The San Diego County Democratic Party announced a viewing party of the national convention proceedings on Thursday evening, September 6, at their new Kearny Mesa headquarters. I called to RSVP and spoke with Chris, who also invited me to work on a phone bank, but I chose to decline the opportunity.
On their website, eight Democratic Party offices are listed for San Diego County. Four are in the city of San Diego and one each in Chula Vista, Fallbrook, La Jolla, and Escondido. I was unable to speak with anyone in attempting to reach the other seven locations to ask if other viewing parties were scheduled; two numbers were disconnected, and a message machine answered another.
Chris also told me that in addition to the viewing party, the event would serve as a grand opening for the new headquarters.
I arrived before 6 p.m., just after the celebrities and other “crowd starters” had been broadcast. By that time, the event space of about 20’ x 50’ was almost filled. By end, attendees numbered about 125 and were about 90 percent female and almost entirely white. One young boy, a toddler, and a small poodle were brought to the event and each was well behaved.
Television news crews from San Diego channels 5, 6, 9, and Univision worked to capture the scene. A few local politicians made appearances, including councilman Todd Gloria, city council candidate Howard Wayne, SDUSD board president John Lee Evans, and congressional candidate Scott Peters. Evans and Peters made brief pleas for votes for themselves in the November election. Evans and Wayne stayed to watch the broadcast.
The event seemed well planned, staffed by a small group of 20- and 30-year-olds. A volunteer named Kimber said the turnout was greater than expected. She appeared in charge of a separate room that contained free refreshments, including cold soft drinks, a cake, sandwich rolls, and snack foods. Another table offered election materials, such as buttons, bumper stickers, and signs for requested donations.
During broadcast commentary, the group engaged in excited chatter. By the time Jill Biden spoke, more folding chairs were set up and each one was immediately filled. While she talked, attendees focused intently on the large-screen TV and seemed synchronized with the Charlotte auditorium crowd, spontaneously cheering and clapping.
Vice president Biden prompted a fair amount of laughter and cheers with his personal examples of life in middle-class America. A woman in the room was unsuccessful in her attempt to start a group chant of “Four more years!”
After a break, Michelle Obama introduced her husband. During the president’s speech, the group became almost solemn in their attentiveness but was still roused to cheer and applaud his messages of inspiration and hope.
Another event worker, John Parker, was pleased with the event turnout. He said, “It drew as many attendees as we could fit.” John also told me there were probably other viewing events in the county and that the other offices I tried to contact were not staffed full-time.
At the conclusion, the group gave a standing ovation and began a chant of “Four more years!” Before the crowd dispersed, an announcement and plea was made for the attendees to see one of the workers to sign up as a volunteer “to make calls and knock on doors.”