Last week, Democrats officially nominated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as their presidential ticket for the 2020 elections. Here's a closer look at the event:
A roster of notable speakers and performers kickstarted the Democratic National Convention on August 17, with many of them emphasizing the importance of voting. After a wonderful choir rendition of the National Anthem, a prayer was given by Reverend Gabriel Salguero. Performers included Maggie Rogers, Leon Bridges, Billy Porter and Stephen Stills. Throughout the convention, topics like climate change, COVID-19, and racial injustice were discussed.
Key speakers Sen. Bernie Sanders, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Former First Lady Michelle Obama and Gov. Cuomo touched on racial inequalities and mentioned how many lives can be lost with an incompetent government. Sen. Bernie Sanders also discussed his experience running for President, and voiced his support for Joe Biden.
Michelle Obama closed with a moving address to the nation of America, speaking on the benefits America will gain with Joe Biden as President and emphasizing how a who we select as a president shows who we are as a nation. She also advocated for the importance of voting and our rights within the voting process. She closed her speech with a statement on how we must stand up for what's right, and not tolerate the wrong.
The second night of the convention provided a fun interruption to the policy heavy agenda of the week: we heard from official delegates from every U.S. state and territory. This virtual trip around the country reminded viewers that there was indeed a world outside of their sweatpants-infested homes, and served to bring Democrats together. Almost all the states cast their votes for Biden with Bernie Sanders—who had dropped out of the race earlier this year but stayed in the official nomination to push his agenda—receiving a couple stray votes. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez appeared to nominate Sanders as part of the traditional roll-call, and she urged voters to do everything they could to remove Trump from office, no matter the candidate. Former president Bill Clinton also spoke, circling around the failing economy and referring back to Biden's work in the sector while he was vice president. Former second Lady Jill Biden closed the night with a speech from her hauntingly empty classroom, testifying to her husband's empathetic character.
Night 3 of the Democratic National Convention was all about the future of our country. Early in the night, Billie Eilish gave a small speech urging viewers to vote, voicing that “silence is not an option.” Eilish then performed her newest song “My Future” which very much tied into the prominent theme of the future of this country. Other speakers like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren also urged citizens to vote.
Important issues such as gun control, climate change and immigration were discussed. Gabby Giffords and Emma Gonzalez advocated for increased gun control; three young climate activists and an 11-year-old girl who's mother was a victim of deportation fought Trump's immigration policies. Obama also voiced his opinions about the importance of democracy.
Lastly, Kamala Harris—the first woman of color to become a vice presidential candidate—gave her acceptance speech, speaking about racism and women's rights. She also made a strong case for her running mate and made it known that she believes he is the best candidate for presidency.
The last night of the convention centered around themes of unity and character. It started with the national anthem sung by the Chicks. Other celebrity appearances featured John Legend, the rapper Common, viral TikTok comedian Sarah Cooper, and Steph Curry.
Speakers like Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, and Michael Bloomberg all stressed the urgency of the election as a “struggle for the soul of the nation” while calling on faith, hope, love and compassion.
The night framed Biden as a thoroughly decent, empathetic man by not only highlighting the immense loss he experienced in his life, but also the extraordinary resilience he combated it with—Biden lost his first wife and daughter in a car crash right before being sworn into the Senate in 1972, and in 2015, lost one of his sons to brain cancer. Stories of his kindness also permeated the night, with many attesting to his dedication to military families. Perhaps the most notable story was that of Brayden Harrington, a teen with a stutter who spoke on how Biden, who also stutters, personally helped him overcome his stutter and made him feel like he mattered.
A strong trend was the emphasis on family values, with segments featuring Biden’s granddaughters, childhood, and a tribute to his deceased son Beau Biden. There were also tributes to the late Rep. John Lewis and MLK Jr., two major civil rights icons.
Many, including Biden himself, painted a grim picture of America today, calling it a “sorry chapter” and a “grave moment” in our nation’s history. However, they stuck to the theme of hope and encouraged voters to work together to rebuild America as a place where everyone belongs. Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, said “ we must be the heroes of our generation” by voting and speaking out. The convention ended with Biden delivering a highly praised nomination acceptance speech, empowering his supporters through the vigor and coherency of his message.
Graphics by Viviane Kim