Democratic National Convention Wrap Up

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The Democratic National Convention ends Thursday with a speech from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton Trump. Hear analysis of the convention and the speech from political consultants John Loredo and Mario Diaz, as well as Debbie Lopez, who will be live via satellite from Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center.


TED SIMONS: Coming up next on Arizona Horizon: the Democratic National Convention ended tonight. We'll have analysis from political consultants here in-studio and live from the convention in Philadelphia. A convention wrap up, next, on Arizona Horizon.

ANNOUNCER: Arizona "Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of Arizona PBS, members of your PBS station. Thank you.

TED: Good evening and welcome to Arizona Horizon, I'm Ted Simons.
The Democratic National Convention closed tonight in Philadelphia with Hillary Clinton delivering her acceptance speech as the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. Joining us now with analysis of the convention are political consultants John Loredo, a former state lawmaker, and Mario Diaz, government relations consultant and former deputy chief of staff for Governor Janet Napolitano, and joining us live via satellite from the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Debbie Lopez, former executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party. Thank you for joining us.

Debbie, we'll start with you--you are there. You heard all this. You were on the floor as Hillary Clinton gave her acceptance speech. Your thoughts, please.

DEBBIE LOPEZ: I thought she really accomplished what she needed to do.
She invigorated the crowd, she gave them their talking points. That was the biggest thing for me especially as a Hillary supporter. She gave us the ammunition and words to say, and really gave us a... the motivation and excitement and motivated the troops to go out there and showed us how historical.
Everybody felt like they were part of history in the making.

TED: As far as you could see and your concern, what did she have to say and did she say it?

DEBBIE: I think she did. I think one of the things the Bernie supporters really needed to hear was that she was going to take those issues from the platform, that they came together to actually get them done. And so in her speech, I felt like she really put the onus on the people, and said this is what you want and the only way we're going to get that is if you work to make it happen. I think she said all of the things the Bernie supporters wanted. My mom was a Bernie delegate and I asked her, what did you think? Did you like the speech? And she said, "I loved it." And she said all of the right things. All of the things I needed to hear she said them.
I felt...

TED: Sorry to interrupt. Did you hear what needed to be said to win over Republican moderates or those not happy with Donald Trump? Did that message get across?

DEBBIE: I felt they were extremely strategic in the way they had the generals come out there and the Republican Reagan employee, or former employee, come out there and really talk to that group of constituents. She did all of the right things to try to get that vote.

JOHN LOREDO: Debbie, this is John. One of the biggest things she needed to do was unify the base coming out of the convention. You spoke a little bit about what your mom said. What was your mom's overall feeling while she was giving that speech? What was the discussion and feeling after?

DEBBIE: Obviously we both know that the Bernie supporters range from, you know, a youthful advocate that is... it is their first campaign They are heartbroken about Bernie. The progressive Democrats, they are strong voters, they all went for Hillary. They all came to the table and they were happy. Everybody was heartbroken. All of the Bernie people were crying every time they showed Bernie. It was very emotional, but I think she said everything that she needed to say to mobilize the Bernie supporters.

MARIO DIAZ: Debbie, this is Mario. I am interested on a human factor. Your mom, your aunts have been involved in politics for so many years. Tell me their emotional reaction when the secretary was nominated to be a candidate for president.

DEBBIE: It was... I will just tell you that I probably have been crying since Monday. I mean, I feel like this convention was one of my favorites and I have been to conventions since '96. I just felt they really captured the historical element of it. You really felt like you were a part of history in the making. And regardless of your party, you know, it is just like oh, wow. We are actually going to make history here. So I think they did an excellent job. You know, Michelle Obama knocked it out of the park.

It was obviously annoying for supporters to have the chanting going on, but those Bernie supporters they may not, you know, come out to vote for Hillary.
I don't think they will vote for trump. I was on the New York bus and they were talking about it and they wanted to make sure they keep Hillary on track and keep the pressure on and, you know, the Bernie supporters were quite vocal about, you know, well I want to wait and see how this pans out. I want to see if she actually says, you know, in her speech that she is going to do what she is going to do. And she did - she talked about all of the things in the platform that, you know, they had come to those agreements on.

TED: Talk about the expectations, if you would, for tonight's speech after the First Lady and President Obama gave terrific speeches by all accounts, just fantastic addresses. She had to come out there and win over a crowd that has heard pretty good speeches going on. Did she manage to succeed?

DEBBIE: I think she did. I think that she was right on point. She was not moved by any kind of Bernie outbursts of any sort. She was, you know, she just kicked it out of the park. I really do think she did incredibly well.

TED: As far as the convention as a whole is concerned… memories you will take and speeches that you thought especially hit the market. Parents of the Muslim war hero spoke tonight and had the place absolutely in their pocket. That was a very emotional speech. All of this from a distance now--is this going to work for Democrats? Because right now the country seems like it is in a ticked off mood and Donald Trump seems to be riding that wave.
Can this work for Democrats?

DEBBIE: I think it can. I think that everyone sees the alternative as, you know, a person who could be our next president with controls of nuclear codes and that scares the jeepers out of everyone.

TED: The previous speeches and throughout the week, memories you will take and what you think the public will take.

DEBBIE: I loved Michelle Obama's speech. I hope she runs for office in the future. I loved the Muslim father. That one just broke my heart. And I really did love the generals. That was really moving. I was in tears in that one, too. I am a big crybaby, but I really...there is so much of...I mean Bill, I was his state director in '96 and so I thought he did such a great job and he told the story and actually, shed light on Hillary. I mean I thought I knew all of the stories, and really I had no idea a lot of these different stories about her.
That she is a change agent and she is, you know, she has just always done this stuff without having anyone or wanting anybody to know or caring about anybody knowing.
She has devoted her life to service.

MARIO: Debbie, this is Mario. I got the sense from this convention that there was an err of confidence. What started off before the gavel sounded was a concern by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and that was moved away but i got the sense the confidence followed what the candidate had, which is confidence that she's going to win this race.
For example, we have the Black Lives Matter. I don't know if any other presidential candidate would have put that on their convention. And you had it with the police officers, with so many African Americans in the room. And then you had a Muslim speaking, which is fabulous and I love it, but who would have thought?

DEBBIE: Right. And the way they framed it was beautiful. They said, look, our kitchen table is filled with arguments, and then we sit down and we come together and are thankful for each other. This is what family does and this is what the Democratic family does. We embrace ideas and we embrace, you know, making change in our community, and so that is who we are. We are not scared of having that dialogue. We are not on talking points. We allow each other to have ideas and compromise on those ideas and that is who we are as a party. That is why I am a Democrat. So you know, I appreciated them bringing all of those issues to err and not being afraid of them and not being so scripted.

And you know, they really... they did not take anything for granted, because every seminar was a call to action. I mean they said, you know, they would say time and time again, this is not going to be easy. This is not going to be...this is not a sure thing.

It is going to take you taking the next hundred and whatever days those are, 103 days that are left, and working and devoting your time and effort to getting this woman elected. And so it was all about a call to action. So it was very exciting. It was so exciting to be a part of that.

TED: Debbie, last question--we're almost out of time here, but--the Arizona delegation. How divided was that delegation going in? What is the status now?

Debbie: You know, I feel that we are really a... they felt like I was a Bernie delegate and I had a responsibility to being his delegate, so they all decided, okay, what shall we do?
Should we vote for Hillary or should we vote for Bernie? But they all felt that, you know, they should go do the right thing and go ahead and vote for Bernie. And I feel like everyone is so on board. They feel that Bernie served a great purpose because he made Hillary a better candidate. That is what they feel. I feel that they are confidant.

TED: Debbie Lopez, thank you for joining us and staying up late with us there in Philadelphia. We certainly appreciate it.

And gentlemen, that is what Debbie Lopez saw in Philadelphia on the convention floor. What did you see? Because what you saw is what most Americans saw.
Did you see what you needed to see?

JOHN: I think so. I think Hillary did a great job doing a number of different things.
It was a wide ranging speech. I think that she did what she needed to do unify the Democratic base. That was key coming out of this thing. Whenever you leave a convention, you have to leave unified and have all of the people in that camp confidant about what the next move is going to be, confidant in their candidate so they can hit the ground running. She did that. She hit all of the issues that were important to the Bernie supporters, and her own as well.

TED: Was the speech charismatic enough? That speech followed some pretty fiery oratory here. And let's face it--that's not her strong point. Did it hurt her?

John: I don't think it hurt her at all. Number one, i think she did a great job communicating tonight. She unified the base, she qualified herself, she made it very clear and touched upon the historic nature of nominating the first woman in history. She did that upfront and then she made sure to move into qualifying herself, so that even though it is a historical theme, it is not as important as the fact she is the most qualified candidate that there has ever been in the history of the country.

After doing that, she picked apart Donald Trump and destroyed his credibility on every issue that he is vulnerable on, and gave a glimpse into what the next months of the campaign is going to be. She had a well rounded, prepared script and it was very positive. She touched on what makes this country strong and it was a very positive speech. It wasn't doom and gloom and in the gutter the way Donald Trump's was.

TED: Talk about that again. The GOP convention, as we talked about, that was a convention that said, we are on the wrong track and a lot of fear, a lot of anger, a lot of frustration. This was, again, hope, optimism, and those sorts of things--Is that the right message for America right now?

MARIO: So let's face it, Ted... sitting at this table we are unique. We probably watched all eight days of convention, Republicans and Democrats, but your average American coming into the living room and turning on the television when Donald Trump spoke, and then eight days later turned on the television when Hillary Clinton spoke.

And I think the juxtaposition will convince American voters that they need to take a deeper look at Hillary Clinton if there were any questions. Because what Hillary did tonight is was what she hadn't done before, which was to come to terms that she is not very well-liked. She needed to introduce herself in a very, very historical type of way, as opposed to only the person who ran this health care and jammed it down our throat.

TED: Did she succeed at that? Was that a more personable Hillary Clinton tonight?

MARIO: I think, cumulatively, within the four days of this convention…it was a journey, and it ended right at the doorstep of Hillary Clinton. And I think she and her surrogates made the point.
Ted: Do you agree with that?

JOHN: Sure. You look at the substance of her speech when she was going through and hitting all of those bullet points and talking to, you know, Americans broadrange.
Talking about protecting a woman's right to determine what her own health care is going to be, talking about increasing the minimum wage, talking about ending Citizens United and getting money out of politics... all of those are populist ideas that appeal to wide ranges of American voters. Donald trump didn't talk about any of that stuff.
He just talked about how bad things are, and he is going to address them by being even worse. That's not a solution. I mean, you can try to appeal to disaffected voters and acknowledge what they are feeling but you have show them a way out of that. Donald trump didn't do that. He kept it in the gutter. Hillary Clinton is going to be talking about all of those issues that matter to Middle America and those issues are why they're going to support her.

TED: If trump stays in the gutter, if you will, and fights effectively there, what do the democrats do? What does Hillary Clinton do?

MARIO: You know, Ted, I think there is going to be voter fatigue regarding Mr. Trump's antics. Today he said he felt like hitting or striking the speakers at the democratic convention. This is an unpredictable individual. With all sincerity, I stated on my Facebook that if there is a Trump administration, and we have children that are 15-16 years old, we should be prepared to have them drafted because this man is so unpredictable that he is scary. And this isn't just coming from a Democrat--this is really coming from someone who loves my country.

TED: Well, with that in mind, though, critics of Hillary Clinton say--and the numbers seem to show--there is a trust factor here. People simply don't trust her. Did she get around that tonight? Because, you know, it is difficult to get around that in a convention speech. What does she have to do?

MARIO: Both candidates have the lowest favorability ratings in history, so they're both starting off with even numbers. People don't understand what Hillary is about, and I think these last four days have helped the voters understand that. I think within the next two or three weeks, you're gonna see a bump in her poll numbers.

TED: Do you agree with that?

JOHN: Yeah. You know, voters will look at the issues that each candidate is talking about. She is talking about populist issues, and voters are going to appeal to that.
Donald, on the other hand… she is going to destroy any bit of credibility he has in business… on you name it. He is vulnerable on these issues, and he is going to get attacked and questioned in a way he hasn't so far. His credibility will be destroyed and she'll be talking about the issues. Voters will go to her.

TED: Now with that in mind, here in Arizona… both conventions are done now, bumps will happen and bumps will go away… here in Arizona, what do you see and do the democrats have a chance here? Not only to win as far as the presidency is concerned, but down ticket items?

JOHN: Yeah, I think so. I think Hillary has a very good chance of winning Arizona. The majority of voters in Arizona are women. You are seeing right now--and you will continue to see--record numbers of young people registering to vote, record numbers of Latinos registering to vote, record numbers of younger women registering to vote for this election, record breaking numbers here in Arizona, and that puts this state in play for Hillary Clinton. And those voters, they appeal to a certain group of issues that Democrats are putting on the table and Republicans are opposed to. That changes the whole dynamic of who is voting in Arizona. It's not just about persuasion, it's about who's and who's not. The electorate will be changed this year and it'll be changed forever

TED: How do Democrats, though… Trump has obviously fed into something here. There's frustration and anger and the whole nine yards. Uneducated white males… I mean, the numbers there are staggering with the difference there in support of Trump. Do the Democrats just say, we have lost that crowd, let's move on? What do you do?

MARIO: That is a good point. Trump is up on Hillary by 32 points on white individuals who have only a high school degree. And that's a tough nut to crack, but that is why for the next two days she is going to be in Pennsylvania--in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia--and then moving on to Ohio and Florida. Those are three key states for us. In Arizona, it is not the time of thinking about "can Democrats or Republicans win"... that's over.

We are in this together. I think voters are going to start to look, regardless of party, at who is the best candidate and who can we trust maybe a little more than the other candidate.

TED: I asked earlier about trust. Has the Clinton campaign crossed that bridge? You know as well as I do the studies show people don't trust her. What can she do?

JOHN: The campaign started tonight. She could talk about the issues. When you talk about those demographics that are not with her now, the key to those demographics are economic policies. She laid out some of those things tonight, like a living wage and an increase in the minimum wage, affordable healthcare, free college tuition, getting rid of debt… those are economic issues that only she is going to talk about. On the flipside is a guy who goes to the bathroom on a gold plated toilet seat. That is your choice, and who those people will ultimately align themselves with…this campaign is barely starting and there is going to be months of rubbing that into their minds, who is better on their issues that affect them personally, and that is Hillary Clinton.

TED: The attacks on Trump from President Obama, Vice President Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Tim Kaine… did they work? And again, how much of that can work before it becomes noise?

JOHN: This is a preview of what the campaign is going to do from here on out.
This is the first step, and what you saw was a really diverse wide range of Americans coming into that campaign showing whose side they are on, like Bloomberg.
That is going to get worse and worse and worse for trump. Hillary will have more and more third party validators validating her as a candidate, and Trump will have more and more third party criticism from folks on his own side convincing voters not to vote for this guy. When you own side turns against you are in deep trouble.

MARIO: Ted, we just witnessed was political spring training. And so the season begins tomorrow. Trump's team cannot compete against Hillary's team.
We had former presidents, former cabinet members, Republicans speaking at the Democratic Convention… Trump couldn't even get anyone from the past. So who is going to go out and speak for him? He can only be so many places.
This is going to be an all-out blitz in the next 90 days, and for Arizona, it's the next 60 days. The ballots go out in October. So this race is going to be just about done in 60 days.
TED: Gentlemen, good analysis. Good to have you here, thank you so much for joining us. Friday on Arizona Horizon it's the Journalists' Roundtable and we will discuss the impact of the recent Republican and Democratic National conventions on Arizona politics. That and more on the next Journalists' Roundtable.

That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons, thank you so much for joining us.
You have a great evening.

John Loredo: Political Consultants, Mario Diaz: Political Consultants, Debbie Lopez: Live via Satellite from Philadelphia

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