Column: Talk to the hand
September 14, 2012
Photostory: Getting to know Greenville
September 14, 2012

Dems waste opportunities at DNC

By this point in the presidential race, many of us are just ready for it to be over. But last week’s Democratic National Convention made even the most campaign-weary individuals pay attention to the election coverage.

What could have been an opportunity to unite the party by focusing on a strong economic vision for the next four years turned into an parade of speakers bashing the GOP and focusing on the most controversial issues.

According to a Gallup poll from August, 65 percent of Americans consider economic problems the most important national issue. Less than 1 percent said they were most concerned with abortion or gay rights. Still, the Democrats chose to harp on these topics in some of the most key DNC speeches.

Then, of course, there was the scandal over the omission of “God” and “Jerusalem” from the party’s platform and the frantic push to add them back. After calling for a vote three times because the delegates were so closely split on the matter, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that the original wording would be reinstated, but the announcement was met with booing from many of the delegates. This fiasco earned the Democrats the nickname “the party that booed God” from several in the media.

Overall, the convention, which was supposed to solidify Democratic support of the Obama campaign, actually made some Democrats question their party loyalty. First Lady Michelle Obama specifically appealed to blacks and Hispanics Wednesday. But as Fernando Cabrera, a pastor and politician from the Bronx, told, many such minority communities are religious and are against gay marriage and abortion. This fact, added to the almost-omission of God, could be detrimental to the Obama campaign.

Several of the convention speeches accused the Republican party of being unwilling to cross party lines to work with Democrats. But by putting such heavy emphasis on the most controversial wedge issues, the Democrats hardly seem ready to compromise either.

In order to recover from this oddly extremist convention, the Democrats must stop alienating undecided voters by slipping into radicalism and instead push issues that Americans care about most. Whatever their next move, they must make it fast: Election Day is only 53 days away.