Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Will convention 'reset' bring Democratic voters to polls?

By By Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor
updated 5:35 AM EDT, Mon September 10, 2012
The Obama family takes to the stage as the gathering draws to a close on Thursday, September 6, the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/27/politics/gallery/best-of-rnc/index.html' target='_blank'>See the best photos from the Republican National Convention. </a> The Obama family takes to the stage as the gathering draws to a close on Thursday, September 6, the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. See the best photos from the Republican National Convention.
HIDE CAPTION
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
Best of the DNC
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roland Martin says convention was therapeutic for a disillusioned Democratic Party
  • He says speakers from Cory Booker to Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton energized the crowd
  • He says event was crucial reset for Democrats, invoked core values, set aggressive tone
  • Martin: GOP's dislike for Obama will get out their vote; Dems base must do same for Obama

Editor's note: Roland Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."

(CNN) -- When thousands of Democrats descended on Charlotte the weekend of Labor Day, the spirit of the party faithful could very well be summed up by the title of a wonderful song by Joe Sample and Lalah Hathaway, "When Your Life Was Low."

Political conventions really are highly orchestrated affairs where nothing is left to chance (well, except when your party platform omits God and doesn't name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel). But for Democrats, it served more as three days of therapy in North Carolina for a party disillusioned by the heavy weight of a difficult economy, which contributed to massive losses at the polls in 2010.

Democrats I talked with early this week were apprehensive, hopeful -- and some were scared. Other than the debacle of Clint Eastwood's mind-boggling speech, the GOP put on a very well-organized convention that tore into President Barack Obama's economic policies.

Roland Martin
Roland Martin

Polls consistently showed Republicans more enthusiastic about their candidate, Mitt Romney, than Democrats for Obama. His handling of the economy has taken a major hit, even as his likeability rating trumps Mitt's.

"When your life was low,

You had nowhere to go.

People turned their backs on you,

And everybody said that you were through."

Democrats began their therapy session Tuesday with fiery, focused and fierce speeches by Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and the resoundingly successful Michelle Obama.

Gergen: Harsh realities for Democrats

Clinton steals show at DNC
Obama: Presidency reveals who you are
Deval Patrick on the RNC plan and 'God'
'Regular folks' 'testify' for candidates

That was followed Wednesday by an electric speech by U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri on Wednesday that wasn't shown nationwide but had the delegates behaving as if they were in a revival. The speech from Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, wasn't a barn burner but was serviceable in exciting the crowd for the ultimate closer, President Bill Clinton. The room was on fire as the former president tore into the plans of Romney and Paul Ryan with the precision of a surgeon.

Then it was on to Thursday, where Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, the last surviving speaker at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, focused the hall on the GOP's voter suppression efforts; former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm delivered one of the most animated speeches in memory; Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry shook off the boring label and swung hard at Romney-Ryan; and they were followed by a strong, presidential speech by Obama.

While many in the media have decried Obama's speech as not having the normal oratory flair of others he's delivered, it's critical to understand that it was an in-your-pew speech that connected in a much more personal way than he has done in the past. Everything ain't champagne and caviar. Regular folks eat meat, rice and gravy!

"I took you in, made you strong again

Put you back together.

Out of all the dreams you left along the way,

You left me shining."

The inspiration of 2008 and the theme of hope and change clearly couldn't be duplicated. The beauty of such a message is that it is indefinable. You can have 1,000 people believe in it. The problem is they also carry 1,000 different expectations, and even if you make 60% of them happy, you're still facing a disappointed lot.

Begala: Democrats fix their enthusiasm gap

Last week's convention served as a much-needed reset for Democrats. They were reminded of who they are and for what they stand. The aggressive tone the delegates took when issues such as a woman's right to choose were raised points to a defense of Democratic ideals, even if you disagree.

"Now you're doing well

From stories I hear tell.

You own the world again.

Everyone's your friend."

Now that the marker has been set for the next 60 or so days of campaigning, the question is whether the three days of Democratic unity in Charlotte can be bottled up and spread across the nation, especially in battleground states: Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Wisconsin.

This election will come down to who gets their base voters out, and to do that, they must care. On the Republican side, they care enough about not liking Obama to drive their folks to the polls.

Now we'll see whether the Democrats' fits of political depression can be shaken off after the show of rhetorical force. Let's see if there is a renewed vigor from the constituencies that vaulted Obama to the White House four years ago.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 3:18 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Frida Ghitis says as violence claims three U.S. doctors, the temptation is to despair, but aid to Afghanistan has made it a much better place
updated 2:33 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says in California, Asian-Americans are against the use of racial criteria in public colleges.
updated 2:44 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Heidi Schlumpf says if the Pope did tell an Argentinian woman married to a divorced man that she could take Communion, it may signify a softening of church rules on the divorced and sacraments
updated 12:29 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Norcross, Georgia, Chief of Police Warren Summers says the new law that allows guns in bars, churches and schools will have unintended dangerous consequences.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Mel Robbins says social media is often ruled by haters, and people can be brutally honest.
updated 12:44 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Mike Downey says the golf purists can take a hike; the game needs radical changes to win back fans and players.
updated 12:41 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Robert Hickey says most new housing development is high-end, catering to high-earners.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Alexander Motyl says as Russian President Putin snarled at Ukraine, his foreign minister was signing a conciliatory accord with the West. Whatever the game, the accord is a major stand down by Russia
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Les Abend says at every turn, the stowaway teen defied the odds of discovery and survival. What pilot would have thought to look for a person in the wheel well?
updated 7:04 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Q & A with artist Rachel Sussman on her new book of photographs, "The Oldest Living Things in the World."
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Martin Blaser says the overuse of antibiotics threatens to deplete our bodies of "good" microbes, leaving us vulnerable to an unstoppable plague--an "antibiotic winter"
updated 1:37 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
John Sutter asks: Is it possible to eat meat in modern-day America and consider yourself an environmentalist without being a hypocrite?
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Sally Kohn notes that Meb Keflezighi rightly was called an American after he won the Boston Marathon, but his status in the U.S. once was questioned
updated 8:56 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Denis Hayes and Scott Denman say on this Earth Day, the dawn of the Solar Age is already upon us and the Atomic Age of nuclear power is in decline
updated 4:36 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Retired Coast Guard officer James Loy says a ship captain bears huge responsibility.
updated 1:08 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Peter Bergen says the latest strikes are part of an aggressive U.S. effort to target militants, including a bomb maker
updated 9:45 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Cynthia Lummis and Peter Welch say 16 agencies carry out national intelligence, and their budgets are top secret. We need to know how they are spending our money.
updated 8:35 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Julian Zelizer says President Obama knows more than anyone that he has much at stake in the midterm elections.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Eric Sanderson says if you really want to strike a blow for the environment--and your health--this Earth Day, work to get cars out of cities and create transportation alternatives
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Bruce Barcott looks at the dramatic differences in marijuana laws in Colorado and Louisiana
updated 4:47 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jim Bell says NASA's latest discovery supports the notion that habitable worlds are probably common in the galaxy.
updated 2:17 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jay Parini says even the Gospels skip the actual Resurrection and are sketchy on the appearances that followed.
updated 1:52 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Graham Allison says if an unchecked and emboldened Russia foments conflict in a nation like Latvia, a NATO member, the West would have to defend it.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
John Sutter: Bad news, guys -- the pangolin we adopted is missing.
updated 2:25 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Ben Wildavsky says we need a better way to determine whether colleges are turning out graduates with superior education and abilities.
updated 6:26 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Charles Maclin, program manager working on the search and recovery of Malaysia Flight 370, explains how it works.
updated 8:50 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jill Koyama says Michael Bloomberg is right to tackle gun violence, but we need to go beyond piecemeal state legislation.
updated 2:45 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT