Viewpoint

In 2 weeks, we saw 2 Americas

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama embrace on the third day of the Democratic National Convention.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama embrace on the third day of the Democratic National Convention. Getty Images

The Democratic and Republican conventions offered two starkly different visions of America. Here’s how this old Democrat sees them.

Clinton’s is bright and optimistic. Trump’s is dark and pessimistic.

Clinton says there’s hope. Trump says he’s the only hope.

Clinton is about love and unity. Trump is about fear and loathing.

Clinton says America is great and can be greater. Trump says only he can make it great.

Clinton sounds like Ronald Reagan and Morning in America in 1984. Trump sounds like Walter Mondale and Midnight in America.

Clinton says the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Trump says be afraid, be very afraid.

Clinton speaks in complete sentences and comprehensible thoughts. Trump leaves you reeling with disconnected one-liners and contradictory claims.

Clinton has an army of surrogates and validators: Bill, Chelsea, Obama and Biden. Trump has Ivanka, Christie and Putin.

Clinton was Secretary of State, and the world didn’t blow up. Trump, who knows?

We know most everything about Clinton. We have a lot more to learn about Trump.

August will be about each candidate defining himself or herself – and their opponent. Clinton has the money and discipline to do that. Does Trump?

Gary Pearce is a veteran N.C. Democratic strategist writing on the 2016 conventions.

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