The 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC) kicked off Aug. 17 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, nominating Joe Biden for president with Kamala Harris as his running mate.
A four-day event, the DNC covered topics ranging from the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement to the current public health crisis the U.S. is facing. This year, due to the pandemic, the convention was held virtually and recorded from various venues across the nation.
The first night of the convention was themed “We the People,” and featured notable speakers such as Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama.
The event began with dozens of children from all over the country singing the national anthem together, dressed in red, white, and blue as a symbol of unity.
Following the patriotic opening to the convention, George Floyd’s brothers, Rodney and Philonese George gave a powerful speech on the BLM movement, listing the names of people who were shot and killed due to police brutality. They urged audience members to continue their fight for justice and never to stop saying the names of those who have passed. They finished by leading a moment of silence to honor the victims of police violence.
During Bernie Sanders’ speech, he spoke about the numerous issues that the U.S. is facing, including the economic collapse, climate change, and systemic racism.
“And in the midst of all of this, we have a president who is not only incapable of addressing these crises but is leading us down the path of authoritarianism,” Sanders said.
Bernie Sanders beseeches Democrats to vote Biden-Harris for the 2020 election.
He continued to describe how this election is “the most important in the modern history of this country,” and implored all Democrats to vote Biden as he will “end the hate and division that Trump has created.”
Finally, he circled back to the issues he had discussed initially and stated that “the future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake. We must come together to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president.”
Sanders finished his speech with a powerful message to the Democratic party: “My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”
Next spoke Michelle Obama, delivering a passionate 18-minute long speech, endorsing Biden and describing why it is essential for the Democrats to vote Trump out of the white house.
“Sadly, this is the America that is on display for the next generation. A nation that is underperforming not simply on matters of policy, but matters of character, and that’s not just disappointing. It’s downright infuriating,” Obama said.
She ended the first night of the DNC by telling the Democrats, “if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can, and they will if we don’t make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
The second night of the convention was themed “Leadership Matters,” and was kicked off by the mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett.
Towards the end of the event, Biden makes a few appearances. His most notable appearance is when he had an open discussion with five people who were deeply affected by poor access to proper health care during Trump’s presidency.
“We’re going to provide a medicare-like option as a public option. I’m going to try to protect you like I tried to protect my own family, and I promise you that,” Biden said.
The theme of night three of the DNC was “A More Perfect Union.” Prominent politicians gave speeches including Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, and Barack Obama, ending with vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
Both Clinton and Pelosi began by highlighting the faults of Trump’s presidency, then listed various reasons as to why people should vote for Biden and Harris. Clinton ended her speech by urging the audience to vote as soon as possible and not to give up hope.
Next came Warren’s speech, where she used personal anecdotes to develop her argument as to why the country needs Biden.
“We need to stay in this fight so that when our children and our grandchildren ask what we did during this dark chapter in our nation’s history, we will be able to look them squarely in the eye and say, ‘we organized, we persisted, and we changed America,'” Warren said.
Following her powerful speech centered around the importance of childcare, Barack Obama delivered a 19-minute long speech advocating for Biden and Harris.
Finally, Harris ended the night with a heartfelt speech shining a light on the importance of family, while proudly accepting her nomination for vice president. She proceeded to briefly describe the cases she fought for as an attorney while maintaining the theme of family throughout.
Harris described multiple issues that the U.S. is facing right now, including COVID-19 and racism, outlining the changes she hopes to make as vice president of the U.S.
Kamala Harris accepts her vice-presidential nomination at the DNC following Barack Obama’s speech.
“There is no vaccine for racism. We have got to do the work,” Harris said, ending day three of the convention.
The last night of the DNC was themed “America’s Promise,” featuring six of the top candidates who ran for president this year, including Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Sanders, Warren, Mike Bloomberg, and Amy Klobuchar. All six of them, along with former U.S. representative Beto O’Rourke, offered glowing endorsements of Biden and Harris, describing how optimistic they are to see the change the pair will bring for the nation.
Subsequently came Brayden Harrington, a 13-year-old boy from New Hampshire who met Biden earlier this year. Like Biden, Harrington has a stutter, something he has dealt with his entire life.
Biden offers Harrington tips on how to make certain words easier to pronounce, helping him overcome his stutter.
Harrington recounts how he met Biden, detailing how Biden took him under his wing and offered advice, inspiring Harrington to confront what he had always considered a disability.
Ensuing Harrington’s emotional speech came a ten-minute long video offering the audience a glimpse of Biden’s life outside of politics, showing the tragedies he has faced like the deaths of his wife, son, and daughter.
Biden then began his speech, connecting back to the theme of the first night of the convention, stating that “It is time, for we the people, to come together.”
He drew upon the losses he has faced, explaining how that has allowed him to understand what pain feels like, and how he will use that compassion to protect America and defend its citizens.
“I’m a proud Democrat, and I’ll be proud to carry the banner of our party into the general election. So it is with great honor and humility that I accept this nomination for president of the United States of America,” Biden said.
He ended the DNC by delivering a powerful message to the Democrats, imploring them to vote for him and Harris to light the candle for a better future.
“This is our moment to make hope and history rhyme, with passion and purpose,” Biden said. “May history be able to say that the end of this chapter of American darkness began here tonight, as love, hope, and light join in the battle for the soul of the nation. This is a battle we will win, and we’ll do it together. I promise you.”