August 31, 2020
The 2020 Democratic National Convention was anything but conventional. A virtual roll call of democratic leaders from around the nation took the place of a packed and boisterous convention hall, and democrats around the nation got a chance to see and hear from the newly anointed ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Night one of the convention began with several remembrances of folks who had passed away due the Covid-19 pandemic, a fitting beginning to the event that seemed so unorthodox to most. On the first night, the most memorable and powerful speech was delivered by Former First Lady Michell Obama, who tore into President Trump on almost every aspect of his handling of Covid. Obama said powerfully said, “if we want to keep the possibility of progress alive in our time, if we want to be able to look our children in the eye after this election, we have got to reassert our place in American history. And we have got to do everything we can to elect my friend, Joe Biden, as the next president of the United States.” This message echoed and summed up the whole night which was clear as day, unify the party. Other notable speakers on night one included former Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich, who represented moderate conservatives who were rejecting Trump for Biden wholeheartedly.
On night two of the convention, the Republican presence continued, with Cindy McCain, wife of late Senator John McCain, making a short speech endorsing Biden. Democrats also saw Colin Powell, known for his time as George Bush’s Secretary of State, endorse Biden. This continued the theme of moderates choosing Biden, something that he had stressed from the beginning of his campaign. Biden’s wife, schoolteacher Jill Biden, capped the night with a speech from a classroom in the Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. Mrs. Biden stressed the ability of Joe to lead and unite, saying, ”He will do for your family what he did for ours — bring us together and make us whole, carry us forward in our time of need, keep the promise of America.”
On night 3, the most recognizable modern democrat, President Obama, finally spoke. We heard a frank and unwavering rebuke of President Trump, something that many democrats have felt was long overdue from the former President. “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t” the President said, “and the consequences of that failure are severe.” Besides the former President’s speech, we also saw speeches from Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris, both sending a clear message of uniting the party. Harris, the newly-minted VP candidate, made sure to hit on the racial struggles in America that the Democrats commit to addressingn.
On the 4th and final night of the Convention, we were finally able to hear Joe Biden’s acceptance speech, in which he vowed to “draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” He discussed losing his son to cancer and his wife and daughter to a car crash, both of which are clearly important to him on a deeply personal level. We also got to hear from a 13-year old boy who Biden personally assisted in getting rid of his stutter. In addition, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and his family spoke about the importance of social justice in our current times. The final message from the convention was clear, we need empathetic and passionate leadership now, more than ever, and Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are the ones who can provide this for our country.
The RNC, which finished on Thursday, August 27, was more of a circus than a convention, trotting out act after act that only seemed to say one thing, “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.” It was truly a Trump show, with the President opting to speak all 4 nights, the last one from the South Lawn of the White House, in breaking with federal law that prohibits government property from being used for political purposes. Gun-toting icons Mark and Patricia McCloskey also spoke, praising the President on his support of guns and the police. The stark contrast between the two conventions was easy to see—Republicans brought up their fear of Joe Biden’s America, while Democrats realized how poorly we’re doing in Trump’s America. Democrats looked forward, while Republicans seemed focused on the rearview mirror. All in all, Republicans preached fear, Democrats preached hope.