As DNC ends, RNC looks to deliver 'more energy' to appeal to swing voters

Friday, August 21, 2020
As DNC ends, RNC looks to deliver 'more energy' to appeal to swing voters
While Democrats said they felt energized by the week-long virtual DNC, Republicans promised more of a "celebration" for the RNC.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The virtual nature of the 2020 Democratic National Convention wasn't its only unconventional aspect.

Indeed, the rapid transition from the DNC to the 2020 Republican National Convention is also unique, though perhaps more appropriate for a society obsessed with immediacy and an unquenchable thirst for content.

"I think with baseball and other examples out there, people aren't good at paying attention for long amounts of time," Former North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue said. "I do believe there will be a different story painted next week, and I think people have to weigh where there head is."

Purdue, a Democrat who served for eight years in Raleigh, was a veteran of five conventions before this year's "Digital DNC."

"They're boring and loud and hot and only exciting some of the time," Purdue joked. "This year I didn't feel old or jaded or out of touch. I felt like a real American and hearing people talk about why this party is going to lead us into the future. I thought it was a wonderful change."

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Purdue, interestingly, was a noted supporter of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg in the primary; she continues to be conscious of how Vice President Joe Biden will appeal to swing voters in a purple, pragmatic state like North Carolina.

"In North Carolina if you at all lean in the center, or center left or center right, I believe you would've left the convention feeling hopeful about the voices of America and the ability of Joe Biden to touch a heart string," she said. "I think he can help America heal itself."

Republicans, of course, are already on the offensive ahead of Monday's RNC, which will begin in Charlotte and continue with speeches from across the country, including First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday in Washington.

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President Trump is also expected to speak at the White House on Thursday to accept the nomination.

"The job they had to do at the Democratic Convention was tell you Joe Biden was a nice guy," Rep. Richard Hudson (R-North Carolina) said. "They did not talk about any of the dangerous policy positions he has. It just seemed to me they're out of touch. They're trying to connect with the American people who are going through tough times but they've got millionaire celebrities as the face of the presentation."

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Hudson said North Carolinians should expect a much more upbeat "celebration" when they tune into the RNC.

"He's kept every promise he's made, he built the greatest economy of our lifetime, he rebuilt our military and then COVID punched us in the gut," Hudson said. "I think the president's case is very simple: 'I built the best economy and if you reelect me I'll do it again.'"

North Carolina on ABC's This Week with George Stephanapolous

Despite the Republicans not holding their full convention in Charlotte, national attention on the Tar Heel State is certain to continue because of its status as a key batteground.

Martha Raddatz, Chief Global Affairs Correspondent at ABC News, visited Raleigh on Friday as part of her reporting on a special series called "Six for the Win", an in depth look at six states--all won by Trump in 2016--that will undoubtedly be the difference again in 2020.

"You've got two candidates: the incumbent you've been watching for four years, and you've got Joe Biden, who's been around a really, really, really long time," Raddatz said. "So what (swing voters) are after is a mystery."

As for what she expects at the RNC, Raddatz said "When Joe Biden spoke, he does not need a crowd to get inspired. (Trump) wants it to be more exciting. He's someone who needs that crowd. He feeds off that crowd."

Raddatz's feature on North Carolina will air Sunday morning on This Week with George Stephanapolous on ABC11.