Now that the so-called Party of Freedom has made its war cry “Lock Her Up!” the so-called Party of the People scrambles to boost the popularity of the shackle-free Hillary Clinton.
Democrats convening in Philadelphia this week need to defend her public record, impeach opponent Donald Trump’s sales pitch and stage a show that makes their case.
Given polls that suggest it’s anyone’s race, there’s a lot of finessing, spinning and counterattacking for them to do.
Bernie Sanders ran second in the Democratic primaries. But his similarity to runner-up Republican Ted Cruz ends with the fact they’re both U.S. senators.
Barring a sudden reversal, Sanders is expected to urge Clinton’s election and Trump’s defeat — none of this “vote your conscience” stuff.
Past rivalries aside, anyone open to persuasion who took seriously the GOP allegations about her in Cleveland may want to hear how she rebuts them.
Her allies will promote the idea that except for her famous email embarrassment, Clinton performed well as secretary of state and as senator — even if the Mideast is now unstable.
Expect to hear someone say if pressed that one cannot serve in public office without setbacks.
Changes on trade policy, education, college tuition and criminal justice will be treated as evolutions born of listening.
They’ll be under pressure to make clear statements about murders of police officers, Black Lives Matter and jihadi violence — issues with more tension, of course, among Democrats than among Republicans.
Convention speakers, as they always do, will spin the selection of Tim Kaine for vice president as a tremendous asset and perfect balance to the ticket.
You’ll hear about equal pay and abortion rights and breaking gender barriers.
Dissecting Trump should prove easiest for Democrats who will have stockpiled abundant material about divisiveness, scapegoating, flat-out lying, business failures, remarks about women, financial secrecy, hypocrisy and impulsiveness.
The Democratic National Committee’s partial announcement of speakers as posted late last week gives the general drift:
“As Donald Trump continues his divisive convention in Cleveland with dangerous ideas that would pose a threat to our economy and national security, Democrats are preparing to lay out the clear stakes in this election in Philadelphia.”
The party calls it “a choice between building walls and tearing people down or an optimistic, unifying vision where everyone has a role to play in building our future.”
Clinton’s portrait of today’s America should be way less grim than Trump’s Gothic horror motif. That’s largely because of her link to the “in” party of the White House — though not Congress, where GOP dominance gives the Democrats a fat target for blame.
Unlike the Republican parley — which two surviving GOP presidents named George Bush chose to boycott — the current and previous Democratic presidents are due to be front and center in Philadelphia, plus there will be a video message from ex-President Jimmy Carter.
To the limited degree that conventions elect presidents, current circumstances give the Democrats a strategic edge in the show-of-unity department.