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Voices from the Democratic and Republican conventions

How others see it

Monitor photographers asked attendees at the Republican and Democratic national conventions about their party's themes. 

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Scenes from the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Staff/The Christian Science Monitor

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Political slogans seem to say much – and nothing – at the same time.

That's why we had our photographers roam the convention floors in Cleveland and Philadelphia and ask participants about their views on the prominent themes.

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Their methodology was simple, if hardly scientific: collect a diverse array of people (gender, race, age, etc.) who were willing to talk to them.

The goal was to illuminate some of the thinking behind the "bumper sticker" slogans. At the Republican National Convention, bouncing off Donald Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again," we asked attendees what a "great America" looked like to them. 

One of those who participated was Daniel Garza, executive director of the LIBRE Initiative. He said that "A great America is one that doesn't allow its elected officials to create a two-tiered society. A great American opens up opportunities for quality education and focuses policies on growing productivity in the private sector." 

For Democrats, while Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters clamored to be heard inside, and outside the hall, a theme of unity was prominent among speakers. We asked: "What would bring America together?"

"I would turn the question around and say what can we "do" to bring America together. It's an active pursuit. In particular, stop the act of looking for offense. Ditch the victim mentality and accept that politics and governing ourselves is messy, and it's supposed to be that way," said Jene Jackson, a delegate from Colorado Springs, Colo.


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