Opioids, Violence and the Supreme Court Largely Omitted from DNC Convention Speeches

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by Andrew Trunsky

 

Democrats focused on coronavirus, climate change, racial inequality and more during their party’s convention, but none pf the keynote speakers mentioned rising violence in cities across the country or the opioid epidemic during the primetime program.

The two issues have been worsening in part due to nationwide unrest and the pandemic, media reports and studies say. The Supreme Court — a large focus of the 2016 election — was also largely ignored.

Though many protests against racial inequality and police brutality following the May 25 death of George Floyd have been peaceful, violent riots are still breaking out in cities across the country, including Chicago and Portland, Oregon.

In Chicago, massive spikes in gun violence have devastated communities that are already being affected by the coronavirus at a greater rate, while looting has burdened many small businesses that were already struggling to keep their doors open.

Additionally, Chicago has already had more than 130 homicides this year than in all of 2019, according to the Chicago Tribune, while homicides in New York City were up over 20% through the first half of 2020 compared to the previous year, NBC reported.

In Portland, protesters have clashed with police and federal agents while rioters have devastated businesses and federal buildings, leading to heightened tensions between Oregon public officials, including Gov. Kate Brown, and President Donald Trump.

The opioid epidemic, which has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans in the past decade, has also intensified during the pandemic. Use of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has increased 32% since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March, a Millennium Health analysis found in July.

Drug overdoses in total were up 18% over the same period, according to Millennium Health, a research laboratory that works in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Democrats also largely refrained from mentioning the Supreme Court during their convention, which concluded Thursday night with Democratic nominee Joe Biden officially accepting his party’s presidential nomination.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was the only nighttime speaker who referenced the court, saying that Democrats will “restore a Supreme Court that looks out for people, not corporations,” omitting any mention of how the election could shape its makeup for decades, NBC News reported.

“We have two liberal justices over 80 years old, which means this election will make or break the future of the Supreme Court,” said Brian Fallon, the executive director of the advocacy group Demand Justice. “None of the proposals we discussed this week, even if signed into law by a President Biden, will stay on the books for long given our current Supreme Court,” he continued. “And yet we heard so little on the issue,” he said, according to NBC.

The issue was central to the 2016 presidential election due to the vacancy created after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death that February.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wouldn’t consider then-President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. The Kentucky Republican argued that the next president should be able to fill the seat.

Meanwhile, high-profile progressives in recent years have advocated for adding additional seats to the Supreme Court. Biden has rejected that proposal, though Harris has said she’s open to the idea.

Trump has boasted about the successful confirmations of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh and his installation of over 200 judges to federal courts across the country, which many conservatives regard as one of his most signature accomplishments.

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Andrew Trunsky is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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