The Republican National Convention wraps up in Cleveland tonight with speeches from prominent republicans, religious leaders, business moguls and presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Katie McGinty said she has been struck by the negative tone of the gathering.
“It has been a really discouraging show,” McGinty said Thursday morning. “It’s been a show that has been about fear and division, and I think Democrats are about something very different.”
Democrats gather in Philadelphia for their own convention next week. McGinty said Pennsylvanians there will want to see a more positive and inviting vision for the future.
“It’s really about the Republican’s having nothing of substance to offer people,” she said.
Beyond the traditional party rhetoric and fire-stoking this week, moments of policy have also creeped in. Speakers called for renegotiated international trade agreements, something unions have also been looking for in recent years.
McGinty said the two parties' visions of what constitutes a fair trade deal are very different.
“Donald Trump is a guy who never missed an opportunity to outsource jobs out of America,” said McGinty. “We need to look… at the track record and that record is one that is not helpful to workers in the United States or the middle class.”
Trump, who is expected to formally accept the party's nomination Thursday night, chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate last week. In a speech to the convention Wednesday, Pence offered his credentials as a politician who was able to "turn around" Indiana’s Rust Belt economy, something that could ring true to Pennsylvania voters in November.
McGinty said Pence and the Republican Party would go about reviving old industrial economies the wrong way. Their policies will be about helping Wall Street and trickle-down economics “when [instead] we need to be seeing things like efforts to take down the cost of college, efforts to make sure schools are good, efforts to get back into job training and apprenticeship programs. That’s what grows an economy,” she said.
“Trump Digs Coal” has been among the slogans heard during the RNC. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal production in Pennsylvania has fallen from 76.5 million short tons in 1999 to 60.9 million short tons in 2014. Republicans argue the Obama administration is anti-coal.
McGinty, who worked in the energy sector, defended her party’s energy policy and called for upgrades to coal-fired power plants to make them cleaner and more efficient.
“We stand for the environment and the economy going together,” McGinty said “I think we can solve climate change while growing jobs in… energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
Her opinions echo promises touted by presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, whose likeness has been paraded around Quicken Loans Arena with occasional chants of "Lock Her Up." FBI Director James Comey opted not to charge Clinton for not disclosing emails and information on a private server while serving as U.S. Secretary of State.
“That’s the kind of thing you resort to when you really don’t have a positive vision to offer people,” McGinty said.
90.5 WESA expects to speak to McGinty’s opposition, incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, during next week’s Democratic convention.