I guess there’s no turning back now. The Republicans and Democrats finished up their National Conventions, and you could hear the nation take a deep breath in order to take a moment and prepare for the shit show that’s going to unfold itself over the next three months for the world to see.
I didn’t really watch much of the conventions. I saw a piece of Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence’s speech. The brief section I saw, he spoke about how he was raised on a mantra of hard work or yadda yadda. I saw a bit of President Obama’s speech after the fact on YouTube. When he was introduced I was like, “Oh yeah! I forgot this guy was president.” As an aside, it has to be weird for the person who’s leaving office when all anyone can talk about (a year and a half before he calls it quits, usually) is who’s going to replace you. I’d be all, “But I’m the leader of the free world!” but no one really cares. It must be even weirder after the successor has been chosen, and everyone gives even less of a fuck about you. At least you still get to live in the White House, which must be really cool, drinking Scotch with Lincoln’s ghost and whatnot.
Anyway, I don’t remember what Obama said, other than “Don’t boo, vote,” because that sort of became a meme, but I know he did say stuff about hard work, too. I’m pretty sure everyone did. Americans work hard, or at least we like to think we do, even if we’re just trying to think up stuff to fill this column space every other week. So it’s a good strategy to appeal to all the hard workers out there, especially those in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, whose votes are the only ones that really count.
I try not to watch the National Conventions, because one side’s tends to just makes me mad, and the other one just seems like a waste of time, drawing me away from, say, binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix with its superfluous cheerleading. Like, I really don’t need four days of speeches to be convinced that Donald Trump is a racist, thin-skinned fuckwit, because he’s made that abundantly clear already.
But a lot of people did watch the conventions. Tens of millions of people, in fact. Maybe they don’t have Netflix?
I get it, though. In years past, the conventions haven’t had this much heat surrounding them. There were Bernie Sanders supporters threatening to throw all kinds of hissyfits and so much fire and brimstone spewing forth from the Republicans that a Roland Emmerich film could have broken out at any moment.
But who got the most ratings? That’s all that really matters, right? They’re spectacles, of course, full of pomp and empty promises and a metric shit-ton of balloons. After the DNC, Trump claimed an early victory while speaking to supporters in Colorado.
“We beat her by millions,” he told the crowd the Friday after the DNC.
He was right, too, sort of. According to an article in the New York Times (if you can trust that liberal rag), Trump’s speech received a higher Nielsen rating than Hillary Clinton’s—32.2 million were said to have watched Trump’s speech as opposed to Clinton’s 29.8 million viewers. This isn’t really much of a surprise. I suspect a lot of people tuned into Trump’s speech to see just what moronic, divisive thing would come out of his mouth next. He’s also kind of funny sometimes, which I really hate to admit. Hillary is a lot more predictable. She’s definitely not going to fly off the handle and go rogue.
Clinton’s speech was the one I actually watched live the whole way through, and it was kind of cool to watch a woman accept a major party’s nomination for president for the first time. I have to admit, I never thought it would happen in my lifetime. As much as we’d like to think of ourselves as world leaders, and in many ways Americans are, there are some areas where we seem to be lagging behind the rest of the world. It’s difficult to get super excited about Hillary Clinton, though, maybe because she’s such an institution. I’d imagine Republicans probably feel the same about someone like Newt Gingrich. Sure, he’s clearly a successful politician. He’s been around forever fighting the good fight for, uh, whatever he thinks the good fight is. But he’s … Newt, you know?
I thought Hillary’s speech was pretty good. I liked the themes of togetherness and whatnot, which I guess at this stage is more important than actually outlining how you’re going to do all the stuff you say you’re going to do if you make it into office. But I felt like it would have been much better if she just said what everyone was thinking, like, “Hey, if I was anyone else, would I have to convince you to vote for me over the guy from The Apprentice?”