After the DNC a look ahead to the Republican National Convention

The two major U.S. political parties bid for voters by way of online conventions

By Byron Toben

With the dearth of live theatre during this COVID-19 shutdown, much attention has turned to the annual conventions of the two major parties.


I watched every minute of the Democratic National Convention last week. There are plenty of playbacks and highlights on the Internet so I will not duplicate those as to policy and target audiences. Suffice it to say that women, diversity, environment, health, jobs and endorsements (including by several Republicans!) were covered in the all-digital format. Early voting was also stressed in light of the current hearings about U.S. postal slowdowns.

I was surprised that the delegate count by state included some for Bernie Sanders (2,375) even though he had already lost to Joe Biden (4,749). (I later found out that DNC rules required that all candidates who had received 300 votes or more must be tolled.)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Joe Biden – WestmountMag.ca

Julia Louis-Dreyfus with former Vice President Joe Biden – Image: Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The DNC adopted its 2020 policy platform on August 18.

As a theatre reviewer, I was pleased to see actor/comedienne Julia Louis-Dreyfus appear as a host on the 4th and final night. The former Seinfeld regular recalled meeting real vice president Biden when she starred as a fictional one in the hit TV show VEEP which ran from 2012 to 2019.

She also predicted that Trump would tweet about her appearance on the event as being a “no talent, washed-up actress”. I do not use Twitter so I would appreciate from viewers if this prediction or some variant did appear.

Also amused to see slim brown female Sarah Cooper capture Trump railing against mail voting better than himself while using his own voice.

I count about 25 notable speakers at the DNC as well as 7 of the other presidential primary candidates in addition to many “ordinary” folk.

Commentators raved about the speeches of both Michelle Obama (first night) and Barak Obama (third night) in particular.


As of August 21, about 15 notable speakers are announced for the Republican National Convention which runs from August 24 to 27.

It will be partly digital and partly live with some crowd. Live sessions include the Rose Garden at the White House. (No press permitted.) The policy platform adopts the 2016 version again.
Apparently, some aerial fireworks will also be set off at one point.

Melania and Michelle Obama - WestmountMag.ca

First Lady Melania preparing her speech for the RNC – Image: reddit.com

The themes for each day follow, with the one featured speaker announced so far for each:

August 24 – Land of Heroes (Nomination by Delegates)
August 25 – Land of Promise (Melania Trump)
August 26 – Land of Opportunity (Michael Pence)
August 27 – Land of Greatness (Donald Trump)

Despite the entertainment value of both parties’ conventions, many feel (myself included) that they will not sway many voters who have, despite their denials, probably made up their minds already.

In Canada, interest is very high even though most cannot vote in U.S. elections (the estimated 900,000 U.S. residents in Canada, many dual citizens, can). Here in Quebec, many, particularly in Montreal, cheer for Westmount High grad Kamala Harris’ fortunes as candidate for Democratic vice president.

Feature image: Sports-Video-Group/LTN Global
Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.ca

Read more articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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