A panel of political experts spoke about the highlights of the Democratic National Convention and the challenges facing the Democratic Party for the 2020 election over video conference Friday.
The Graduate School of Political Management hosted the first of four panels in their 2020 election series “Taking Back the White House: The Democrats’ Path to the Presidency.” The panelists consisted of GSPM board members and alumni, who all belong to the Democratic Party, sharing their thoughts on the Democrats’ electoral chances going into the November general election.
Lara Brown, the director of GPSM and host of the panel, asked panelists to grade the Democratic convention, share their thoughts on what else the party needs to do to win over voters and how the Republican Party will respond with the Republican National Convention next week.
Bill Press – a GSPM board member and host of the Bill Press Pod, a podcast covering national political issues – said that he was impressed by the quality of the DNC. He said that having the entire convention virtually this year allowed the party to reach more people than those on the far left, who he said would typically be mostly the ones to attend the convention.
“Introducing Joe Biden to the American people as the nominee of the party and as the potential and hopefully future president of the country was so well done,” Press said. “I saw it as the central message being — ‘Joe Biden is a good man, he has character, he is someone you can trust.’”
Press said Republicans previously slandered Biden for “not being able to put a sentence together,” which he said Biden proved wrong in his acceptance speech Thursday night. Press said that Republicans also previously jarred Biden for being “so far left,” which he said was proven wrong when Republican leaders like former Ohio Gov. John Kasich spoke at the convention.
“I heard today from one of the networks, they [Republicans] don’t know what they are doing next week yet,” Press said. “Now they are scrambling to figure out what they are going to do Monday and this is Friday.”
Anthony Coley – a founding partner of Corner Office Strategies, a public affairs firm that counsels organizations and campaigns, and a GSPM alumnus – said he was impressed with the presentation of diversity and inclusion at the DNC. He said that showing people of a variety of backgrounds, including more women and Republican leaders, enabled Biden to connect with all people instead of just specific groups.
“What we have learned is that the most important way to connect with people is to tell stories and to bring people’s experiences alive, and they did that every single day,” Coley said.
Coley said one aspect he fears nearing November is the “political mastermind” of President Donald Trump. He said he fears Trump’s capability to connect with voters across the country but hopes that the Democrats will be able to sway undecided voters to their side.
“My hope is that coming out of this convention that independent people in suburban America will understand that there is an alternative to all this chaos and they feel comfortable with a Biden-Harris ticket,” Coley said.
Carly Cooperman – a GSPM board member and CEO of Schoen Cooperman Research, a strategic research consulting firm – said she has been focusing on polling numbers from surveys that her firm has conducted. She said the key to Democrats taking back the White House will be coming out with distinct messages on how to solve issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and a suffering economy.
“I think if the Democratic Party can come out with a forward-looking and optimistic message that speaks directly to handling this virus, getting the economy back on track, and addressing health care, that will move voters the most,” she said.