As you probably already know if you follow me on social media, this summer I had the incredible experience of attending the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. I traveled to the conventions with the Wake the Vote cohort. Here are a few things that I noticed.
Both conventions had their fair share of protesters outside the gates of the main arenas. There were many groups that even went to both conventions to protest. It was neat to see how the police dealt with one protest that I witnessed outside of the RNC. Just as it was about to get out of hand, police stood back-to-back and created a barrier to protect the two groups that were yelling at each other. As I walked into the gates for the DNC on the first night, there were many Bernie supporters that screamed at me to “stand up for Bernie” in the arena that night.
The law enforcement at both conventions did an extraordinary job. There was never a moment that I felt unsafe while I was walking around either city. The main noticeable difference in the security at each convention seemed to have to do with the location of the arenas. In Cleveland, Quicken Loans Arena is located in the heart of the city where all the action was taking place, so there was a much larger police presence on the streets. There were also many barriers and blockades on the main roads. In Philadelphia, the Wells Fargo Center was located about 6 miles from all the other convention stuff that was open to the public. This just meant that there wasn’t as many law enforcement officials in a concentrated area as there were in Cleveland. I am very thankful for all of the law enforcement in both cities that helped keep us safe during the conventions.
Inside the Arenas
I wrote about what it was like to be inside Quicken Loans Arena in a previous post. There were a few big differences with the DNC and the RNC in terms of what went on in the arenas. First off, the arena at the DNC felt packed everywhere you walked. It took me an hour and five minutes to wait in line for food on Monday night. The RNC on the other hand, felt kind of empty. When I went on Tuesday night of the RNC, the seats were not even seventy percent full. The next thing that was different between the two conventions was the amount of signs that were given out at the DNC as compared to the RNC. There were multiple signs that were handed out to everyone in the arena every single night that the DNC. The RNC, on the other hand, only gave out a few signs and those were normally just given to delegates on the floor by the stage. A third thing that stood out was the production value in the videos at the DNC. The DNC had more videos between speakers than at the RNC. Also, the DNC videos often had celebrities in them that kept the crowd’s attention.
It was a great two weeks at the conventions. I look forward to the next three months. It’s time to Wake the Vote!