The first three days have gone well for Democrats in Philadelphia.
No doubt the final night, with Hillary Clinton’s big speech, will be just as effective. Certainly, the Bernie Sanders supporters are upset, not happy with Clinton, and they managed to make the first day a little raucous. But the Democratic convention overall has been far better organized, orchestrated, and disciplined than the Republican convention.
Bigger stars have appeared, speeches have been better, the convention themes have been logical and well-executed, and the convention has done a nice job re-introducing Clinton to the nation, while also effectively prosecuting Donald Trump.
So the Democrats will leave the convention relatively-well unified and will likely get a bump in the polls.
Still, neither convention will dramatically impact the final outcome of the election. Hillary Clinton is still the deeply flawed candidate she is, and Donald Trump is still Donald Trump (whatever that is). The conventions didn’t make them over.
Despite having a good convention, the problem for the Democrats is that there’s a reason Bernie Sanders pestered Clinton until the very end. There’s also a reason Donald Trump won the Republican nomination. The Democratic convention didn’t change those dynamics. The convention didn’t effectively address the populist fervor and distrust of the establishment sweeping the country.
So I believe the election will be close. My best guess is that Clinton will win. I think a unified Democratic Party with more money and a better ground game will beat the undisciplined Republican campaign, especially with loose cannon Trump at the top of the ticket. Trump will maintain his appeal to a segment of disgruntled voters, but it won’t be enough.
Remember, however, that I’ve been wrong about nearly everything about this campaign.
What disappoints me is that we don’t have a candidate that people like me can get excited about. We don’t have a responsible conservative at the top of either ticket. I think Mike Pence is terrific, but I doubt Trump will even pay attention to him if by some chance they win.
I believe that effective, conservative solutions exist to the nation’s problems. At the Democratic convention, we’ve been treated to a litany of old-fashioned, liberal, big-government proposals that have been tried over and over — and have failed. With Hillary Clinton, we double-down on the philosophy that more government, more taxes, and more regulation will cure the nation’s ills. I just don’t believe that. I would hate to see the U.S. Supreme Court turn liberal and dramatically – and negatively — impact our country for decades to come.
But Donald Trump doesn’t share my foundational values, political and otherwise. I have no idea what his political philosophy is or his approach to problem-solving. I have no idea what he is or how he will govern.
So this election is terribly disheartening for mainstream conservative Republicans like me.