Hello and welcome to this late night reaction edition of the 538 Politics podcast, I'm Galen Drink. It is Monday night and the first evening of the Democratic National Convention just wrapped up. Michelle Obama gave a forceful speech against President Trump as the keynote speaker. Other speakers included Bernie Sanders, Andrew Cuomo, Jim Clyburn, Amy Klobuchar. The list goes on. The theme for the evening was unity. And they also touched on three different crises facing the nation, covid the economy and racial inequality.
And, of course, it was also done, virtually all of it. So that was a convention first, which we can also discuss how that went. But here with me for this late night reaction podcast, our editor in chief, Nate Silver. Hey, Nate. Hey, everybody. Also with us is senior politics writer Claire Malone.
Hechler Ian. And senior politics writer Perry Bacon, Jr.. Hey, Perry. Hi, Galen. And we're also virtual, we should say. We are we have been virtual for five months now. So I guess I know you want to say that I feel like some of the pain, just like the rest of you.
OK, let's get right to, I guess, the most significant speech of the evening, which was probably the most widely watched and probably will be the most replayed tomorrow.
And that's former first lady Michelle Obama's speech. I guess initial reaction, just what did we make of it? It didn't seem entirely like a normal sight line and then wait for an applause kind of convention speech.
What was she trying to accomplish? I mean, there's a couple of things in her speech which is interesting, which is she's a good talker. She has the kind of thing that a like a good talk radio host does, which is they can compellingly talk into nothingness and make you feel the pauses in emotion. I mean, Michelle Obama has always been a good speaker and a good how I would call a public emoter. She even though she is now very famous and very wealthy, she has always been able even now, to project this kind of every woman thing.
You know, the smart now an insider, every woman where she said, I hate politics, but listen, this is the deal. You might not think Biden's the perfect candidate, but you got to vote for him. I've seen the job up, up close. Trump is not at all prepared to it for it. And she kind of speaks on those different levels of intellectual and emotional in a way that I think is particularly well suited for this time.
And she kind of she can convey with her face, with her words, with her tonalities, things that I think of a lot of those elected officials cannot do. You know, I was thinking particularly like, you know, James Clyburn had this kind of when he first came on, unfortunately, he had a little bit of like a live TV glitch and he was a little wooden. Now, this is a guy who's kind of he's one on one and he's a very powerful politician.
But doesn't mean you're a great speaker with with Michelle Obama. I think her personality, really the medium that she was, she was given tonight. Perry, you made a comment during the live blog that was something along the lines of Michelle Obama would like to amend some of the comments about going high instead of low that the Obamas were famous for since about 2004. I mean, what were you referring to? Was there something particularly that she said that you thought, oh, you know, they're kind of getting in the mud a little more?
Remember Obama's speech and the reason why we're talking about them so many years later is the famous 04 speech where he talked about there's no such thing as a white America or a black America or a blue states and red states. And Michelle tonight definitely made some reference to references to the division in the country. And she mentioned being a black woman and the challenges of that in our country. So I think that was I think that you listen to the Obama speeches, you know, sort of after Trump won, they seemed to acknowledge their vision of the world for which there was very little division the rest of the country was going down.
I feel like this speech tonight sort of acknowledged, well, where I hope we were in 2008 is not where we are. I'm giving a more realistic speech about where we are now. And the second part of her speech at 16, she referred to the idea that when they go low, we go high. And three or four times tonight, she seemed to imply, well, I want to go high, but I need to be honest and forthright in criticizing Trump and in her speech and I was full of criticisms of Trump, she basically implied he was very childlike a few times in her speech, which we can debate how that if that's accurate or not.
But it certainly is not the highest form of criticism.
So I think tonight was a more political, more partisan, more blunt speech from her. And I think President Obama will probably sound similar on Wednesday. It's not surprising that since Trump won and Trump, let's not pretend here Trump has attacked them very bluntly and directly and in a racist way at times. I'm not surprised they're being more honest, but it was a different kind of speech from her.
We've heard in the past I'm reminded of. A famous to me anyway tweet that I sent right when I was in Spain, it was in your cell site within a debate about someone who thought our model was too optimistic about Trump four years ago.
And my line was, when you go low, I go high 80 percent of the time and I need you in the balls the other 20 percent of the time.
Right. I feel like it's like the 20 percent of the time where, like, I was she's calling out to what she said four years ago.
But it was a very, very direct challenge to Trump, right where she was going to be direct with you. This man is like not fit to serve to the point where I almost wonder if there was some. Deliberate attempt to antagonize Trump, because I think Trump going after Michelle Obama would give more coverage to that very effective speech and there's something Trump might find hard to resist. I know it's a little bit of a cliche. You're talking about looking at someone's living room, but there is like an intimacy there that I think worked and that, you know, she kind of says, hey, I have intimate knowledge of what it's like to be president or to be in the room, you know, the spouse of the president at least.
And like, it's a hard job and very few other people can share that knowledge. Right. I thought that was effective.
You know, I mean, the personal testimonials in general, the woman whose father had contracted covid and had been a Trump supporter. Right. That was, I think, actually didn't make the network primetime hour, but was very effective. The family of George Floyd was very effective. Right. Those are three things. And Bernie, we could talk about Bernie, too. Right. But those are the three things that were all very emotional highlights and all involved, a lot of, frankly, intimacy and a lot of people speaking very directly to other people and not trying to go for highfalutin political rhetoric.
Can I just before we you move us off of Michelle Obama? The one thing I thought just beyond sort of the the tone in the setting, she did have a very sort of the core content point of her speech seemed to be the margins were small in 2016. You need to go out and vote. Right. You can't just be angry. And and you saw that in her presentation sartorially. She was wearing this very delicate, though, necklace. By the way, Michelle Obama's post White House sartorial thing is also this whole interesting soft cultural power thing that she's doing.
She had this really like, well covered book tour, a very well covered book, particularly with women.
She now has this podcast, which, oh, is appearing on Spotify in an election year. You know, she she is while she professes to hate politics, she is she has a lot of political power because of the sort of like soft power that she's built up in America. But she was sort of speaking specifically to people who didn't vote in 2016, that non-voter category, those slim margins in, let's say, you know, swing states in the upper Midwest.
You know Detroit. Right. You know, people talked a lot in the in the months after the election about, well, if these certain number of people had turned out in the Detroit area, would Clinton have won Michigan? All that stuff aside, Michelle Obama seemed to have a very pointed content message, which I do think is is notable, not just the sort of tone of her speech, but who she specifically was speaking to.
She didn't say black people don't vote for Kanye. She didn't use any of those words.
But that was she did give a she did give it to people in Kanye. Yes. And she gave very specific instructions for how people should vote option one, vote early in person, option to request your mail ballot really damn early and get an early write in option three is any other where you can. I mean, that actually seemed like a maybe subtle change from when Democrats seemed like, hey, you know, the mail ballot just goes everything else, right?
We're happy if you vote mail absentee. So maybe it's acknowledging some actual fear of the Postal Service could do.
I mean, even by the way, even if there is none of that fear and we can debate later on, we're going to talk about today.
We'll talk about some point, I'm sure, this week about like how big a concern is that postal ballots are rejected and a slightly higher rate.
So even where there is complete good faith efforts by everybody, you still have a slightly higher rejection rate from postal ballots. So you either have to really make sure people know exactly what they're doing or you have to say, OK, if push comes to shove, you're better off voting in person.
Now, if there's a downside risk that like the whole mail system is screwed up, it's something different. But yeah, but that seemed like an important shift.
Yeah. I mean, there was somewhat of an emphasis this evening from both Eva Longoria, the host, and Amy Klobuchar to talk about the US Postal Service as an issue both in the election and kind of facing seniors who need their meds, facing small businesses that use the USPS to mail things. And that seemed like it was somewhat recently added to the lineup, given all of the concern expressed by Democrats about that over the past week or so. What are the specific concerns here?
Because, you know, that was a part of the evening and we've gotten a lot of questions about it from our listeners over the past week or so. Although the USPS wasn't a speaker at the convention, it made somewhat of an appearance. So how much of a risk does that actually pose to male voting at this point?
What it is, it's a plausible through line by which Trump could try to steal the election if you a, create a big partisan divide and who votes by mail and B, through negligence or intentional.
It's right or whatever else, right? Make some percentage of those ballots never be received by the voter and never be returned by the voter on time. That's a fairly coherent plan by which you could steal a close election.
You might not be able to steal a blowout election. Right. Or even a medium sized win. Right. But if you can prevent, you know, five percent of mail ballots from being counted that otherwise would have been counted and that can begin to shift things.
So, you know, at the same time, I mean, I think like there is a little bit of. Paranoia in the sense of like people will say, oh, my gosh, this mailbox was closed on Sunday, right. Or blah, blah, right. And like, it's not clear how much of that is actually abnormal.
I mean, it's one of those things were like, first of all, I don't think it's I don't think it's entirely firmly established that he is doing things as opposed to that.
He would like to do things, would have no problem with those things being done. It's a bit different than if there are actually intentional actions to slow the mail down. Right. So we need more reporting on the story. But I do think people are you know, when you get in kind of a a panic, then abnormal things can start to seem more normal. Abnormal definition of a panic. However, some panics are are justified. You know, I mean, I think in general, barriers to voting are things that people should be paranoid about and maybe the country could could be more paranoid about.
Right. Part of the story is that Trump specifically told Fox Business News that he didn't want to fund the Postal Service because it would help people vote by mail. So expressly said that. And then separately, he has a new postmaster general that is making changes to the postal service because it's essentially insolvent. And so those two things are happening at once. Are they connected? I guess that's the question that should be reported out. But, you know, like, I can't make any assumptions here.
Should be reporting now.
I've been on vacation for a while, so I haven't been super tuned in to things. But is this is the suspicious mailbox thing a thing you just dreamed up, or is this a thing people are worried about?
Oh, no, Claire, you've been yeah. Now there's lots of Twitter accounts of like, oh, I don't know how to I want to, you know, a B list actors or something. Right. Being like this mailbox is like a red clamp over it saying don't deposit this mailbox. And I went to my post office now and there's not a mailbox here. And there used to be. Right. And I saw like a mail sorting machine in the trash.
I'm like, yeah, I just, you know, it's like I just want to make sure that felt like a thing that I probably missed on Twitter and not in the news.
It's not clear how much of this is is abnormal or not. I mean, the funny thing is it's like none of you will know or care about this, right? There is a famous cheating scandal in Walker, this guy.
I'm going to give you the story name Mike Postel, televised post like he actually had a popular past.
I'm not sure he actually was wearing a cap and had like an earpiece where someone was, like, telling him allegedly was allegedly telling him all the cards that his opponents had. So basically, you can play perfectly.
The problem is, like if you were smart about that, then you would just occasionally get that info every now and then in a really important pot and then make some intentional decisions that any player would make if they didn't know what your hand was.
But instead he would play perfectly. He would play like ten standard deviations more. He's a bad player, right? Allegedly, than any other player would make. Right. And so it's like with Trump, it's like, you know, you're not supposed to tell people that you're trying to cheat. You're supposed to be subtle about it and kind of disguise it in some budget cuts and be a little negligent. And, you know, you're not going to be able to steal an election that by and we win by eight points, but maybe you can steal one that is going to win by a point and a half.
I'm glad we tied I'm glad we tied the poker thing in there.
And back to the political data pie. No conversation. It's something like. Ninety one percent of both Democrats and Republicans have favorable views of the US Postal Service. It's the best viewed, I think, government agency in the country. And so just from the perspective of wanting to appeal to your voters, it's probably not the best thing to attack. And that's part of why the Democrats spent part of their evening supporting it. I also mention that Democrats got their most popular figure out of the way up front.
Michelle Obama has a 60 percent approval rating amongst all Americans. So like almost universal amongst Democrats, 60 percent amongst all Americans. They also had Bernie Sanders up this evening, who is the third most popular politician that the Democrats have that's also behind Barack Obama. And this is according to Morning Cotswold. So the content for the evening was unity. Perry, did Bernie Sanders achieve unity in his speech this evening?
You know, I think they did. I'll be honest. I did not read the plan for the DNC very carefully. So they said unity so much that I think I said without knowing that was the theme, that that was the that was the that.
Because I think they repeated it. Every speaker basically said me about unity. And by bringing the country together, I thought it was interesting because Kasich gave a speech in which he basically said, Joe Biden is my candidate, and he gave a very enthusiastic endorsement to Joe Biden. And then Bernie Sanders is able to enthusiastically, forcefully endorse Biden as well. So I thought the contrast work, you know, this is a pretty broad ideological range.
You can capture both Bernie Sanders, the. A very liberal Democrat and Casey was a pretty conservative Republican, so I think the night did show that and both of them talked in terms of I think Haziq even said Joe Biden won't go too far left.
And then Bernie said a lot of ideas. I ran on Joe Biden, his embrace.
I think that kind of work to show the ideological range of the party and the unity potentially under Joe Biden.
Yeah, it was a very Goldilocks vibe. It was like he's not too liberal. He's not too conservative. He's just right. You know, that sort of I mean, I was on a I was on a run this afternoon and I saw a yard sign that said something like any capable adult, 20, 20, which I think sort of seemed to be the vibe from, let's say, the Kazik endorsing the endorsement, the Republican endorsement types. And Sanders.
I will say, Nate, I think you use the phrase it was it was not quite the the arranged marriage situation that, like the 2016 kind of awkward endorsement of Hillary Clinton was this one felt more maybe because it was distant and not in a convention hall where people were, you know, booing Hillary Clinton while he spoke.
But, you know, Sanders kind of gave this, you know, very I mean, in the same in the same vein of Michelle Obama, it's like it's got to be this guy. And it was you know, I was watching the PBS broadcast and they showed I think he dropped out April 8th. And I had this moment of, oh, yeah, it was he was he stayed in through April. And it's so it feels so long ago because he has you know, he's he's flown under the radar on some level because everyone is in politics, because politics is not as important as the pandemic.
But it was it was striking to see him be so simpatico with everyone else's message. It wasn't like Sanders was giving his kind of like stump speech. But for the convention, it was very much just like it's got to be Biden. We'll talk about the big, you know, structural change stuff. At a later date.
It seemed more wholehearted, whether it's about he has a more collegial relationship with Biden or he thinks the moment is more important.
Or he's not playing or running in four years, or he frankly doesn't have that much leverage really. Right, like Biden beat. Sanders, in the end, by a much more emphatic margin than Clinton, beat him right at some point voters just decided, OK, we're going with Biden and then he won like I mean, he wound up winning think 40 states or something. Biden, including states that would not be strong states for him intrinsically.
Every county in Michigan, if I remember correctly.
Yeah, so but it did seem pretty sincere with all the wood and whatnot. Right. You know, it is August, you know, it is August. It's not particularly getting cold out.
Stacked up the wood for the winter might get cold and I would wind up smelling. Well, he's prepared.
There's you can do that. You can do that in September. It's not even late August yet. Anyway, I do want to talk a little bit more about you mentioned the wood, how a virtual convention actually worked. But first, today's podcast is brought to you by light stream. If you want to save money this summer, why not start by paying less interest on your credit card balances? You can refinance with a credit card consolidation loan from light stream.
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You know, sometimes we in the media get criticized for talking about politics as if it's theater, but the reality is that these next three nights and this night included is really theater. I mean, it's more or less propaganda put on by, you know, the Democratic Party next week. It's the Republican Party in order to get people to vote or view them favorably or whatever. So from the perspective of this kind of being theater and it being a pretty weird convention, because no one's in Milwaukee for the most part, some people are in their living rooms.
Some people are, I guess, get in. The Democratic candidate for Senate in Maine was like on a beach somewhere during golden hour.
Like, how did this all work from the perspective of of a show?
Well, I didn't even see Gideon speak because the broadcast that I was watching, PBS chose to cut out, I guess, certain speakers or certain segments with, like normal voters that they felt weren't weren't compelling or interesting or important enough. And they would cut to their kind of like roundtable talking heads, which I have to say I love PBS, but irritated me because it kind of gave this crappy feel. I wasn't quite certain that the sentiment you know, they they analyzed the children singing at the beginning of the you know, they talked about the children singing the national anthem.
And I was like, well, I don't I don't really need to hear, you know, the syndicated columnist talking about this. I want to hear what I want to see. I'm curious to see what this package program is. Actually, they were out of tune. Yeah, I would have preferred adult choir for this actually would be more sonorous for the television audience anyway.
It was just so it was just weird. And I understand that, like, networks are kind of like, well, we don't want to do we don't want to completely give it over to like pablum and like the same Bruce Springsteen like lyrics of The Rising over and over again. I mean, you know, good song, but like Jesus, he is more like I get that instinct to want to break it up. But I found it kind of like I found it a weird viewing experience, to be perfectly honest.
So I loved this and I thought it was much better than when I have to go to the convention person.
And that's true. I mean, the main reason was because that first hour when they had regular people talking, I understand it was like staged in theater, but that woman talking about how her dad voted for Trump and then and then they had a stay at home order and then to get lifted and he went to a bar of some kind and then you get covid. Then he died.
That that that was a very powerful moment and even different if we were all on stage or in a hall where she's speaking in front of thirty thousand people, my guess is she's not a trained speaker to speak in front of thirty thousand people. And that would have been sort of like you just lost some of that moment from there. I think the sort of everyday speakers were able to be more articulate and clearer because they weren't speaking in a gigantic hall. And that first hour where we had a lot of regular voices come up, I thought that was interesting.
I thought that was more I learn a little more once we get to the Cliburn, Amy Klobuchar, Doug Jones part, I found myself sort of not listening that carefully.
Like Michelle Obama is a great speaker. Bernie Sanders is a compelling figure. But there was from nine to about nine. Forty were there were various senators saying various boring things that was hard to follow.
So I thought overall tonight was interesting, in part because the sort of regular voices came through better than they would have if we were if we were in Milwaukee ourselves.
So I thought this is actually a I'm looking forward to the rest of the week more than I thought I was, in part because I think the sort of non elite speakers can sort of communicate better in this format.
But those some of those speakers were cut out of certain broadcast. But I do agree with you, Perry, like I, the woman whose father died of covid George Floyds family, those were more intimate moments on television. You couldn't look away like I think I said this on my blog, both conventions in twenty sixteen. I remember there being families of people whose family members had died in some sort of horrific way that was attached to some political issue that was being talked about.
And there would be floor delegates milling around, talking through these people's speeches. And it's just a terrible thing to watch. And on television, you can't look away from these people. And I thought it was powerful. And I kind of I was just interested to see more of that and irritated at the programming choice for the for them to cut away and only to cut in when senators were speaking, because, as we all know, they rarely say anything particularly interesting or off off script or emotionally compelling.
I think, although that's a jaded response, but I think it's earned I'm not sure it had quite as positive a view.
I mean, I think Democrats did pretty well under the circumstance.
You know, I'm someone in general who thinks that, like, virtual things are a poor substitute for in-person. Your answers, but look, I definitely read it like putting people in a context. Other than being on stage. Can work well at times, right? It may be less well for certain other politicians, right? I think it might not be super easy for for Biden and for Trump in particular. And there is something about the kind I mean, look, part of what happens, like almost no other event in politics is true for everything that we cover as reporters.
If you are used to going to the conventions, then there's this kind of illusion of newsworthiness illusion that like you are in the middle of history and spontaneity. And, you know, we've never seen a contested convention in our lifetimes. The closest that came I mean, 2016, you have this Bernie versus Clinton delegate drama. And you had Ted Cruz kind of actually have a dramatic moment versus Trump. So, you know, there are little hints of that.
But for the most part, it's it's pretty staged. But the kind of notion of like.
Things are you know what? Everything is live, right, or some things are taped, but, you know, but you know what's lived and what's tape, which you didn't really tonight. And they were kind of cagey about providing guidance on it.
There's no kind of sense of, like, spontaneous news making ability. But again, that's a very particular way to to view the connections. Right. Because, you know, you're like you're here and like you're the convention. Like it takes an hour to get through security.
And there's Wolf Blitzer. Right. And blah, blah, blah. Right.
You have a TV hit you have to do, right. And you you know, you trade a stage pass around. It's all it's like actually the least enjoyable. The major political things that we do. It's like way more fun to go to New Hampshire or something. But you still feel a lot of energy there that is lacking in like I'm getting a little meta here.
I do wonder if that will ultimately lead to less news coverage.
And so maybe we move on next week talking about covid again, which is probably more important, frankly. Right. So I wonder if it'll lead to like less convention bounces.
Yeah. So, Perry, something you mentioned during the live blog was basically noting that the first 40 minutes or so of this first night was dedicated to racial injustice and really putting normal people front and center in a way that you hadn't seen before from a convention. We always you know, because our con we always see kind of normal people come out on the floor and give speeches. How different was this from what we've seen in the past, either just in terms of like ideologically being more aligned with Black Lives Matter or in format?
You know, in 16 there was this there was a group called The Mothers of the Movement that spoke in the Philly convention with Hillary Clinton. So there are mothers whose children who were black, who died because of some police violence or something like this.
It's not like this was totally out of nowhere, but I didn't know George Floyd's family was speaking tonight.
So that struck me. And I thought this, that first 40 minutes was very sustained in talking about racial issues.
Eva Longoria mentioned it a lot. Every speaker at Belike talked about. We're going to address America's racial problems in a very specific way.
And so I guess the contrast what I was hearing was in 16, that made sense because in some ways it was like Barack Obama, the black president, you know, leading the pathway to Hillary Clinton, the first woman president.
So I thought the sort of identity politics of the convention made a lot of sense this time. You have, you know, the Democrats intentionally picked old white man Joe Biden versus a very specific reason. So I thought it was striking to see the way they've sort of melded, you know, sort of like Joe Biden is going to be the person who sort of fixes racial inequality in America is not exactly the most obvious thing. But I think it was very well done in a certain way.
Like Kamala Harris is kind of the linking between, you know, she's kind of old style politics and in the way Joe Biden is, she's also black. And so I think that's also doing that same linkage is I think tonight was distinct in making that linkage really explicit.
And I was sort of struck by that's why, like, I didn't think Joe Biden's convention would have this much talk about race in it. But I mean, maybe it makes sense. Does after May that it should.
But it is funny. I was like trying to look at kind of some of the opening montage. This is like a cynical TV pundit or something. Right.
And it's like, OK, you're going to see a ton of faces and not many of them are like straight white men or present that way at least. Right. And then they have Joe Biden. You're like, oh, yeah.
So you can imagine like a voter at home, like, oh, I was a little bit too much of these, you know, but oh, there's Biden.
I feel reassured, I think because like because Biden is like this kind of middle brow old white guy that Democrats can talk. More candidly about race than they would be if they had a non-white nominee, I guess, I don't know. I mean, you know, two speakers I felt kind of alluded to some of Biden's like race controversies from last summer. One was Cory Booker who said something that was sort of like, well, I kind of went after Joe Biden.
And you know what? He went after Joe Biden for for saying that he had like that these like two segregationist senators were like good guys to work with. And the other person who I thought kind of alluded to it was, again, Michelle Obama when she said he might not be whatever the you know, the person you agree with on everything or the perfect person or something like that. And that could either you could either read that as, oh, I'm a Bernie Sanders voter and I'm sort of like a white liberal and he's not liberal enough for me.
Or you could be like a like probably a younger black voter who's like this guy said some some pretty like not OK stuff like not too long ago. So I thought that was there were like these weird spots where if you were maybe looking for it, you could find the allusions to. Yeah, we all remember when Joe Biden was extremely clumsy and talked about what was that story he told about the pool? And oh, anyway, yeah, there was yeah, I mean, there was just there's just this whole like thing, it's sort of like fallen by the wayside, but it was only like a year ago.
So and I'm sure Donald Trump will bring it up. But anyway, if you were looking for it, there were those little glimmers of yeah, we remember that he's not super agile in talking about race or the 94 crime bill.
Yeah. I mean, I think in the presentation of the Democratic National Convention, important to keep in mind that this was put together by Democratic elites. Right? Well, you know, like we know from looking at polls that diversity and having non-white candidates and things like that, the people who view that as amongst the most important are the elites in the Democratic Party, whereas rank and file voters are maybe a little bit less concerned with that. And so, you know, when the elites of the party are putting on a show, of course, it's front and center.
So I think at 9:00, actually, when they started, there were three people who are rank and file voters. Two of the first three were white men, one of whom was a farmer, one of whom was a small business owner.
So I think the Democrats are actually fairly aware that they should try to figure out how to present themselves as not too much the party of diversity that fell apart as sometimes. But I think the fact that they had four Republicans talked this night sort of addressed that as well. Kazik was in a field somewhere doing something weird during his speech. I thought there was actually an intentional attempt to be not just the diversity party in a certain way as well.
Yes, there was an upper Midwestern portion of the evening where we we dispatched to Ohio and Michigan. It also seemed, though, divided, right? Yeah.
I mean, where you literally saw Kasich in the fields. God bless. He really loves that Crossroads theme. And then Gretchen Whitmer in her leather blazer behind a podium.
Do you know where the crossroads was clear? Can you go find it?
I hear you're in Ohio right now.
John Kasich lives in a different part of Ohio. I think they need more spontaneity.
They need like a guest the accent game. Right. I liked his drone shot. That's what I was struck by in that it was. It was. He's committed to the bit.
Yeah, OK. It's getting late. It's already Tuesday, technically, at least on the East Coast. So how much does this all matter? We're going to be back every night this week. But just to wrap us up here, are we expecting convention bounce if there is one? Will it stick? Will this change the way that people view either of the parties or the candidates?
I guess my take away is. Forget the electoral process, if Joe Biden wins, it's going to be really hard to govern in a party in which John Kasich and Bernie Sanders both think they voted for you and you're implementing their agenda or not, including the other guys, that's really challenging.
I think the thing I took away from this is like it is striking how much this party is still defined by the Obamas. It was like pretty obvious that Michelle was the biggest speaker tonight. I think she was somebody whose people were excited about. My guess is she'll give the most memorable speech of the week moral will to Joe or Jill Biden. And it just goes to the point that, you know, the I don't know that Biden, maybe the Democratic nominee, might even be the president.
And I still think Democrats will think of themselves as Obama Democrats more than Biden Democrats for a while. It's like striking how much a Claire was getting. A you know, Michelle is a great political figure. Barack is a great political figure. But I'm struck by how much the convention is still about them. And 16 was kind of about them, too. We've had basically going to end up with four conventions in a row where the Obamas are very, very important figures.
I mean, you do have a slightly unusual sequence where usually if the VP becomes the next nominee, it's immediately following the president that he was a VP for this year, had a four year sabbatical.
So does kind of make the Obamas directly relevant nominee twice the outgoing president and third time and then the mentor, I guess, to Biden, the fourth time, I guess there some historical reference for this and Reagan, right.
I mean, nobody thinks of them as like George H.W. Bush, Republicans, people were calling themselves, you know, Reaganites through to the 2000s. Still. Still. Yeah, I guess I kind of I guess did away with that.
But look, I don't think these conventions are likely to produce a super big. Bounce, there actually is some evidence that Biden's so far is lagging in performance among African-Americans and Hispanics, obviously is doing very well in absolute terms, but relative to either Clinton or Obama, there's also some notion, though, that sometimes African-American voters will remain undecided in polls a little bit longer and they can kind of come, even though they probably going to mostly vote Democratic. Right.
They might come to a little bit late. You know, if Biden, between his convention and the pick of Harris and the Obama is being more involved, could help to lock in a Obama like margin among black voters, which he actually does not have. Now, that could give him another couple of points in the polls and that would be meaningful. I don't know, maybe Democrats are so able to. I'm imagining, let's say, that Biden is up 14 points next week, right, and we're trying to ask ourselves what happened, which I don't expect.
Right, but what would happen? Maybe it's that, you know, they were able to convince voters of the gravity of what's going on in the country. Right. I don't know that voters need convincing of that, but maybe they're able to bring it home somehow. Maybe they're able to give more Joe Biden biography where he's no longer a generic Democrat, maybe also the Trump convention. I mean, some of the speakers, they they apparently are going to invite, right.
Include, you know, one of the Covington High School kids include, I guess, this couple in St. Louis that were brandishing a gun at protesters. You know, that is a convention that seems to be signaling pure cultural grievance. And like if Democrats are talking about COVA and the economy and racial injustice and Republicans respond with kind of a disorganized fiesta of pure grievance, then maybe that won't look that good for Republicans right there.
Convention Trump got very little bounce in 2016, actually, where Clinton got a fairly big one. So maybe a lot of good did her in the end.
Right. Didn't matter in the end, but maybe that would repeat itself. I don't know.
All right. Closing thoughts, Claire.
Oh, yeah. You're still closing thoughts. Conventions are bullshit. Pseudo events just like CNN, town halls or whatever those things are. I'm most interested in something Perry said earlier about like the party. If Biden is comes into office on a coalition of like Kazik types and Sanders types and, you know, what does that actually look like, you know, in the White House and like putting together an agenda? I feel like that's something we should talk about.
Like I'm sort of interested where the Lincoln Project Republicans end up if Biden wins the presidency, like, do they stay Republicans? Are they this weird island they become?
Do they come Democrats like I don't know that I think is so interesting. And it like the fact that John that John Kasich was like officially a Democratic convention speaker is like does blow my mind.
He's quite a conservative Republican on many, many points.
I wouldn't have predicted that in 2016, let's just put it that way. So I am kind of interested in, like, how all those people boogy together.
If Biden wins, let's leave it there for this evening. I will say that we'll be back again Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Thursday night. So look forward to that. Also, some housekeeping. Our store is back. So if you want to go to 538 dotcom slash store like tote bags, hats, shorts, whatever, go check that out. But that's it for this evening. So thank you. Thank you, Gailen. Thank you, Claire.
Thanks, Galen. And thank you very. Thank you. My name is Gail and Tony Chow is in the virtual control room. You can get in touch by emailing us at podcasts at five thirty ecom. You can also, of course, tweet us with questions or comments. If you're a fan of the show, leave us a rating or review in the Apple podcast store or tell someone about us. Thanks for listening and we'll see you soon.