shawn鸿桥：Clinton’s Convention Is Made for TV. Trump’s Was Made for Twitter.
PHILADELPHIA — Hillary Clinton has so far been putting on a better television show in Philadelphia than Donald J. Trump did in Cleveland.
Expectations had it the other way around. Mr. Trump is the bona fide television sensation, a former maestro of a hit reality series, and he had promised to bring some “showbiz” to the proceedings. Yet it’s Mrs. Clinton who has had the celebrities and musical acts that “Tonight Show” bookers’ dreams are made of — Alicia Keys, Meryl Streep, Paul Simon, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz and Lena Dunham. It’s Mrs. Clinton who has had the more professionally produced show. And at least for the first two nights, it’s Mrs. Clinton who has had the bigger ratings, by several million people.
Her team planned its schedule to take maximum advantage of a major-party nominee’s great media prize: nearly total control of four nights of prime-time television on cable news, and at least 10 to 11 p.m. on the broadcast networks.
Even Mr. Trump gave the Democratic convention credit when he called Wednesday night to discuss the differences between the two conventions. “I’ve liked both shows,” Mr. Trump said, though, he said, no true judgment can be made until after the last night, when the two candidates’ speeches — and ratings — can be compared.
Here in Philadelphia, each of the Democratic speeches has had its own distinct aim: Fire up the base (Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and the mothers whose unarmed sons were slain by police), attack Mr. Trump (Senator Elizabeth Warren and the actresses Lena Dunham and America Ferrera), unify the party (Bernie Sanders and Bernie Sanders), fill out the nominee’s biography (Bill Clinton), draw in independents (Michael R. Bloomberg). The acts and speeches were choreographed down to the minute so that not a precious second of prime time would go to waste.
It might have been a less notable contrast if Mr. Trump’s show had not been such a break from the tightly scripted performance that has come to typify these conventions. In Cleveland, an important endorser, Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, started speaking after the broadcast networks had already moved on to local news; Mr. Trump called in to “The O’Reilly Factor” while Patricia Smith was speaking emotionally onstage about her son’s death in the Benghazi attack; and one night’s program ended prematurely, leaving precious prime-time minutes unused.
Asked about the differences between the two productions, Mr. Trump said he could not speak to them with much specificity, because, he said, “I didn’t produce our show — I just showed up for the final speech on Thursday.” (He acknowledged that he made other appearances while the convention was going on, including on O’Reilly, but said they weren’t a distraction from the convention because they were unannounced and “nobody even knew” he would be appearing.)