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Now playing, the Democrats

Can party match Republicans’ energy?

By The Mercury

Another week, another national political convention. This week, of course, it’s the Democrats’ turn.

They’re in Charlotte, N.C., and they can be counted on to unleash one speaker after another to try to woo independent voters while simultaneously bashing just about all things Republican. Tonight alone, a litany of Democratic figures is slated to address the faithful.

To be fair, they’ll be doing little more than returning the rhetoric that emanated from the podium at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. If the Democrats have an advantage in holding their convention second, it’s that they have GOP allegations and promises to respond to. The disadvantage is that the Democrats multi-day infomercial might be more likely to play to a tuned-out America.

Things might be different if there were some suspense… other than wondering whether Vice President Joe Biden will say something idiotic.

This convention won’t go entirely unwatched. Diehard Democrats will take in as much as their own schedules allow, and the Republicans doubtless will have people watching to note comments and gaffes that they might exploit in the weeks to come. Political junkies all over America and reporters at the convention are sure to get their fill, but for most Americans, a little conventioneering goes a long way. That’s why most television networks have limited their coverage to what they consider highlights.

Among highlights tonight will be a speech by First Lady Michelle Obama and the keynote address by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. The latter is a rising star in the Democratic Party and is regarded as important to President Obama’s hopes of winning a sizeable majority of the Hispanic vote.

Unlike GOP nominee Mitt Romney, President Obama doesn’t need humanizing. But he could use a couple hundred million dollars and he does need for the speakers who precede him to at least offset their Republican counterparts, particularly GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ann Romney. Each of them made effective, if predictable, cases for a change of occupancy in the White House.

Apart from the ubiquitous polls and the succession of experts telling Americans what they mean, the next stage involves the candidate debates. Unlike most of the convention hours and the angry televised campaign ads, the debates might prove instructive for the right reasons.

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