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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

The Democratic Swampfest


The Democratic Party's virtual convention should've been an attempt to unify the party. From moderates to progressives, I almost took it for granted that they would do everything to convince those on the left that Joe Biden was truly their candidate. However, apart from a few references to Medicare, evictions, and 'understanding', they have disappointed.

One would expect that despite their antipathy to President Trump, they would've understood what got them to this point, as if the point hadn't been made clearer. However, apart from the usual set of Medicare pledges and blank statements on evictions and the problems many face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Democratic National Convention looked and sounded more like a long-form infomercial. From the short, pre-recorded messages to the celebrity endorsements, the convention effectively served as a compilation of campaign advertisements designed for nothing but a sense of self-satisfaction.(The party leadership, that is, not the base).

We should be in no doubt: The content of this convention is the ultimate swamp fest. Talk of 'draining the swamp' has never been more relevant now, and this shouldn't satisfy anyone. Whether you're on the right or the left, the convention failed to appeal to the disenfranchised, to the ignored, or to the forgotten people.

There were zero solutions presented, nothing of substance. The nicely edited infomercial was nothing but an anti-Trump temper tantrum, doing nothing but reaffirming their contempt with the President and platitudes about how voting Democrat is somehow a duty. From the Cuomo meltdown to the Bernie Sanders 'reassurance' that the Biden platform is a progressive one, this appeals to nobody but the very people speaking. For progressives, Bernie Sanders' attack on President ('Nero fiddle while Rome burned, Trump golfed') is enough to show that he truly is on the Biden platform. For conservatives, Sanders' speech, the only one with a kernel of substance, vindicated past suspicions that the Biden platform isn't a moderate one, but instead demonstrated that the Democratic Party has embraced the radical left. 'Many ideas we fought for, that...were considered radical, are now mainstream', the Senator from Vermont proclaimed to his followers. In other words, the Democratic Party seeks to satisfy nobody and make no gains. Anti-Trump Republicans and some Progressives were willing to vote for Biden as a compromise or the best option, but nobody else was convinced. The disenfranchised nonvoter left saw republicans with evidently conservative records paraded around as the strongest Biden supporters by their party, while conservatives saw a party that effectively embraced the far left.

The media, as usual, fawned over the speakers, helping push forward the notion the DNC was somehow a demonstration of national unity. The Trump campaign's strategic adviser Boris Epsteyn summed up the speakers who fawned over Joe Biden in their nicely pre-recorded messages. "I thought it was a sad night" Epshteyn said, "...they sort of rolled out the losers", citing the lineup of yesterday's men and women such as John Kerry, Christine Todd Whitman, John Kasich, and Sally Yates.

If anything, the bringing in of people outside of the 'mainstream' of the Democratic Party, while being a good look, does more harm than good. Instead of being the true 'national unity' the Democrats are attempting to show to the world, this is, if anything, the biggest risk taken by a national party.

Whether the faux unity on display will result in any solid progress in terms of votes will be up to the American people. One thing to be sure of, however, is that this is the most unprecedented swampfest in United States history, with a sense of 'Throwback Thursday' thrown in for good measure.

The Democratic Party has lost control and has sought to do all it can, despite the obvious contradictions, to win the White House. This strategy, if successful, while winning them the White House, will clearly be the source of division in later months and years to come. 

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Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
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