Tuning in to the Republican National Convention this week, viewers could be forgiven for thinking they had switched on the Democratic convention of yesteryear, what with all the up-and-coming women and minority politicians taking the stage. It’s a contrast with Democrats, who will trot out a bunch of timeworn white guys next week in Charlotte to help make the party’s case to the nation.
It is one of this presidential election’s most striking juxtapositions that Mitt Romney, a Republican throwback, is leading a renaissance of down-ballot diversity. And President Obama, dependent on high minority turnout and support, is counting on a group of largely white political veterans to vouch for him at next week’s Democratic National Convention.
But the seeming incongruity belies a bigger political truth: Both parties are using their conventions to portray weaknesses as strengths. Republicans, traditionally lagging in support from women and minorities, are highlighting fresh, diverse faces. Meanwhile, Democrats, struggling to win over white, working-class voters, have chosen speakers who they hope will resonate with that crowd.