Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Muller sees history made in America

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Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller at the Democratic National Convention. Photo/Supplied
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller at the Democratic National Convention. Photo/Supplied

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller has seen history being made in America.

Mr Muller has been in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention this week and witnessed Hillary Clinton becoming the first female candidate nominated by a major political party to run for President in the United States elections.

"It's chaos on the main floor at the moment because Hillary Clinton has just been nominated," Mr Muller told the Bay of Plenty Times. "There's a hugely celebratory atmosphere. Regardless of people's views of her politics, it's history in the making."

Mr Muller's favourite part of the democratic convention so far had been hearing First Lady Michelle Obama's speech.

"It was something really special. She talked as a mother, as a black woman, as an American. Her poise, her empathy, her perspective was amazing. It was a privilege to listen to her in person."

Mr Muller said one of the most striking things about attending both the Republican and the Democratic conventions was the obvious differences in the people attending the events.

"The Republican convention was older, very white, with only 20 African-American delegates. This convention is like the convention where the rest of America has turned up. There are African-Americans, Hispanics, older people, younger people, breast-feeding mums - the contrast between the two is just startling from a New Zealander's perspective."

Mr Muller said in New Zealand, the differences between National and Labour seemed stark, but after attending the American conventions, he realised the parties were not as far apart as New Zealanders would think.

Both National and Labour broadly supported issues like social welfare, free healthcare and supporting people over 65.

"I would be called a moderate democrat here, even though I'm in the National Party. Here the spectrum is enormous between the right and the left, even within the individual parties.

"Even within the Republican party, there is a huge chasm between the moderate Republicans and the Donald Trump view of the party. On the Democratic side, everyone assumed Hillary Clinton would win easily, but Bernie Sanders ran a very close race. If it wasn't for the super delegates, he probably would have won. And he uses language that would have meant a complete revolution of the system."

Mr Muller, who has been fascinated with American politics since childhood, said attending both conventions was one of the highlights of his life.

"What it reinforces is the only way to succeed in this game is to be yourself. Trying to be anything than that doesn't work."

Mr Muller was looking forward to seeing President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton speaking.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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