9 things we learned from the DNC, RNC

Two conventions, two narratives, one virus

ORLANDO, Fla. — With the Republican National Convention coming to a close Thursday, here are nine things we learned from both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.

1. 66 Days - As of Friday Aug. 28, there are only 66 days until the November election. However, early voting will start in about 45 days and in many states people are already requesting vote by mail ballots. Florida allows anyone for any reason to request a vote by mail ballot, which you can do online through your county’s supervisor of elections here.

Joe Biden officially named Democratic nominee for president

2. Bounce? - Most candidates enjoy a short-lived bounce in their polling numbers following their convention. This year with both parties moving their conventions largely online and away from crowded arenas it is unlikely either candidate will get much of a bounce. Since again, these bounces tend to disappear rather quickly, this is unlikely to matter heading into the homestretch.

3. Not Watching – People are not tuning into these conventions, for either party. We do not have the final numbers from Thursday, but through the first three days of each convention the RNC is averaging 16.5 million viewers across the six major networks (down 23% from 2016) and the DNC on its first three days pulled in only 19.5 million viewers (down 21% from 2016).

4. COVID-19 - The defining issue for much of 2020 has been the coronavirus and in the two conventions each party dealt with the virus in different ways. While Democrats painted the president’s response to COVID-19 as disconnected and inept, the Republican Party sought to frame the response as one of balancing public health and the economy. The attention paid to the virus in each convention was also on display, with Democrats highlighting it every night and in almost every speech while many Republican speakers only mentioned the virus in passing.

5. Civil Unrest - The summer was marked by protests across the country following the killing of George Floyd. Now, another death is sparking protests and riots. Against the backdrop of the killing of Jacob Blake protests, and in some places riots have erupted again. These issues have already and will continue to frame much of the discourse in the final few months of the campaign.

6. $7 Billion - 2020 is on pace to be the most expensive political season ever with some estimates showing spending across all platforms and across all campaigns and candidates topping $7 billion. Spending along the I-4 corridor is expected to top a quarter billion dollars as both campaigns fight for Florida’s 29 electoral votes.

7. Labor Day – Usually, it is not until after Labor Day when voters start to really pay attention to the race. This is also when most polls switch from registered voters to likely voters. As this happens, expect the race to tighten as the universe of undecided voters begins to shrink and people start settling in on a candidate to support.  Of course, this is 2020 and anything is possible.

8. Debates – There will be four debates in the coming weeks: three between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden  (September 29th Cleveland, OH - October 15th Miami, FL - October 22nd Nashville, TN) and one between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris (October 7th Salt Lake City, UT).

9. History – The last president to lose reelection was George H.W. Bush in 1992. Since then, every president has served 8-years in office.  In fact, since 1900 only four presidents have lost reelection bids: William Howard Taft in 1912, Herbert Hoover in 1932, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1988.  This of course excludes men who became president following a vacancy in the office as is the case with LBJ who won in 1964 but did not run in 1968 and Gerald Ford who became president after the resignation of Richard Nixon and lost in 1976.

Video: What to expect from the Republican National Convention