Recap: Democratic National Convention Nights Two & Three

Night three of the Democratic National Convention was packed with speeches from prominent democratic leaders. The common theme? Urging Americans to vote, no matter what. Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, and former President Barack Obama all delivered last night, each criticizing Trump and his readiness to lead the country.

Kamala Harris officially accepted the vice-presidential nomination; she made history as the first Black woman and person of Asian descent to do so on a major party’s national ticket. Harris told her life story, detailing her upbringing during the civil rights movement in the 60s and relating her childhood experiences to other children of immigrant parents. She also briefly discussed her time as a prosecutor, dealing with cases of sexual assaults and big bank takedowns, before moving to an attack on Trump, and some of her most memorable lines, never even mentioned his name. ”I know a predator when I see one,” she said, followed by a brief but calculated pause. She then moved to the topic of racial injustice, saying, “There is no vaccine for racism. We’ve gotta do the work. For George Floyd. For Breonna Taylor. For the lives of too many others to name. For our children. For all of us.” Biden made an appearance, as Harris wrapped up, minus of course, the traditional balloon drop.

Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in 2016, despite having nearly more than 3 million more votes, said, “this can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election.” She reminded viewers that many voters sat out of the last election because they didn’t think their vote mattered.

Obama echoed Clinton’s statement in his speech, warning that Republicans are counting on voters not showing up come November. “Do not let them take away your power,” he said. “Don’t let them take away your democracy. Make a plan right now for how you’re going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can and tell your family and friends how they can vote, too.”

Despite Trump’s low blows and constant critiques of the Obama administration, the former President has stayed relatively quiet about his successor’s shortcomings, at least until now. Last night, Obama released a no holds barred-esque attack on Donald Trump, unlike any President before him has done, and frankly, it was just as much timely as it was necessary, to say the least.

“I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care,” Obama said

Then continued, “For close to four years now, he’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

The former President also drew a direct connection between Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic and the number of lives lost. “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t,” Obama said. “And the consequences of that failure are severe: 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”

Comments like Obama’s are something retired chief executives typically stay away from, but he made sure to explain that the principles that this country was built on, don’t belong to either party. “None of this should be controversial,” he said. “These shouldn’t be Republican principles or Democratic principles. They’re American principles. But at this moment, this president and those who enable him have shown they don’t believe in these things.”

He ended his speech with a call to action, again highlighting the importance of making it to the polls this November. “You can give our democracy new meaning. You can take it to a better place,” he said. “You’re the missing ingredient – the ones who will decide whether or not America becomes the country that fully lives up to its creed.”

The night prior, during the convention’s second night, Jill Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were among the speakers.

Discussing Biden’s tragic loss of his first wife and daughter in a car accident, the wife of the former Vice President presented the question,” How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole,” she said. “With love and understanding and with small acts of kindness. With bravery. With unwavering faith.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who was formally nominated Tuesday night in a virtual roll call of states, will officially accept the presidential nomination tonight, on the fourth final night of the Democrats’ virtual convention.

 

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