Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington
Democrats just spent their week in Philadelphia making the case that this is no ordinary election. Rather than the typical contest between partisan visions, party leaders argued, Donald Trump’s candidacy this year threatens our democracy itself (President Obama in his Wednesday night address called the Republican nominee a homegrown demagogue). And Hillary Clinton in accepting the nomination on Thursday offered herself as a proven steward Republicans and independents should feel comfortable supporting instead.
But Clinton’s pan-partisan appeal broke down elsewhere in her speech. She promised to pay for massive new investments in infrastructure and social welfare expansions by taxing “Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich” — not out of spite, but “because when more than 90 percent of the gains go to the top 1 percent, that’s where the money is. And we are going to follow the money.” Clinton acknowledged that restoring a sense of fairness would guide a get-tough approach to business: “I believe American corporations that have gotten so much from our country should be just as patriotic in return. Many of them are. But too many aren’t.”
There’s little mystery why Clinton felt compelled to channel Bernie Sanders. His followers turned out in force at the convention, and even after the Vermont senator renewed his endorsement of her, many of the Bernie-or-Bust dead-enders continued interrupting the primetime program with boos and chants. The message behind the noise: If Clinton hopes to turn out the party’s base in November, she can’t stray too far from the liberal platform her team forged as a peace treaty with the Sanders camp.
On the convention’s sidelines, the talk among Democratic financiers, lobbyists and business-friendly policy hands focused on whether Clinton will retreat once elected from the populist ground she’s now occupying. It isn’t clear. And the vacuum in this weird season’s political debate — the one that’s allowing Clinton to try to grab voters from the middle and the right even as she runs to the left — means it likely won’t become much clearer between now and November.
• Clinton campaign computers hacked
Just last week, the Democratic Party was rocked by the leak of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, an apparent piece of Russian cyber espionage. Now it looks as though computer systems used by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign have been hacked, as well, likewise apparently by Russians. The Clinton campaign says the hackers gained access to an analytics program but not its internal computer systems. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the political arm for House Democrats, announced it was also hacked. Democrats have charged that Russian state actors are behind the attacks in an attempt to meddle with the U.S. presidential election. New York Times
• Clinton launches bus tour
The Democratic nominee and her vice presidential pick, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, launched a three-day bus tour of Pennsylvania and Ohio following the conclusion of the party’s national convention. Both Rust Belt states are key battlegrounds likely to see a lot more of both tickets over the next three months. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday showed Clinton leading Trump by 6 points. Reuters
• Trump beats Clinton in the ratings
By a measure close to Trump’s heart, he edged Clinton in their respective conventions: 29.8 million viewers tuned in to her acceptance speech, 2.4 million fewer than watched his a week earlier. But it was the only night the Democrats lost out to the Republicans in the TV ratings battle. Wall Street Journal
Around the Water Cooler
• Democrats upstaged Republicans at the conventions
Say what you will about the candidates themselves. When it comes to the conventions both parties just staged, however, Democrats clearly came out on top. Josh King, a veteran of staging Democratic political events, points to three elements of the Democratic confab’s stagecraft that stood out as particularly impressive: the stage’s backdrop, which visualize the campaign’s “Stronger Together” slogan; the post-speech choreography, designed to let Democratic stars linger on stage; and the on-stage spectacle following Clinton’s speech, which looked spontaneous but was anything but. Fortune
• Dems find unity in Philly
The more united party usually wins the presidential election, and after both major party conventions, that’s good news for Democrats. The party came into Philadelphia still decidedly split between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps. And the blowup over the DNC’s hacked emails, which revealed the official party apparatus putting a thumb on the scale for Clinton, only exacerbated the tension. But delegates from both sides were able to retire much of strife over the course of the week. Republicans can’t claim the same. Bloomberg
• How Hillary blew it
The pundit consensus on Hillary Clinton’s Thursday night acceptance speech was lukewarm. Here’s one conservative arguing it was even less than middling. “She spoke in her patented da-DA da-DA ta-TA cadence, which makes every sentence sound like every other,” John Podhoretz writes. And he says she came off angry instead of rising to the historical moment. New York Post