Well, I thought we escaped the rain. The Sunlight Foundation is covering convention influence once again this week, this time from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As I write, it’s a downpour outside. The weather may be the same as some days in Tampa but the DNCC couldn’t be more different than the GOP’s gathering. It took nearly 24 hours to even spot a delegate or non-media person last week. In Charlotte, Obama for America and the DNC host committee make it well known that this is their party for the week, from the airport to hotels way outside the city.
There is a celebratory mood here in Charlotte. Personally, it feels very similar to how Washington, D.C., was leading up to President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009. The city seems honored (and prepared) to host this convention. Not only are the sidewalks actually open to the public — as opposed to the constant concrete barriers in Tampa — but the community was encouraged to visit the Uptown area on Monday for CarolinaFest.
Covering a few city blocks, the street fair was just plain fun and surprisingly void of politics. Yes, you saw the ubiquitous Obama font everywhere. Yes, there were numerous corporate sponsors since the host committee didn’t directly organize it. But the thousands of people enjoying a beautiful Labor Day afternoon were more than I saw in Tampa (outside of sitting in the Forum for evening speeches).
We will see if this celebration continues beyond what the public sees; at private and exclusive events reserved for donors and political power players. Follow our convention reports here, check out our pictures here and tune into the Kojo Nnamdi Show this afternoon at 1 pm. I’ll be a guest on the show talking about what we are seeing so far at the Democratic National Convention.