Which Convention was more of a Shitshow, Republican or Democratic?

In Moderation
Aug 3, 2016 · 5 min read

No one’s happier that convention season is over than the residents of Philadelphia and Cleveland. Recently the term shitshow trended online. It’s a bipartisan word, and seems appropriate on several levels. Both conventions were branded shitshows. So which convention was worse? We can get a pretty good read on that using several metrics. Voter sentiment may be the most important, but there’s also quality of the speeches, viewership, self assessment by each party, and of course the stats on the application of the term shitshow.

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Google searches for the term shitshow

Voter Sentiment

The main goal of the convention is to rally support for the respective candidates. That goal was initially achieved by both parties.

Republican Bounce

The Republican convention had the expected effect of a few percentage points in the polls last week, leading to my tie forecast. Nate Silver at 538 describes the typical convention bump and how back to back convention bumps being equal would cancel each other out by the end of August.

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Democratic Bounce

The graph above, made on July 25th, projects a Democratic bounce equal to the Republican one. But this week, we’re already seeing a more significant swing in the polls for the Democrats than the Republicans experienced. Nate Silver noticed already that Clinton’s Bounce Appears Bigger Than Trump’s.

We don’t know the log term effect on the polls yet, but indications are that the Democrats got more voters out of their convention, and the Republicans had the bigger shitshow in the voters eyes.

Keynote Speakers


“He will never, ever, give up. And, most importantly, he will never, ever, let you down.”

Melania Trump is infamous for this speech. She actually did a good job. At first it was received well, but unfortunately, she and her speech writer included a 27 word section from Michele Obama’s convention speech in 2008. While her million plus youtube views are impressive, the video comparing her speech to Mrs. Obama’s has over 3 million views.

“So look. So, don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great — that somehow we need to make it great again — because this right now is the greatest country on earth. And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth.”

Michele Obama delivered what has been called a speech for the ages. By the time she was done twitter began to trend with Michele 2020. I didn’t bother to check twitter for the phrase Melania 2020. One thing you can say about Melania is she picked one heck of a speaker to emulate.


“ We’ve actually started to believe that solving our great problems is an impossible task, and that’s why we need to elect a man who has a track record of accomplishing the impossible.”

Donald Trump Jr. gave one of the better speeches at the RNC. He made a case for his father, and even touched on policy. Tuesday was a tough day for the RNC though. Leaders were concerned about the lack of speakers available, and even conservative commentators noted “any semblance of consistency fell completely apart pretty early on Tuesday.” It’s not surprising then, that the link to google trends above shows searches on the term ‘shitshow’ at an all time high that Tuesday.

“Hillary will make us stronger together. You know it because she’s spent a lifetime doing it.

Bill Clinton is one of the great speakers of our generation. He weaved a warm narrative about life with Hillary and Chelsea, and along the way highlighted the extensive political experience of his wife. Pundit’s noted , he masterfully buried the reality star without saying his name. Trump Jr had a notable effort, but he’s no match for the former president.


“Should I have the awesome privilege to serve as your vice president, I promise to keep faith with that conviction. To pray daily for a wise and ‘discerning heart … for who is able to govern this great people?’”

Mike Pence painted a picture of his middle America upbringing and strong family values, then covered major talking points such as building strong borders, and ridding the world of ISIS and threw in a few jabs at Hillary. But Pence’s decent speech was overshadowed by other antics. Earlier in the evening Ted Cruz spoke and refused to endorse Trump. Searches for the term ‘shithow’ that day broke the all time high set the day before.

“God has created in our country a beautiful and rich tapestry, an incredible cultural diversity that succeeds when we embrace everybody in love and battle back against the forces, the dark forces of division.”

Tim Kaine started his speech highlighting his blue-collar upbringing, and his Catholic faith. He built up Hillary , then went into attack mode on Trump. Some have begun to question whether attacking Trump is even necessary anymore. It may even feed the trolls. While Kaine was effective, it’s hard to say he bettered Mike Pence’s speech.

“This is a more fundamental choice — about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government.” — and — “Don’t boo, vote!”

Barack Obama is the reason we have to call Bill Clinton “one of” the greatest speakers of our generation. Another phenomenal orator, he laid out his impressive accomplishments, and pointed out some of Trumps more dangerous and divisive statements. He then built up Clinton’s accomplishments and emphasized the conventions theme, “Stronger together”. Searches for term “shitshow” began to fall to pre-convention levels as the DNC really set itself apart from the RNC, which did not have a single speech by a former president, compared to two at the DNC.


“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”

Donald Trump surprised many and spoke for over 75 minutes. I didn’t think he was capable of going more than an hour without posting on Twitter. He presented a gloomy picture of America’s economy and out standing in the world. With gas currently under $2 a gallon, the economy humming and unemployment under 5%, that’s a tough sell. And apparently not many people are buying. Gallop showed that it was the worst speech it had ever polled with just 35% of respondents rating it excellent or good. A CNN instant poll showed 56% of viewers reacted positively to the speech.

“But even more important than the history we make tonight is the history we will write together in the years ahead. Let’s begin with what we’re going to do to help working people in our country get ahead and stay ahead.”

Hillary Clinton aside from being one of the most experienced candidates for President in history. is also an effective speaker. Certainly she has learned a thing or two from her husband. She hammered Trump’s infamous “I alone can fix it” discussing the importance of building good relationships and how good teams are “stronger together”. 44% of respondents rated her speech “excellent or good”. 71% of viewers in the CNN instant poll reacted positively.

The RNC was certainly the bigger shitshow by any measure. It’s already being called one of the worst conventions in history, and has been labeled a disaster by conservative pundits. Voters have been swinging Democrat steadily since last week, and it’s not hard to understand why. Clearly if someone cannot organize supporters for a weeklong convention then they aren’t capable of organizing a cabinet team that would fulfill the duties of the President of the United States. Stronger together indeed.

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