favorability according to the poll. 

Day 3: Working Together

On Wednesday, the theme of the day is “Working Together,” and President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are both slated to speak at the convention. 

Both have showed public support and endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee, and both went on the campaign trail with Clinton toward the end of the primary campaign. 

Obama has been campaigning from the White House, presenting himself as the levelheaded contrast to Trump’s brashness. He’s a relatively popular president, with an approval rating around 50 percent since February according to Gallup, and Clinton has not been afraid to tie herself to most of his policies.

Biden has been charged with rallying the Rust Belt in states like West Virginia, Ohio, and Missouri, where Trump has strong support from the coal mining and automobile industries. 

Day 4: Stronger Together

On the fourth and final day, Hillary Clinton takes the Democratic nomination for the 2016 election. Her daughter, Chelsea, will also speak that night. 

This will be a test of unity for the presumptive nominee. Clinton has had a steady stream of criticism during the Democratic primary, and has been attacked from both the left, more progressive part of the party and from Republicans.

Both sides have attacked her on questions of credibility, trust, and judgement, and the convention is where she can address the criticisms against her while showing herself as the leader of the party. 

The biggest test is to be more than just an opponent to a Trump administration. Looking at the people slated to speak at the convention, the plan is to appear inclusive and to downplay divisions.