Monday was the first day of the Democratic National Convention. You might be forgiven for not knowing that, as the news was nowhere. Not in the papers, not on the shows, and not in the morning news letters most of Washington relies on for what to think that day.
The long-planned dates — July 13-17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — were first moved to Aug. 17-20, then cancelled and turned into some kind of national Zoom meeting, and finally dropped down the memory hole and forgotten faster than it takes Joe Biden to forget what he had for breakfast. There was no daily coverage of this disaster, no countdown to the big day, no masked reporters flitting and flailing after the former vice president or his team demanding to know when America might expect the most festive Democratic Party event since Samantha Power invited HBO to her 2016 election party.
Much of the political convention is for show in our modern primary system, although the platform ratification remains somewhat important. And while the exciting imagery of the nomination might have no major impact on the election, it’s a favorite of the base, with the party’s most committed activists dressing up for the ruckus on the floor and the busy evenings that follow.
The revelation of the platform for the media and the candidate’s acceptance speech are likely the longest-lasting effects of the week, so it’s no surprise Democrats don’t want a convention — and no surprise corporate media are covering for them. The party has moved farther to the left than any Biden primary supporter might have imagined, and the candidate has mentally deteriorated at a rapid rate too many of us recognize from family experiences.
Last week, Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Unity Task Forces” released the 110-page results of their negotiations — negotiations that the Sanders team appears to have dominated, nearly tripling Hillary Clinton’s 2016 tax-hike proposal, offering free college, planning an acceleration of the Democratic “zero-emissions” plan, and a heaping a “full scale” audit of American border security officers on top of citizenship for illegal immigrants and every other leftward lurch of the past few months.
Of course, corporate news reports largely lacked this important context, with CNN instead characterizing the plan as a moderate one that doesn’t satisfy the left, as it did not adopt freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s “Green New Deal” to end all fossil fuel use, did not adopt the Democratic National Committee debate talking point of opening the border, and did not propose the nearly brand-new far-left idea to replace American law enforcement with social workers.
Biden, we might recall, ran as a moderate, refusing to raise his hand for things like opening the border and decriminalizing its illegal crossings. After the “compromise,” no longer: “The compromise they came up with, if implemented, will make Biden the most progressive president since FDR,” Sanders crowed to MSNBC after the report’s release.
“We’re going to have a breathtaking opportunity… to rewrite our economy,” Biden agreed from his home, his blue blazer struggling to stay on his sagging shoulders.
The stuff of left-wing rallies, sure. The stuff of national elections? Rarely. But then, there won’t be any rallies for the people to see, and in their stead America has a corporate media willing to tell us the proposals above are “moderate.”
“This agenda that you’ve laid out here is not the agenda of a man who is trying to reach out beyond his own party for support [to win the election],” 55-year political reporting veteran Brit Hume commented. “This is a man who is simply trying to solidify support within his own party, and he might be right about that.”
With America’s anti-Trump voters and allied reporters in the bag, Democrats know the biggest threat to their candidate is their candidate. For now, that threat is neutralized, with coronavirus hysteria keeping him safely cloistered and lazy reporters not even wondering if he’ll be accepting the nomination sitting in his home among a small group of doting aides, a blue jacket safety-pinned to his frame.
The insanity above sounds like it should be news, but it isn’t. And that decision is as deliberate as it is partisan. For a glimpse, take a look at a Monday Google News search for Republican National Convention: Words and phrases like “dumpster fire… chaos… deep trouble… struggling” and “mad scramble” come in at the top.
It’s true, the Republican Party was compelled to move states just a few months out due to a hostile mayor’s coronavirus restrictions; and it’s true frustrations at the national committee are running high amidst historic pressure. All of this, then, might be seen as normal reporting for a minute.