The first-ever virtual Democratic National Convention resumed on Tuesday, with the party showcasing its elder statesmen and up-and-coming political stars to press the case for electing Joe Biden as president in November.
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his vice presidential running mate Senator Kamala Harris appear on a video feed at the start of the second day of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention at its hosting site in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 18, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/PoolHere are three takeaways from the second night of the convention:
A TENTATIVE TRUCE The Democratic Party’s moderates and progressives have declared a truce to establish a unified front against President Donald Trump. But it may last only as long as Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, win or lose.
That was made apparent in a short address by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive force within the party. During the formal roll call for the nomination, she declared her support for Senator Bernie Sanders, Biden’s final primary rival.
Ocasio-Cortez’s speech likely stirred the hard feelings some on the Democratic left feel after Biden’s win over Sanders and his decision to bypass a liberal such as Senator Elizabeth Warren for his running mate in favor of like-minded Senator Kamala Harris.
The die, or in this case the votes, have been cast. Biden is the nominee, and the decision by the party to feature several Republicans at this week’s convention suggests he is more interested in courting moderates right now than appeasing liberals.
But Ocasio-Cortez and her allies are watching closely - and keeping score.
A CROWDED KEYNOTE The keynote speech that opened Tuesday’s program featured 17 voices, a departure from a tradition that most famously anointed Barack Obama as a rising Democratic star at the 2004 convention.
That speech, in which Obama argued there was no true Red-Blue divide in the country, paved the way for the largely post-partisan presidential campaign he tried to run in 2008.
The previous two keynote speakers, Warren and Julian Castro, then the mayor of San Antonio, also later ran for president.
This time around, the party said it wanted to accommodate as many young Democratic officeholders as possible given the time constraints of the virtual convention.
But the slot of “rising star” may have already been filled at this convention – either by Ocasio-Cortez or Biden’s vice presidential pick, Harris, who speaks on Wednesday.
AN IRONIC MODEL Jimmy Carter and Trump could not be more different people, but there was a certain irony to the former Democratic president speaking at the virtual convention.
Carter’s tenure as president from 1977 to 1981 is the model that Democrats hope now fits the Republican Trump, a single term marked by economic turmoil and a loss of U.S. standing in the world.
Slideshow (3 Images)The two men faced sharply different crises in their fourth year in office - Carter with the Iran hostage drama and Trump with the coronavirus. Democrats hope that the end result in 2020 will be the same - voters picking someone new.
Carter was followed on Tuesday night by former President Bill Clinton, who won a second term despite a shaky first – in part by running against a much-older nominee, Senator Bob Dole, then 73.
Clinton is now 74. Biden, whose nomination Clinton touted, is 77 and would be the oldest person to become U.S. president if he is elected on Nov. 3.