By Jesse Stiller
Nation & World Editor
The Republican and Democratic National Conventions wrapped up last week in what have been a virtual-based but high-stakes events.
According to USA TODAY, the Democratic National Convention’s first night saw lower ratings on television but a surge in online viewership in part to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and subsequent restrictions.
The DNC showcased a “Zoom-like format personalized by presentations focusing on the speakers face,” Columbia University professor Tood Gitlin said to USA TODAY. The convention featured testimonials from speakers such as Michelle Obama, who criticized President Donald Trump’s response to Covid-19 and encouraged viewers to vote.
Other speakers from the four nights included activist Kristin Urquiza, who lost her father to Covid-19, Grammy Award-winning artist Billie Eilish and, according to CBS News, four high-profile republicans such as former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.
On the fourth and final night, Joe Biden Jr., a former senator from Delaware and the former vice president under the Obama administration, accepted the Democratic nomination.
In his speech, according to a transcript from The New York Times, Biden promised a new reality of unity and promised a “national strategy” on defeating the Covid-19.
“We’ll develop and deploy rapid tests with results available immediately. We’ll make the medical supplies and protective equipment our country needs,” Biden said. “And we’ll make them here in America.”
While offering more plans regarding taxes and future job creation, Biden also used opportunities in his speech, as reported by The New York Times, to criticize the president and what he saw as policy failures regarding Covid-19 and current protests.
“Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to this nation,” Biden said. “He failed to protect us. He failed to protect America. And, my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable.”
A few days after the DNC wrapped up, the Republican National Convention kicked off in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Washington D.C., as reported by ABC News. The convention was held in a live telecast format in the empty Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.
According to NPR, the first-night ratings for the RNC came in at around 17 million, below the DNC’s opening numbers.
The RNC featured a large number of speakers including, as reported by CBS, Maryland Congressional candidate Kim Klacik, Pennsylvania congressional candidate Sean Parnell and North Carolina congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn. Some other notable speakers included criminal justice reform activist Alice Johnson and college student Nicholas Sandmann.
In one case during the RNC, according to CNBC, Mary Ann Mendoza, whose son was murdered by an undocumented immigrant and had become a major advocate for border control, was removed from the lineup after tweeting what appeared to be support of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
According to Politico, Mendoza’s speech was replaced with a naturalization ceremony of several immigrants with Chad Wolf, the acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, leading the ceremony.
On the final night of the RNC, President Trump accepted the nomination for re-election in a speech that, according to The New York Times, lasted over an hour and contained around 6,000 words.
“Tonight, with a heart full of gratitude and boundless optimism, I profoundly accept this nomination for president of the United States,” President Trump said.
During the lengthy speech, according to the New York Times, Trump touted a myriad of self-proclaimed accomplishments from the administration’s Covid-19 response to the stock market and foreign policy. In addition, the president attacked former Vice President Joe Biden numerous times.
“Joe Biden is not a savior of America’s soul,” Trump said. “He is the destroyer of America’s jobs, and if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of America’s greatness.”
The president ended with his attempt to unify the country during a time of turmoil.
“Together, we are unstoppable. Together, we are unbeatable,” Trump concluded. “Because together, we are the proud citizens of the United States of America.”