2020 Democratic National Convention

Live Updates And Analysis


Night 2 capped off with former second lady Jill Biden making the case for her husband. Here are more highlights:

Highlights From Night 2: A Virtual Roll Call Makes History

Night 2 of the Democratic National Convention has come to an end, and Joe Biden is officially the Democratic presidential nominee.

The roll-call vote was conducted virtually, with representatives from each U.S. state and territory casting their ballots in a series of back-to-back videos from different locations.

The evening’s programming featured speeches from longtime political allies of Biden, including former Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, as well as former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Much like on the first night of the convention, Biden’s crossover appeal with Republicans was spotlighted as well — with former Secretary of State Colin Powell delivering remarks. Biden’s friendship with the late Republican Sen. John McCain was also highlighted in an emotional video.

The evening ended with a personal speech from Jill Biden, who addressed the convention from a high school in Wilmington, Del., where she used to teach. Biden dedicated a significant portion of her remarks to stressing Joe Biden’s strength and character in the midst of loss.

“There are times when I couldn’t imagine how he did it — how he put one foot in front of the other and kept going. But I’ve always understood why he did it,” the former second lady said. “He does it for you.”

For analysis and a post-convention recap every day this week, be sure to subscribe to The NPR Politics Podcast.

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Buttigieg: ‘I’d Love A Chance To Return To Public Service’

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg welcomed the opportunity to be part of a potential Joe Biden cabinet, telling NPR that he’d “love a chance to return to public service.”

Campaigning as a moderate Democrat, Buttigieg, 38, captured national attention during his presidential campaign. After dropping out of the race in early March, the former mayor quickly endorsed Biden and became a vocal supporter.

“When you’re confronted with a situation like where America is right now, sometimes the pragmatic solutions are also bold,” Buttigieg told NPR.

“FDR was a deeply pragmatic figure who enacted very progressive policies because it’s what the moment called for and it’s where common sense took you. I think that’s where we are right now too. And it’s why common sense and a historic chance to guide the nation forward are actually lining up pretty well,” he added.

Buttigieg represented Indiana on Tuesday night during the Democratic convention’s virtual roll call.

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Jill Biden Says Joe Biden Could Make The Nation Whole

Jill Biden closed out the evening with a keynote address that made a personal case for the election of her husband, whom she called a committed family man who has been able to find purpose and resolve in public life despite personal tragedies, such as the death of his son Beau from brain cancer in 2015.

“There are times when I couldn’t imagine how he did it — how he put one foot in front of the other and kept going. But I’ve always understood why he did it,” she said. “He does it for you.”

She said Biden’s character makes him the best candidate to heal a deeply divided nation. “How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding — and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith.”

Biden, a lifelong educator, spoke from Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Del., in the classroom where she once taught. She spoke to the frustration of parents across the U.S. confronting no in-person schooling and remote learning this academic year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways. There’s no scent of new notebooks or freshly waxed floors. The rooms are dark, and the bright young faces that should fill them are confined to boxes on a computer screen,” she said.

Biden, 69, has said she plans to keep teaching if Biden wins the presidency, just as she did as second lady during the Obama administration.

Joe Biden appeared at the end of her remarks, saying: “I’m Jill Biden’s husband.”

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DNC Features A Single Act Tonight: John Legend

Singer and songwriter John Legend is the only performer on Tuesday night’s convention schedule. The 11-time Grammy-winning artist and “EGOT” winner has been a vocal Democratic activist and opponent of President Trump.

In the fall of 2019, Trump criticized both Legend and his wife, TV personality and model Chrissy Teigen, on Twitter, calling Teigen “filthy mouthed” and characterizing Legend as “boring.” The couple responded with quips about the president.

Both Legend and Teigen supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the primary. Legend has since taken part in a Biden fundraiser and voiced his support for Sen. Kamala Harris after it was announced she would be Biden’s running mate.

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Ghost Town In Milwaukee

There was a ghost town quality in downtown Milwaukee on Tuesday night for what was left of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. A security perimeter surrounded the Wisconsin Center, but only a few pedestrians and cars were in the streets. A handful of coronavirus-tested journalists were invited to observe the live broadcast from inside the center.

In a sparsely populated exhibition room, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stood on a podium alone, calling the convention to order in front of an optimistic backdrop banner of Milwaukee’s downtown and the lakefront — a space that, in better times, was expected to be flooded with thousands of journalists, delegations and party officials from around the United States. “I’d love to be welcoming you to my home city right now,” he said. Then Barrett buckled down on the COVID-19 crisis, saying that the health of residents is the No. 1 priority and that Democrats have never called COVID-19 a hoax.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez took the stage, hailing Milwaukee as a union town and introducing the “unconventional” Roll Call Across America. A small screen showed autoworkers in Michigan and a ranch in Montana. In between speakers, a masked worker in a plastic shield sprayed down the microphone with disinfectant.

DNC Secretary Jason Rae, a Milwaukeean, emceed the roll call until Wisconsin’s Democratic lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes (in photo above), stepped up to the stage, offering 67 of Wisconsin’s votes for Joe Biden, who was ultimately nominated as the Democratic candidate for president. Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” took over the monitors in the room as Biden accepted the nomination in Delaware.

— Maayan Silver, WUWM Reporter
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John Kerry Pans Trump’s Foreign Policy As ‘Blooper Reel’

Former secretary of state and former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry used his time at the Democratic National Convention to draw a sharp contrast between Joe Biden — a fellow former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — and President Trump.

Kerry, who led U.S. negotiations in climate talks and with Iran during the Obama administration, said Biden had a long track record of bringing nations together, but panned Trump for what he called a “blooper reel” of foreign policy mistakes.

“He breaks up with our allies and writes love letters to dictators,” Kerry said.

Kerry took particular aim at Trump’s efforts to forge closer ties with Russia. A bipartisan Senate report released on Tuesday concluded that Trump’s former campaign chairman passed internal information to a Russian intelligence officer during the 2016 election. And earlier, members of Congress were briefed about intelligence assessments that suggested Russian paramilitary operatives in Afghanistan might pay insurgents there to target U.S. and allied forces.

“Donald Trump pretends Russia didn’t attack our elections. And now, he does nothing about Russia putting a bounty on our troops,” Kerry said. “So he won’t defend our country. He doesn’t know how to defend our troops. The only person he’s interested in defending is himself.”

Trump has said he was not told about reports that Russia paid bounties to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan and said he did not raise the issue during a recent call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, blaming his critics and the media for what he called “another fabricated Russia hoax.”

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‘Our Lives Depend On It’: Despite Health Care Disagreements, Ady Barkan Issues Call To Vote For Biden

Progressive activist and “Medicare for All” advocate Ady Barkan appeared in an emotional segment, saying, “We all have a profound obligation” to vote for Joe Biden “because our lives depend on it.”

“Like so many of you, I have experienced the many ways our health care system is fundamentally broken,” he said Tuesday night.

Paralyzed by Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, Barkan advocates for a single-payer government insurance system. He initially backed Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, two Medicare for All supporters, in the Democratic primary, but then backed Biden in July, even though he disagreed with Biden’s health care plan.

“I think it’s vitally important that he win the election. Even though he wasn’t our first choice, I don’t think that progressives and democratic socialists should sit out the election or vote third party, and I wanted to make that clear,” he told NPR’s Michel Martin.

“Despite the literal and figurative distances between us, I know that the vice president heard what I was saying. He listened, he understood and he promised to continue doing both after he is elected,” he said.

Last September, in a video interview, he criticized Kamala Harris, now Biden’s running mate, for calling her plan Medicare for All, when she would let private health insurers into the system, and questioned the slow phase-in of her plan.

Barkan lost the ability to speak, so he now types using his eye movements, which are tracked by a tablet mounted on his wheelchair. His words are then turned into audible speech.

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Highlights From A Reimagined Roll Call

The quintessential convention moment — the nominating roll call of the states and territories — looked totally different this year but still managed to bring with it traditional, poignant, weird and potentially controversial moments.

It kicked off with Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., standing on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in honor of the late congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, who died in July.

In a feat of television production, many of the nominating speakers appeared live, while others were pre-taped. In a sign of the socially distanced times, many appeared solo to speak or with people who stood far apart and were masked.

Many of Joe Biden’s former rivals spoke for their states, including Pete Buttigieg in Indiana, Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota and Tim Ryan in Ohio. The roll call also provided another high-profile platform for at least one Senate candidate, Jaime Harrison in South Carolina, who has made a long-shot bid against Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a competitive race in recent polls.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., appeared outside Biden’s childhood home in his storied Scranton. Rhode Island state Rep. Joseph McNamara appeared alongside a local chef theatrically holding a plate of fried calamari to tout the state’s seafood industry.

One moment that might cause some controversy: The American Samoa delegates appeared with two uniformed members of the U.S. Army standing behind them — a seeming violation of military prohibitions against engaging in politics while in uniform — although these low-level violations of once standard norms in politics have become commonplace in the Trump era.

Per convention tradition, the nominee’s home state, Delaware, put him over the top, with Gov. John Carney and Sen. Tom Carper appearing from the Amtrak station in Wilmington, a station to which Biden famously rode home every night to be with his family while serving in the Senate.

One tradition remained the same: Joe and Jill Biden briefly appeared live after he was formally nominated, and members of his family gamely threw confetti and balloons at the now official 2020 Democratic presidential nominee.

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Dems Turn To Colin Powell To Make A Case To Potential Crossovers

Retired Gen. Colin Powell, a leading plank of Democrats’ “national security” portion of the pageant this evening, is another example of the Democratic Party’s desire to use top Republicans to make a case to prospective crossover voters. His presence tonight is proof that politics makes strange bedfellows.

Powell was a top Army commander, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state under President George W. Bush. His service in that last role made him anathema for many Democrats because of the role Powell played in selling Americans and the world on the need for the invasion of Iraq. Ultimately, many of the claims Powell made about Iraq’s ostensible arsenal of weapons of mass destruction proved faulty.

Democrats had still more reasons to dislike Powell in the last presidential election, when he was one of a number of victims of hacking by Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU. The messages were leaked as part of Russia’s attempt to sow chaos. Powell’s comments in his personal emails revealed the low opinion he held about former President Bill Clinton and the antipathy he felt toward the Democrats’ 2016 nominee — one of his own successors at the State Department, Hillary Clinton.

Powell’s participation this evening suggests that Democratic leaders consider all that water under the bridge. Now, they hope, his national security bona fides and credibility as a moderate Republican will entice GOP voters to feel comfortable pulling the lever — or mailing a ballot — for a Democratic ticket of Biden and Kamala Harris.

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Who Is Jack Schlossberg? 2 Generations Of Kennedy Family Address Convention

Another Kennedy made his Democratic convention debut Tuesday night — Jack Schlossberg, the only grandson of President John F. Kennedy.

Schlossberg and his mother, Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of JFK and a former U.S. ambassador to Japan, made brief remarks expressing their support for Biden.

Schlossberg’s appearance garnered attention over social media for his resemblance to Kennedy family members.

Schlossberg, 27, has been active in promoting the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and the New Frontier Awards, making public appearances with his mother.

"In this election, our future is on the ballot. For my generation, it will define the rest of our lives,” Schlossberg said in his remarks at the convention.

Schlossberg’s appearance comes as Joe Kennedy, 39, challenges Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey for his Senate seat.

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Utah Boasts Legacy Of Voting By Mail

Unable to convene a normal convention in which each state or territory could claim the floor one by one to cast its votes for the nomination, the Democrats borrowed a tactic Tuesday night from sports programming with a high-speed whip-around.

Party representatives from all the American states and territories — some appearing live, others in prerecorded messages — announced their support for Joe Biden, sometimes with small digressions about the party’s big themes.

Utah’s delegate, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, took on President Trump’s consistent criticism of voting by mail.

The Beehive State is one of a small number that engage in a practice Trump particularly dislikes: Every registered voter receives a ballot by mail, which she or he also can return by mail. Trump repeats unfounded claims that voting by mail is rife with fraud or easily susceptible to foreign interference.

But Utah’s delegate said Tuesday that in her Republican-leaning state, the practice works well.

“It’s fast, it’s reliable, and it’s easy for everyone to participate,” Wilson said. Turnout in Utah was well over 80% in 2016, she said. “That’s why Democrats and Republicans here agree — mail-in voting strengthens our democracy.”

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Major development

With Unique Roll Call, Democrats Officially Nominate Biden For President

Joe Biden, the former vice president, has officially been nominated as the Democratic candidate for president after a blistering primary fight that once included more than two dozen of his peers.

Some of those same felled opponents — including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — participated in a historic virtual roll call around the United States to nominate Biden, who is scheduled to formally accept the nomination on Thursday. The roll call ended with Biden’s home state of Delaware.

“He is a leader made for this moment and the finest public servant I’ve ever known,” Delaware Sen. Tom Carper said.

Biden and his family appeared live on video after the roll call. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you all,” Biden said.

With his acceptance, Biden will face President Trump in the Nov. 3 election.

Early in the Democratic primary, Biden seemed like a failed candidate, but his victory in the first-in-the-South contest in South Carolina brought him back, and rivals quickly coalesced around his candidacy.

The primary often focused on Biden’s record in the Senate and his tenure as vice president under Barack Obama, as well as on a progressive-moderate policy divide most clearly represented by Sanders and Biden, respectively.

But the Democratic Party hopes to build a broad coalition around Biden to defeat Trump and recapture the White House by highlighting the divisiveness that has defined Trump’s nearly four years in office.

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In Short Speech, Clinton Reprises Role As ‘Secretary Of Explaining Stuff’

Former President Bill Clinton famously gave a 48-minute speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, making the economic case for President Barack Obama’s reelection and gaining a nickname: the “Secretary of Explaining Stuff.”

On Tuesday, Clinton’s pre-taped pitch was trimmed down to under five minutes, taking aim at President Trump’s rocky record during the coronavirus crisis.

“COVID hit us much harder than it had to,” Clinton said, using statistics to show how the United States has been battered by the virus and panning Trump for his penchant for “watching TV and zapping people on social media.”

Shortly afterward, Trump — traveling back from Arizona on Air Force One — tweeted a response. Trump argued that U.S. coronavirus cases are high because of the amount of testing done — a claim that has been refuted by epidemiologists.

Clinton cast Joe Biden as a more dependable choice to bring the U.S. back from recession, saying Biden had helped do it before when he became vice president in 2009, during the Great Recession.

“Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple. At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos,” Clinton said.

Clinton’s presidency was also rocked by chaos. While he was known for presiding over a strong economy, he was also the second president to be impeached after he lied about an affair with a young White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Trump used allegations of sexual misconduct against Bill Clinton as a weapon against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, part of an attempt to fend off criticism about his own scandals.

Hillary Clinton is set to speak at the DNC on Wednesday night.

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‘A Big Effing Deal’: Young Democrats Praise Biden in DNC Montage

With voices ranging from Mayor Robert Garcia of Long Beach, Calif., who lost both his mother and stepfather to the coronavirus, to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the lone statewide elected Democrat in the state, a cascade of Democrat voices on Tuesday praised Joe Biden for his decades-long work in the Democratic Party.

A montage of 17 of the Democrats’ “rising stars” from across the U.S. on Tuesday called on Americans to support the former vice president, pointing to his record in the Senate and executive branch and criticizing President Trump for only “looking out for himself.”

“There’s only one person looking out for all of us: Joe Biden,” they said.

Speakers referenced Biden’s humble upbringing, his work as a senator for Delaware and his work with then-President Barack Obama, including Biden’s efforts to support and preserve the Affordable Care Act.

“That’s a big effing deal,” a chorus of speakers said, referencing Biden’s support for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

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The Security Guard Who Told Biden She Loves Him

Jacquelyn Asbie delivered a nominating speech for Joe Biden tonight. A video of Asbie, a security guard at The New York Times, enthusiastically meeting Biden was widely shared in January.

Biden was on his way up to an endorsement interview with the Times when Asbie turned to him and said, “I love you, I do. You’re like my favorite. … You are awesome.” Biden took a selfie with her after the elevator emptied. (The Times ultimately endorsed Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.)

“In the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me,” Asbie said in nominating him tonight. “That he actually cared, that my life meant something to him. … Joe Biden has room in his heart for more than just himself.”

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AOC Takes Spotlight As New Party Star Amid Nostalgia For Past Leaders

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the Democratic Party’s highest-profile progressives, had a brief turn in the national spotlight on Tuesday night, giving a nominating speech for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Known simply as “AOC,” the Latina from New York endorsed Sanders and drew big crowds this year on the campaign trail.

Her brief speech highlighted what she said is a massive grassroots movement to push policies to combat inequalities that benefit the wealthy at the expense of the working class. She sprinkled some Spanish phrases into her remarks as she stood before American flags. Although she appeared on behalf of Sanders, once he withdrew and backed Biden, she has highlighted the need for Democrats to defeat President Trump.

Ocasio-Cortez quickly burst onto the national scene in June 2018 when she upset a senior House Democrat, Rep. Joe Crowley, who was positioning himself to run for speaker of the House. She was a first-term candidate backed by the Justice Democrats, a progressive group focused on forcing out candidates viewed as too aligned with corporate interests.

Fellow progressives complained that AOC was given short shrift in the convention lineup. Some grumbled that Republicans like John Kasich shouldn’t be given a prime-time slot with far more time and exposure instead of someone viewed as a rising star.

The New York Democrat clashed early with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., but now praises her. Her Green New Deal proposal to remake the economy and foster more efficient energy sources was debated among the 2020 presidential candidates and has made her a frequent target of conservatives, who say she’s the de facto socialist leader of her party.

Ocasio-Cortez has weighed in on the primaries, backing more progressive candidates against incumbents. She set up her own super PAC, Courage to Change, which helps raise money and boost female candidates. She and a trio of other liberal Democratic freshmen — Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley — dubbed themselves the “Squad” and have been called out by President Trump, who tweeted that they should “go back” to the countries where they came from — even though all but one were born in the United States.

AOC, like Sanders, remains committed to pressuring leaders to move forward with “Medicare for All” health care legislation — an issue that is likely to be a major internal fight if Democrats retake control of the Senate and win the White House.

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Delegate Tracker: Where Do Biden And Sanders Stand On Delegates?

According to NPR’s delegate tracker, Joe Biden stands at 2,687 delegates, which is nearly 700 more than he needed to clinch the nomination.

While Biden has been the only remaining candidate in the Democratic race since April, Bernie Sanders remained on the ballot in all continuing primaries with the hope of winning enough delegates to have influence at the convention. Sanders stands at 1,073 delegates.

Here’s what typically happens to delegates won by candidates who have dropped out — and how it’s different this time around for the Sanders campaign:

District level delegates aren’t ever tied to a particular candidate, (even though they are informally pledged to support them). So if a candidate drops out and endorses another candidate, for example, Biden, it is expected that the candidate’s delegates would then support Biden, but again this is not a requirement.

At-large delegates (which are won on a state level) are a different story. Typically, since Biden is the last candidate in the race, all the at-large delegates won by candidates who have dropped out would go to him.

But this year, the process is different for Sanders. Sanders will technically be giving over his at-large delegates to the Biden campaign but those spots will remain pro-Sanders delegates — per an agreement between the two campaigns.

As the agreement states, "While Senator Sanders is no longer actively seeking the nomination, the Biden campaign feels strongly that it is in the best interest of the party and the effort to defeat Donald Trump in November to come to an agreement regarding these issues that will ensure representation of Sanders supporters and delegate candidates, both on the floor and in committees."

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Jimmy Carter: Biden Has Character To ‘Restore America’s Greatness’

In joint remarks, former President Jimmy Carter, 95, and his wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, 93, praised Joe Biden’s moral character and noted their long-running relationship. Carter called Biden his “first and most effective supporter in the Senate" when he was president.

The Carters did not appear on camera. Their remarks were pre-taped and voiced over a video of past images of the Carters and the Bidens.

“Joe has the experience, character and decency to bring us together and restore America’s greatness,” the former president said. “We deserve a person with integrity and judgment, someone who is honest and fair, someone who is committed to what is best for the American people.”

Carter is the oldest of the five living current and former presidents, and the only one — so far — to serve just one term, after he lost reelection to Ronald Reagan in 1980. The Carters have lived a busy post-political life through their nonprofit, the Carter Center, focused on human rights advocacy around the world. He’s also spent much of the past 40 years as a Sunday school teacher in his hometown, a tradition that appears to have been ended by the pandemic.

Carter has been a critic of President Trump, saying a second term would be a “disaster,” but he has empathized with Trump in one regard: He once said he thought the media was too tough on the current president.

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‘Hello, Kamala!’ Tracee Ellis Ross Says Harris Turning The Tide

“Black-ish” star Tracee Ellis Ross, host of Tuesday’s Democratic National Convention, hailed the nomination of a Black woman as the party’s vice presidential candidate as historic.

“As a Black woman, I find myself at a crucial intersection in American politics,” said Ross, daughter of singer Diana Ross, who has starred in two of the most visible Black TV shows of the past two decades.

“For far too long, Black female leadership in this country has been utilized without being acknowledged or valued. But we are turning the tide,” she said.

“Hello, Kamala!”

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‘He Will Restore Our Moral Compass’: Stacey Abrams Delivers Keynote Address

Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, headlined the convention’s keynote address, which featured more than a dozen of the party’s “rising stars.”

“In a democracy we do not elect saviors,” Abrams said. “We cast our ballots for those who see our struggles and pledge to serve, who hear our dreams and work to make them real, who defend our way of life by protecting our right to vote. Faced with a president of cowardice, Joe Biden is a man of proven courage. He will restore our moral compass by confronting our challenges, not by hiding from them or undermining our elections to keep his job.”

Abrams first shot onto the national stage when she nearly flipped the Georgia governor’s office blue in 2018, narrowly losing that race to the then Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Abrams alleged that Kemp squeaked across the finish line by disenfranchising minority voters, purging voter rolls and delaying new voter registrations.

“To watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling,” she said at the time.

In the two years since, Abrams founded the voting rights organization “Fair Fight Action.”

“In the wake of the election, my mission was to figure out what work could I do, even if I didn’t have the title of governor," Abrams told NPR earlier this year. “What work could I do to enhance or protect our democracy? Because voting rights is the pinnacle of power in our country.”

Despite public speculation about her bright electoral future, Abrams declined to run for the U.S. Senate and the White House, but alluded that she would have been open to serving as vice president, telling Elle Magazine this spring that she was “prepared and excited to serve” if selected for the job.

Abrams wove voting rights into Tuesday night’s convention speech.

“In a time of voter suppression at home and authoritarians abroad, Joe Biden will be a champion for free and fair elections, for a public health system that keeps us safe, for an economy that we build back better than before, and for accountability and integrity in our system of justice,” she said before being joined on the screen by other young Democrats to round out the keynote endorsement for Biden.

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Sally Yates Slams Trump’s ‘Shameful’ Travel Restrictions

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates ran the Justice Department at the very end of the Obama era and the very beginning of the Trump one — until she was fired for refusing to defend Trump’s intended ban on travel by Muslims to the United States.

Yates said Tuesday night that she stood by the decision to instruct the Justice Department’s attorneys not to defend Trump’s policy and she joined Democrats in faulting what she called Trump’s abuse of the Justice Department for political ends.

Yates, 59, has long resisted the idea of running for office, even when the calls were coming from her husband. The former acting attorney general said she felt most comfortable serving the public from inside the Justice Department, where she worked for 27 years. Yates, the daughter and granddaughter of lawyers, rose to prominence in her home state of Georgia by prosecuting corrupt public officials from both political parties. But she won a national reputation by bringing to justice Eric Rudolph, the domestic terrorist who set off a bomb at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996.

Yates moved to Washington to serve as deputy attorney general in the waning years of the Obama administration, when she advanced an agenda that included increased access to education for people in prison and a focus on violent crimes. She briefly led the Justice Department during the Trump transition, until the president fired her in January 2017 for refusing to defend his first travel ban focused on visitors from Muslim-majority countries.

Now in private practice, Yates has used her voice sparingly to criticize the Trump White House. But in recent testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, she told lawmakers: “I don’t respect the manner in which he has carried out the presidency."

In her remarks to the DNC Tuesday night, she went further, arguing that Trump has not been acting as a public servant should. “From the moment President Trump took office, he has used his position to benefit himself rather than our country,” Yates said. “He’s trampled the rule of law, trying to weaponize our Justice Department to attack his enemies and protect his friends.”

After the president fired Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in June, Yates tweeted her disapproval — adding words of support for the nonpartisan lawyers and agents who work at the Justice Department. “Trump fires a US Atty investigating his inner circle, his AG misleads the public about it, and Trump’s relentless assault on the rule of law continues,” she wrote. “Trump throws one body blow after another at DOJ, but the career men and women who fight for justice every day are stronger.”

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Keynote Speakers: Democrats’ ‘Rising Stars’

While household name Stacey Abrams has captured much of the attention surrounding Tuesday’s keynote address, the event boasts 17 total “rising stars” within the Democratic Party from across the United States.

State Sen. Raumesh Akbari, Tennessee: Akbari won a seat in the Tennessee Senate in 2018 after having previously spent five years as a state representative. Akbari chairs the state’s Senate Democratic Caucus and has been involved in committees focused on criminal justice, women in government and Black women in the legislature.

Rep. Colin Allred, Texas: An attorney and former NFL linebacker, Allred has represented northern Dallas in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019. Allred previously practiced as a civil rights attorney with a focus on voting rights.

Rep. Brendan Boyle, Pennsylvania: Boyle, a Philadelphia native, was elected to represent the northern area of his hometown in 2014. Boyle previously spent six years as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

State Sen. Yvanna Cancela, Nevada: Cancela has served in the Nevada legislature since 2016 and is the first Latina to serve in the Nevada Senate.

Former state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, Ohio: Clyde is a former state representative and current Portage County commissioner.

State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida: In addition to currently being the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, Fried is also the first woman to serve the office and the first Democrat in that seat since 2001.

Mayor Robert Garcia, California: Garcia is the current mayor of Long Beach and is the first openly gay person to serve in that role. An immigrant from Peru, Garcia previously served as a member of the city council.

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Pennsylvania: Northern Philadelphia native Kenyatta was elected to serve as Philadelphia County state representative in 2018. Kenyatta is the first openly gay person to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. He notably sits on the Governor’s Suicide Prevention Task Force.

State Sen. Marlon Kimpson, South Carolina: Kimpson is an attorney who represents South Carolina’s 42nd District.

Rep. Conor Lamb, Pennsylvania: A Justice Department alumnus, Lamb was elected to represent northwest Pittsburgh in 2018. Lamb spent four years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and later served in the Marine Corps Reserve.

State Rep. Mari Manoogian, Michigan: Manoogian was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2018. She previously served in the U.S. State Department.

State Rep. Victoria Neave, Texas: An attorney by trade, Neave has represented part of Dallas County since 2017.

President Jonathan Nez, Navajo Nation: Nez had served in several roles in Navajo politics prior to being elected president in 2018.

State Rep. Sam Park, Georgia: Park has served in the Georgia House of Representatives since 2017. He is the first openly gay man to be elected to the Georgia state legislature.

State Rep. Denny Ruprecht, New Hampshire: The state’s youngest lawmaker, Ruprecht was elected to the New Hampshire House in 2018.

Mayor Randall Woodfin, Alabama: Woodfin was elected mayor of Birmingham in 2017 and is one of the youngest mayors in the city’s history.

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Democrats’ 2020 Platform Is Informed By Biden-Sanders Effort

Democrats’ 2020 platform features some notable policy compromises between progressives and moderates. The quadrennial document this cycle was heavily influenced by proposals recommended by policy groups appointed by the Biden and Sanders campaigns.

Read more about the party platform here.

The 91-page document calls for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; for “reining in” qualified immunity for police officers; and for decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing it for medical use, among many other provisions.

On health care, Democrats are backing a public option plan, which Joe Biden supported in the primary. “Medicare for All” is not supported in the platform despite it being a fixture of the progressive movement and supported by Bernie Sanders. The party remains somewhat split on health care, prompting some progressives to vote against the platform, including Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

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Trump Pardons Susan B. Anthony

President Trump is giving a “full and complete” pardon to famed suffragist Susan B. Anthony, who was arrested in 1872 for violating laws that permitted only men to vote.

In an appeal to women voters, Trump announced the pardon on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which made universal suffrage the law of the land. He made the announcement in the Blue Room of the White House, where supporters, some of them wearing sashes that read “Votes for Women,” stood behind him and first lady Melania Trump.

“She was never pardoned,” Trump said. “Did you know that she was never pardoned? What took so long?”

The White House subsequently said Trump issued an “Executive Grant of Clemency” for a “wrongful and unjust conviction stemming from the only vote she ever cast in an election.”

Trump teased the move on Monday night, the first night of the Democratic National Convention, without specifying whom he would pardon.

According to many polls, Trump is trailing his presumptive Democratic rival, Joe Biden, among suburban women. In a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, 66% of suburban women disapproved of the job Trump is doing overall, and 58% said they “strongly” disapprove.

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New Mexico Governor On Democrats’ Latino Outreach: ‘We Can Do Better’

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says Democrats have room to improve when it comes to Latino voter outreach.

“I think we can do better,” Lujan Grisham tells NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly. “So I would give us a C+ in COVID, which I think is a strong response, but there’s room to be an A+.”

Lujan Grisham is the first Democratic Latina governor in the U.S. and has been praised for her management of the coronavirus pandemic in New Mexico — which likely helped her land a spot on presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s shortlist for the vice presidency.

She says she was impressed by the messaging out of the Democratic National Convention’s first night but says the Biden campaign needs to go further.

“You have to remind people what’s at stake,” she says. “They’re doing that, but they also have to motivate us about why we can make a difference. When we talk about racial injustice, we have to make sure that you’re talking about all communities of color who want to talk about racial injustice — talk to the Hispanic communities in New Mexico and immigrant communities and Native American communities.”

Some activists have been upset at the relative lack of Latino speakers at the Democratic convention. Lujan Grisham is set to address the convention Wednesday night.

Lujan Grisham says ensuring Hispanic-owned small businesses get their fair share of federal procurement contracts would be a good policy starting point. Lujan Grisham says that would be a game changer, particularly in a state like New Mexico that relies a lot on federal funding.

“We have a lot of federal dollars flowing through here, but are they getting the women-owned — in particular, Hispanic women-owned — businesses? No, they’re not. And if they’re going to dedicate their efforts to doing that across federal government, that can make the difference between real equity in a business, and businesses with that kind of equity could have survived in COVID.”

Looking ahead to November, Lujan Grisham also tells NPR that New Mexico is prepared to handle the onslaught of mail-in ballots expected to flood election clerk offices this fall.

“We had a primary that had a thousand percent increase in absentee ballots,” she says. “We’re announcing today that members of our congressional delegation are personally inspecting post offices, so I think we are one of the most prepared states. But federal interference isn’t something to take lightly, which is why we’re going to do these independent inspections. We think states who don’t do that are putting themselves at great peril.”

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A Reimagined Roll Call Will Have Delegates Cast Votes From Across The Country

The virtual Democratic convention will usher in a revamped process for the roll call, where delegates from all 57 states and territories will appear on video to formally nominate Joe Biden as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.

Traditionally, the roll-call process has each delegation in the convention arena pledging delegates to the candidates who ran in the primaries and caucuses, and it takes hours to complete. This new process will likely take only 30 minutes.

Viewers can expect to hear from a wide range of Democrats, including politicians, teachers, veterans, party activists — all of whom are meant to showcase various issues within the party.

The speakers include:

Fred Guttenberg of Florida, who plans to address gun violence. Guttenberg’s daughter was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018.

Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell, who will advocate for restoring the Voting Rights Act.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who plans to issue a call for D.C. statehood.

Arizona middle school teacher Marisol Garcia, who plans to discuss remote learning.

Activist Khizr Khan, who will represent Virginia to “reflect on the racial violence that claimed a life in his beloved home city of Charlottesville.” Khan also spoke during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Other speakers include previous 2020 Democratic hopefuls Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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Jill Biden To Headline Tuesday Night’s Program

Jill Biden is no stranger to the campaign trail. The former second lady has long been a presence at campaign events and fundraisers alongside her husband, even standing in front of the former vice president to fend off protesters who stormed the stage on Super Tuesday — a visual that quickly went viral.

It’s likely Biden will address education in her Tuesday night remarks, given her longtime career as a teacher. She taught at Northern Virginia Community College throughout her tenure in the Obama administration and has been a longtime advocate for community colleges.

She told CBS this month that she plans to continue teaching, even if she returns to the White House as first lady.

“I would love to,” she said. “If we get to the White House, I’m going to continue to teach. It’s important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions, and lift up the profession.”

In that interview, Biden said President Trump going after her family members is “not fair game.” “I am not going to call Donald Trump names, because then I’m doing the exact same negative thing that he does to other people, and I won’t stoop to that,” she said.

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Who’s Speaking Tonight?

Former presidents, ambassadors and high-profile activists are slated to speak during the second night of the Democratic National Convention, the theme of which is “Leadership Matters.”

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is scheduled to speak, as well as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is scheduled to deliver a nominating speech for Sen. Bernie Sanders, alongside Bob King, the former president of the United Auto Workers. John Kerry, the former secretary of state and the Democratic nominee for president in 2004, is scheduled to speak as well.

The night will also feature a keynote address titled “We Step Up to Lead” that will feature 17 elected leaders, including former Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb, Birmingham, Ala., Mayor Randall Woodfin and Texas Rep. Colin Allred.

Former second lady Jill Biden is set to headline the evening; the program will close with a performance by singer-songwriter John Legend.

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President Trump Responds To Michelle Obama’s Speech

After former first lady Michelle Obama slammed President Trump and his administration during the Democrats’ first night of convention programming, Trump took to Twitter early Tuesday morning to respond, saying he wouldn’t be in the White House if not for her husband.

Trump criticized the record of the Obama administration, writing, “Somebody please explain to @MichelleObama that Donald J. Trump would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama. Biden was merely an afterthought, a good reason for that very late & unenthusiastic endorsement.”

He went on to claim that his administration built “the greatest economy in history” and saved “millions of lives.”

He continued his rebuke of Michelle Obama’s remarks by calling the Obama administration “the most corrupt in history.”

Obama’s Monday night speech generated abundant praise from Democrats. She focused on what she called an inadequate response from the White House to the coronavirus pandemic.

“[Trump] has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head,” she said. “He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.”

That last line — “it is what it is” — echoes Trump’s own words describing the daily toll from the pandemic.

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