I am an original anti-Trump Republican. I first articulated my opposition to Donald Trump’s destructive and narcissistic nature in 2011, when he was considering a run for president in the 2012 cycle. I decided then that I would never vote for him and I declared my support for Joe Biden months ago. Even so, I was unprepared to be as moved by the nature of the Democratic convention as I have been.
With the parameters dictated by COVID restrictions that prevent any large-scale gatherings like party rallies, even political insiders were anticipating that the convention would be, at best, uninteresting.
Instead, it has turned out to be some of the most inspirational programming I’ve seen in a very long time.And as a lifelong Republican who has spent much of the past 12 years advancing conservative principles and working to elect Republicans, that’s saying something.
Democrats aren’t leading with anger
We are living through one of the most divided, uncertain moments in our nation’s history. America’s heart aches from the loss of over 170,000 lives in a pandemic in just five and a half months, racial unrest that has swept across the land, and economic despair, with as many as 30 million Americans unemployed.
Under the circumstances, it would have been easy for the Democrats to spend four nights trashing the president with abandon and every Republican in Washington right along with him. It would have been easy for them to give in to the urge to lead with anger and further divide our nation. Instead, they spent the first two nights trying to mend our divide, bringing together the most inclusive, bipartisan coalition of Americans in support of Joe Biden that we have ever seen.
From the National Anthem on opening night, sung by a diverse choir of singers from every state to last night’s nomination roll call that reflected the true colors of our country, to the broad collection of speakers from every race, gender and both major parties, this convention has lifted our spirits and allowed us to hope that maybe —just maybe — we could have a president who would put the unity and well-being of our nation above himself.
In a moment when Trump is trying to silence dissent and suppress the vote, the Democratic convention gives a voice to America’s diversity. The speakers list includes, among others, several Republican leaders, Latinos, African-Americans, black LGBTQ elected legislators, and dozens of strong women leaders. And 115 Native Americans from 37 different states will participate.
It is this diversity of ethnicity, culture and thought that distinguishes this convention, not just from past Democratic events, but from the upcoming Republican convention as well. As the Democrats are expanding their reach and broadening their inclusion, Republicans are doing exactly the opposite. Under Trump, the Republican Party has shrunk and fewer and fewer Americans feel welcome in their ranks, especially minorities and women.
Reassuring national mom: Michelle Obama tries to resuscitate America’s soul in perfect Democratic convention speech
By contrast, women from both sides of the aisle are playing a key role in this convention. On Monday night, Christie Todd Whitman, a former Republican who was New Jersey governor and head of the Environmental Protection Agency in the George W. Bush administration, gave voice to GOP women across the country who want a president who will lead with dignity and empathy. Former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke with elegance and hope about what is possible if America chooses Joe Biden.
On Tuesday night, Cindy McCain, widow of Sen. John McCain, shared the story of the special friendship between her husband and Biden. She reminded us, just when we needed it most, that in fact there is still at least one man left in Washington willing to cross the aisle and embrace his friends on the other side.
Historic for women, minorities, USA
And Wednesday, in a momentous occasion, Sen. Kamala Harris, the daughter of Black and Indian immigrants, will become the first woman of color to win the vice presidential nomination of a major party. It is a historic moment for women, for minorities, for our country, and it lights the path for generations of young American women to follow.
Donald Trump marked it by calling her “nasty.”
In an election where women will make the difference to the outcome, and in a world where women are finally rising to the equal status they long ago earned, Democrats are embracing their leadership, respecting their experience and listening to their voices.
Donald Trump is calling them housewives and trying to scare them with rhetoric about “low income housing” coming to their suburban neighborhoods.
I am still a Republican, and I am sure I will continue to advocate for conservative governance in the years ahead. But as I watch the Democratic convention programming, filled with strong accomplished women, I feel drawn to each one of them.
When I look at the Democratic production as a whole — an amazing fabric stitched with threads of every color and design — I can’t help but wonder what next week’s Republican convention will look and sound like.
How will Donald Trump’s circus of hate and exclusion compare? The truth is, it can’t.
Jennifer Horn, former chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party, is a co-founder of The Lincoln Project. Follow her on Twitter: @NHJennifer
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Source; USA TODAY: Anti-Trump Republican: Diverse Democratic convention is inspiring to me