The Republican Convention
It has been my intention to compare the audience size of the two conventions. As I look across the Internet, however, I find that isn’t a particularly realistic goal. Many sources disagree with one another, depending on their ideological leaning. On the one hand, Democrats experienced a 50% decline in viewership from four years ago. On the other hand, they may have beaten viewers of the Republican Convention by a million or so. Or not!
I say “Or not.” because the Nielsen rating service only counts the viewers of commercial stations since it is those ratings which determine ad prices. There is no way to determine who is watching via streaming services or on non-commercial stations.
C-Span, however, has contracted to learn the size of its audience. They have determined that six times as many households watched the Republican Convention on C-Span as watched the Democrat Convention. All told, roughly half a million households (including ours) watched Republicans on C-Span which offered the advantage of covering the meeting without interruption by network talking heads. Among the commercial stations, Fox News was way out in front with over 11 million households.
The RNC has announced final figures for the Republican convention which include a total of 147.9 million viewers and listeners (which dwarfs the Democrat gala by roughly 25 million). Those figures, however, are subject to charges of bias (as well as being incomplete because of not including time-delayed viewing).
Time-delayed viewing, of course, would likely be a larger number for Republicans than for Democrats since portions of Texas as well as Louisiana were preparing for a hurricane on Monday and were going through it on Tuesday during the beginning of the convention. There was also the little matter of power lines being down in hundreds of thousands of homes.
With You Tube, of course, it’s possible to view both conventions long after they occur (through searching for saved recordings of each night). Both conventions are, therefore, in a real sense still a work in progress. If for some reason you missed seeing these events, I strongly suggest that you do a You Tube search and check up on what you missed.
As you have probably already guessed, I particularly urge you to take in the Republican Convention. Much of it consists of a series of short talks by ordinary (and extraordinary) people which I found to be fascinating and moving.
1982 Heisman trophy winner Herschel Walker (an African American) gave a particularly important talk about his 37-year friendship with Donald Trump. He presented first-hand evidence that the Donald doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. Others gave additional evidence of ways in which President Trump had shown compassion and taken action to help minority individuals. One of them had spent years in prison courtesy of Joe Biden. Trump also pardoned a black man who had turned his life over to Christ and (upon being released from prison) established an organization to help inmates return to society. At one point during the convention, several legal immigrants were sworn in as citizens of the United States.
One particularly significant talk was made by an exile from communist Cuba who escaped to freedom in the United States. He was now worried because he saw the same socialism and unrest beginning here. He commented that he had nowhere else to go.
A poll taken during the first half of the Republican Convention concluded that 24% of Blacks were prepared to vote for Trump. 32% of Hispanics were also so inclined. If these figures are correct, then Donald Trump will win reelection. The Republican Convention was the first to make a really concerted effort to court minority voters, and the RNC did a convincing job. It’s worth taking a few moments to review the speakers to see what Trump has already done and what he plans to do in the future for those voters.
Haughey is Senior Advisor of the Texas Republican County Chairman’s Association.