Post Reports - Two conventions, two American realities

Political correspondent Dan Balz looks back at two very different conventions that painted two different portraits of America. Plus, NBA reporter Ben Golliver and sports columnist Jerry Brewer on what happened in the bubble and what it means for the role of sports in protests against racial injustice.Read more:Trump and Biden look to brutal fall campaign over pandemic, race and the economyMost sports leagues pause with second day of protests, some more unified than othersNBA players set a new st

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From The Newsroom of the Washington Post. This is Vanessa. Bling. Hey, it's Phillip. Hi, this is Dan back from whisper 40i Morton powers.

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It's Friday, August 28th.

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What the conventions can tell us about the campaign ahead and how the NBA protest could change the future of sports.

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Thank you very much. Thank you very much for me exactly what it was like on this last night of the Republican National Convention on the most striking thing. I think was the degree to which the Trump campaign just simply appropriated the White House as a campaign backdrop senior political correspondent for the Post gathered here at our beautiful and Majestic White House.

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Known all over the world as the people's house. We cannot help but Marvel at the miracle. That is our Great American story. No president has ever done this the fact is I'm here.

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What's the name of that building?

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It's in violation of all of the traditions and then perhaps the what they did.

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But they went ahead and did it anyway.

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wonderful place with an incredible history

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But it's all because of you looked beautiful and the White House is a beautiful place. But in the past people who have been in the White House, whether they are the president or the people to work for them who have any involvement in the campaign haven't have literally set up separate operations such a separate fax machine a separate phone line. We know that if you're a member of Congress, you can't call people and raise money in your Congressional office. You have to go somewhere else that is separate from that. This was a complete blurring of the lines by the president in in the most flagrant way imaginable. The South lawn was packed with people the fireworks that followed which included spelling out Trump 20/20 in this guy over the Washington Monument was quite unbelievable actually to look at it. And at the same time just outside the White House in the black lives matter Plaza you had demonstrators and protesters.

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Jarring as it seems you had those two events one beautifully staged and the other the real raw emotion of people protesting about racial Injustice. You had all of that colliding last night as both symbolically and in reality what this campaign right now is about

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Together we will write the next chapter.

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of the Great American story

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for the last 2 weeks to Wylie different national conventions have taken place back-to-back and it was just a friendly shocking to see how different those images can be no coming out of the democratic convention. There is a sense that this is a country that is being rocked by systemic Injustice and racism and a fundamental disbelief in science and public health policy that is what is going to bring on an apocalyptic future and then coming out of this week with the Republican National Convention. You see the sense that America is being driven into lawlessness sent this focus on chaos and cities in protest and what that means and unrest and a feeling that President Trump is the only person who can bring back offense of Law & Order do after watching and Reporting on both of them. What was the feeling that you were left with candidates in these two parties are talking about 2 striking.

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Different Americas in one area they agree, which is the significance of this election and both sides agree that if the other side wins there is an apocalyptic future for the state of the country the worst pandemic in over a hundred years the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression the most compelling call for racial Justice since the 60s. So the question for us is simple are we ready and their vision of what that apocalypse would look like is fundamentally different democrat-run cities throughout America. This problem could easily be fixed if they wanted to.

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Just call we're ready to go in will take care of you problem in a matter of hours just call and comparing the two conventions. One thing I would say is that in addition to projecting the diversity of the country that the Democrats did and the focus on racism and racial Justice or Injustice the other Focus that they wanted to put forward was the severity of the pandemic and the degree to which Joe Biden would handle that differently and in their view more responsibly than President Trump has done and what we saw this week at the Republican convention was certainly a much greater focus on the chaos in the violence that has come with the protests over the police shootings of unarmed black men and that any mention of the pandemic is one of us success story of President Trump talking about how great we're doing in response to coronavirus rather than an acknowledgement of

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The failures right? I mean it was striking that when Melania Trump made a comment about the lives being disrupted in and expressing sympathy for people who have lost loved ones that it was so notable at the Convention as opposed to something. That would be a kind of an ordinary thing President Trump. I think had one paragraph in his speech on Thursday night. We will defeat the virus and the pandemic and emerge stronger than ever before but for the most part, you're right that they're they're talking about it as if it is something most in the past. We are delivering life-saving Therapies.

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And will produce a vaccine before the end of the year and to the degree. It is not or maybe even sooner. There is a vaccine that's going to arrive very very quickly as well. But dr. Foutch. She has said perhaps by the end of the year, there will be a vaccine but the president is it always rushing that in part to give people who want help but will he be able to deliver it. I don't know and the other reality is why we are in the middle of this he is not encouraging the kind of behavior that the scientists say what helps to contain this more rapidly which was on display at the RNC where you saw so many audience members sitting right next to each other than masks were not uniform at best and then it did seem like the audience I was there for President Trump speech was not one that was particularly concerned about the pandemic I made it was a did seem like a

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Auburn effort to say we're getting through this and we're going to be fine and I was struck by how few people actually wore a mask. I mean it was it was pretty shocking given how close people were sitting and Ferb the length of time that they were sitting next to one another. I want to focus a little bit more on President Trump's speech itself and specifically how we talked about Joe Biden because I thought it was really interesting that even though many of the criticisms of Biden from the left or that that he's not far enough to the laugh that he's not liberal enough that he has a lot of policy platforms that Hugh more conservative when you hear from President Trump is made out to be really a radical-socialist a lot of things. I think we're really surprising to hear. Well the strategy obviously used to tie Biden to the left wing of the democratic party the truth is that the Democratic platform this year is more liberal than platforms have been in the past. Are there also trying to suggest that whatever you may know about Joe Biden.

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Record pee is a week nominee and would be a weak president and would essentially turn over his presidency to the left wing of the party. If Joe Biden doesn't have the strength to stand up to wild-eyed Marxist Like Bernie Sanders and his fellow radicals and there are many there were many many wish him all the times incredible actually then how is he ever going to stand up for you? He's not and it's just really shocking to see how President Trump was describing these protests by talking about protesters as an artist in agitator is in lawbreakers when they are protesting racial Injustice and the president just didn't acknowledge that or basically lied about that the Republican Party condemns the ride including arson and violence. We have seen in democrat-run cities all

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Like Kenosha Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago and New York and many others democrat-run.

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Well, I think what what was missing was Annie technology of let's save Kenosha which has erupted this week any acknowledgment of what the triggering event was and and that was the shooting of Jacob Lake which was captured on video. That's what set off the protests and the president talked about protests and violence and lawlessness without ever expressing any sympathy for the victim fortunately is not you don't think it was that killed but is that this point paralyzed? So it's it's it's as if he is he is starting the conversation a long way away from the root causes of what have triggered these protests and that you don't that's a fundamental missing piece of the argument that he's dealing with given that message.

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President Trump and Republicans are trying to send about Biden and how they believe that he's going to relinquish power to the more radical end of the democratic party with that along with this split screen of what's been happening in Kenosha. And the protest there. Do you think that this image of lawlessness in America and Biden be unable to control the chaos? And unrest do you think that that is something that is actually going to take hold and be sailing into for voters over the next couple of months watching and see I mean there is some evidence already. Overwhelming at this point, but there's some evidence that attitudes and opinions about the black lives matter movement have shifted somewhat from June after the protests that follow the killing of George Floyd to today and we can't factor in what's happened in Kenosha this week because it's too soon.

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But the degree to which people are not as supportive of the black lives matter movement, the more the possibility is that the message of chaos and violence and lawlessness at the Trump campaign in the president are arguing could begin to take hold and if it takes hold in places like Wisconsin or Minnesota or Pennsylvania or Michigan those states which are obviously crucial to the outcome of the election in two of those States being epicenters of the killings and protests that have followed those killings that might be enough in the end to the ship the election given how close those states were four years ago when it comes to the next ten weeks before election day. What should we expect to see from President Trump and from Joe Biden next Blood start with the president. He was quite clear last night where he's heading a it's that Biden will turn the country over to the left wing and be that the law.

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Call S&S the violence in the streets that you are seeing will get worse and potentially come to your neighborhood. The Biden campaign will be continuing to focus as much effort as they can on the coronavirus pandemic and the degree to which the president in their estimation has mishandled it there is receptivity to that as we know because in the survey research data, the judgment about how President Trump has handled. It has been very harsh and it got worse between March and the middle of summer. They also want to talk about racial Injustice. It is very vital to the core of the democratic party that that be a part of the message.

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Where they're potentially conflicted is they also Joe Biden's trying to get some of those white working-class voters who went for Trump in 2016 to vote for him this time around and so he's going to have to figure out how he deals with the violence that has a company that peaceful protest.

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Dan bolts is a senior political correspondent for the Post.

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What stands out to me is this just watching the Republican Reventon not to mention and then this feeling the sphere right like

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All you do is keep hearing.

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It's

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it's amazing.

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Why we keep loving this country and this country does not look as bad.

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He became clear very quickly after the police shooting of Jacob Lake in Kenosha, Wisconsin that numerous NBA players at taking that news and bad video too hard. I want to send my prayers out to Jacob Lake in that family is not right Jacob noticed us a terrible situation that we're going through. This country still has bigger than just the game and I'm not taking anything from the game. But this is like what continues to happen with the police brutality towards my kind is this is very troubling. My name is FanDuel National NBA writer for the Washington Post. I'm reporting live inside the NBA Bubble at Disney World in Florida after the stork week in the NBA that saw the Milwaukee Bucks decide not to take the court for game on Wednesday, which triggered the postponement of numerous games this week.

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The Milwaukee Bucks showed up at the arena on Wednesday for their game against the Orlando Magic with their jerseys on with their warm-up song and the Orlando Magic actually took the court minutes before the game. They were ready to go. The referees. Were there NBA officials were there. Of course, there was one problem the Milwaukee Bucks never took the court. They stayed in their locker room and held a team meeting for more than 3 hours. Ultimately when they emerged a address to small group of reporters who was on scene demanding Justice for Jacob play saying that they had decided not to play as a way to protest his shooting so they cannot be on basketball for we pick the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin. We are expected to play at a high-level give maximum effort to hold each other accountable. We hold our stuff to that stand here. And in this moment, we are demanding the same from lawmakers and law enforcement.

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We're calling for justice for Jacob Lake and demand offer be held accountable the Bucs decision triggered a meeting of the NBA players on Wednesday night to discuss what their plan would be. You know, all the NBA stars got into the mix as did the National Basketball Players Association, which is the players union. There was kind of a heated conversation about what are the best next steps do you but we want to go home and it briefly seemed on Wednesday night like the entire bubble experiment would be in Jeopardy on Thursday. The players held a meeting they decided to continue with play. However, the NBA has now lost three days of schedule games to the box action.

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The fact that they didn't go all the way and in their season which would have created a level of trauma to their bank accounts and to the future of the entire league. I can understand why they stopped short of that that there's there's power in the restraint there.

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and then it created this Avalanche throughout the rest of the Sports World multiple leagues cancelled an enormous amount of games and sports went as close to dark as it has been since March 12th, when the coronavirus cause them to stop playing

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I'm Jerry Brewer Sports columnist for the Washington Post.

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I don't know if we will ever see the majority of a sports League unify around racial Justice in this way. However, what I do know is that a precedent has been set that fundamentally changes civil disobedience in sports when players really want to take a stand on something and when they can build a consensus there is something different in the Playbook that they can do to get people's attention and while it may not speak to Something in society as a whole there are a lot of issues that are very specific to Sports in which you could use this and get the attention of the leaders in sports.

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So for the fans the message kind of becomes maybe the direction that Sports is headed. Maybe the direction that Society has pushed for it's it's just not going to be obsessed with relating to everybody. I'm wondering how effective these protests have been because of course there have been some people saying that this is all just for show that it doesn't really change anything but I did think that it was notable on a former colleague of ours Wesley Larry. He tweeted that he'd spoken to Jacob Lake sunkel. Of course Jacob lake is basically at the center of all this and Blake's uncle has said that he really appreciated this stands from the NBA and the WNBA and that he and the rest of Jacob Lakes family have really taken this to heart into in some ways. It does feel like this is a powerful form of protest or at least a powerful form of statement. Yes. It's all tied together. Some people say all you're doing is protesting in there is no

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Blacks in the protest means nothing as a matter of fact that even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football coach Bruce Arians as a personal thing. I would I would beg them to take action by the calls and either supported financially or do something to change the situation cuz protesting doesn't do crap in my opinion. There was a tremendous backlash against him for saying that this is a part of how you express yourself in a Democratic Society.

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We are dedicating this season to Brianna Taylor and outstanding EMT who was murdered over a hundred and thirty days ago in her home. The WNBA has partnered with say her name campaign committed to say the names in fighting for justice for black women, which is the strongest messaging steel among any sports leagues during this time black women who are so often forgotten in this fight for justice who do not have people marching in the streets for them. We will say her name Sandra Bland Tatiana Jefferson Dominique, Remy Fells and Brianna Taylor. We will be a voice for the voiceless sports leagues in their popularity. I think I've done tremendous work and getting a greater group of people to really understand what the problem is and how desperate and how urgent people feel about it.

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What is considered acceptable for athletes going forward because I think what's interesting is that up until this point now you had some leaves that had an attitude that you know players are here to play it or not. Sure to talk or speak or think and then you had other leaves like the NBA that was basically making this argument of you know, you play the game and as long as you play the game, you are free to be passionate about the things that you won't be passionate about on as long as it doesn't affect the game. But now we're at the point where the protest does affect the game and then all of a sudden the game itself, and the play itself are considered fair game for things that could get disrupted in order to send a message.

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The great thing about this is it happened in a bubble in which the NBA has essentially said we're going to wall ourselves off from society and try to evade the novel coronavirus and finish. Our season coronavirus hasn't been able to get through the bubble racism did and that should should be a message to everyone about how Sports is not separate from society Sports is a microcosm of society. And in order for sports not to be affected. We have to do the work there so many parallels between covid-19 and racial Injustice and sports and how it intersects in this basketball players and football players in baseball players and hockey players to just shut up and play The Duality of sport has been permanently terminated people are going to have to get with the idea that

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Athletes are human beings. It's not that there is no separation. Have anything to do with the fact that they felt empowered to take the stand but they're basically all stuck together walled off from the rest of society right now. What what started all of this with an e on George Floyd neck, we were all in a high level of isolation at that time. And I think when you're isolated and your life is simplified, you see things a lot clearer. I think the same concept as happened with the NBA and I think for them a lot of it's the realization that they're limited their isolated from the rest of the world and it just seems like nothing will stop that's very clear to them and that's affecting them in tremendous ways.

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How do you expect the this new attitude about protesting on athletes might cause conflicts in the future in coming months? I mean, I'm thinking specifically of the NFL which has historically been much less tolerant of outspokenness from from athletes. And if and when they resume their season, will this be a thing that players will have the ability to do and if they try to do it what will happen if they decide that they will not play because of what is happening in the country. But since it is here for the rest of the year the tension is here until there is some kind of finality on on whether there will be reformed at a national level and in some of these municipalities because this tension that is building between sports fans who just won a diversion and athletes who are saying I'm more than a toy Entertainer

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Is going to continue to build until Society settles down the most.

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Heartbreaking thing for me was to watch Dominic Smith of the New York Mets crying during an interview pleading Felicitas Isley have been sale.

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It was a long day for me. So.

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And trying to explain why he played his heart wasn't in it.

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The rest of sports was taken.

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Buy surprised by all of this and it's taking them a while to figure out what they want to do. And I think they felt a strong sense that they have to have the NBA's back that we're all in this together that it's if it's bigger than basketball has to be bigger than football ass be bigger than baseball. It has to be bigger than all of the sports and it took him awhile to figure out what kind of state and they wanted to take whether it's skip practices skip games those kinds of things but what you see is as United a sports world as you are going to get which is incredibly difficult because they all have different demographics in terms of who plays the sports and who watches them.

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Jerry Brewer is a sports columnist for the Post Ben golliver covers the NBA on Friday afternoon, the league and its Players Association announced that as part of their agreement to resume games on Saturday some Arenas across the US will be converted to voting centers for the 2020 election.

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That's it for post reports. Thanks for listening. Are you going to producer is madhulika? Sikka, our senior producer is Maggie Penman are producers are Alexis D Arena Flores, Lena Muhammad, Jordan Marie Smith ratings for nasci and Ted Muldoon. Also composed. Our theme music the post director of audio is just all I Martine Powers will be back on Monday with more stories from the Washington Post.
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