This year marked my 3rd Democratic National Convention to attend and the 3rd consecutive national convention for which Burnt Orange Report has been credentialed media. That accomplishment can be matched by no other state and is a credit to the owners, editors, writers, and readers that have followed us at any point over the last 9.5 years.
In 2004 I served as a (Deaniac) John Kerry delegate and was the youngest member of the Texas delegation to Boston. I was joined by Byron LaMasters, then owner of BOR, who carried this site's first of three media credentials to a national convention. The second was carried by former BOR Editor in Chief Matt Glazer and me in Denver. We used to joke about Matt being the youngest Texas delegate in 2004 for about 20 minutes… until I got elected. To think in 2012 we would been outnumbered 3-1 by the number of University Democrats alone who earned delegate status…it is just another example that the looks of the Democratic Party have indeed changed. The convention that BOR's Editor Katherine Haenschen reported so well had a totally different tone and feel, one that is the clearest yet about what the future of our Democratic Party looks like.
I have a number of thoughts and observations but I've tried to outline them by area as follows.
The Convention Itself- Boisterous in the hall, good energy. The raw number of delegates has grown so I believe this was the largest ever. Even so, people were fired up and ready to go once they stopped worrying about the weather and were delivered fresh, prime cuts of meat for the base. It was a tightly focused, incredibly well done showcase of the core of the Democratic Party. People you never would have seen onstage in 2004 saying things that were “liberal Howard Dean” lines (which more than once was accompanied by a long list of states being shouted out to the crowd). That left is the new center of the party which of course has been where a large chunk of America has been for some time. We've certainly demanded a Party that esposes what its members believe. It also shows the power of having a strong national narrative and candidate…
Nationalism of the Party- In a saturated environment like this one, where voters are very aware of the race, the candidates, and already have hard opinions, there is little point to try to shy away or follow a strategy that denies the simple fact that the Presidential nominees in environments like this become the Party. Personally, I believe this trend is going to strengthen, not weaken in future elections. In the advertising world, brand identities have taken a turn towards individual people or “characters” because consumers are able to interact and personally identify with them. Presidential nominees have the power to command that sort of identity for themselves and to their party- Barack Obama certainly has the ability to, and that was on display at this convention.
But the difference this time is that Obama didn't have to command it, it was already there (certainly something NOT the case in Boston in 2004 or Tampa in 2012). This Party is in fighting shape, the delegates knew it, they could feel it unfolding in real time. Speech after speech, layer upon layer, fact upon fact you could see the Democratic Party give it everything it could from its Presidents past, present, and future because it knows how much is on the line just like the Republicans do. But we have better leaders, and we are winning the next generation and that was on full display in Charlotte.
With as much attention as Texas got inside the convention hall, you'd have thought we were a moderately competitive swing state! We're not, but it is a nod to the future that scares Republicans the most and should inspire Democrats for how sneaky it is.
Below the jump, find out why Mayor Julian Castro will be the 46th President of the United States.Julian Castro, 46th President of the United States It was Mayor Julian Castro we saw sitting next to First Lady Michelle Obama during the big speeches. Going into the convention, Castro had a high bar to cross, especially given expectations of a Keynote and an uneven trial-run at the Texas State Convention in June. He met and exceeded those expectations save for the harsher critics. A Harvard guy, I'm sure there are as many personal points of contact for the Castros and Obamas to connect with. They have similar stories. They are their stories. And stories, identities, national identities can become the center of our modern politics. Voters want accessible identities and Castro proved he could handle that. And that's just the one Castro, the other will be in Congress, and eventually the Senate.
So here's the scenario: Obama wins. He plays the long game, a generational change is at hand- an actual argument underling the entire point of the Charlotte convention, lost among the daily media chum. Government and economy restructure together for the long haul. Biden gives every indication starting November 7th that he's running for the nomination and if anything, the Charlotte convention was the real kickoff of Biden's commitment to be the 2016 nominee. He's got legit Internet “first” rights, badass “I can quietly bring you to tears” skills, and is the only person positioned to take the rains of the reconstruction while maintaining global relations. Biden is strong, but he's still just your Average Joe. Come on, it's America where President Biden is serving not only his jokes fresh, but also his coffee. Which is convenient as President Biden has claimed MSNBC's “Morning Joe” program for his own where he highlights independent roasters alongside his broadcasts.
But alongside Biden, Vice President Julian Castro is sworn into office thanks to a receptive electorate and a new electoral destiny. Texas has the attention of a swing state in 2016 for a confluence of reasons and Castro on the ticket only magnifies the activity. With no Governor or US Senate seats up for play, Castro is effectively the Democratic Party in Texas. While not not necessary for an electoral win in 2016 for the Democrats, the GOP finally sees, much sooner than it thought, a very real electoral relevancy problem as Texas lurches away from it. Plus, Joe and Julian get along great, are laid back, funny, two generations, two cultures, just what America is ready for in 2016 and everyone knows it because that means the 46th President, the one after Biden, would be Julian Castro. That fact does some amazing things for youth and Hispanic turnout in 2016, not as big as when Castro takes the Party's nominations banner up after Biden, but with enough certainty that it turns out new voters starting in 2016 as is apparent in Texas and a host of other states.
The only thing I'm not entirely decided on is if Biden serves one or two terms. I could totally see him do a passing of the torch thing, to the next generation. Sort of even makes sense.
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