The four-day Democratic National Convention got underway in the United States late last night making history as a slickly produced two-hour virtual production that included a powerful closing from former first lady Michelle Obama who made the case for why President Donald Trump was wrong for the country.
Speakers that included some disgruntled Republicans who have thrown their support behind Joe Biden, focused on a spectrum of issues from the coronavirus pandemic to racial injustice and warned of looming authoritarianism from the man currently occupying the White House.
It was an event without the cheering crowds and packed arena, amidst a public health emergency that has shaped how this election will play itself out through to November. The incumbent was placed front and center as a clear and present danger to democracy in the United States.
“Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is. Now, I understand that my message won’t be heard by some people. We live in a nation that is deeply divided, and I am a black woman speaking at the democratic convention. But enough of you know me by now. You know that I tell you exactly what I’m feeling. You know, I hate politics, but you also know that I care about this nation,” said Obama.
Security around ballots
She portrayed the Trump administration as one devoid of empathy but epitomized by chaos and division; while the battle between Democrats and the White House about ensuring the Post Office is sufficiently capacitated to deal with an upturn in mail-in-ballots due to coronavirus continues.
“They’re lying about the security of our ballots. These tactics are not new, but this is not the time to withhold our votes in protest or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning. We have got to vote like we did in 2008 and 2012. We’ve got to show up with the same level of passion and hope for Joe Biden.”
US cannot afford another four years of Trump
In a nod to the Black Lives Matter movement, the programme included the words of George Floyd’s brother who called for his legacy and others to be kept alive.
Speakers ranged from conservative Republicans who crossed the political divide to argue that the country could not afford four more years of Trump; to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party led by Senator Bernie Sanders urging unity behind their centrist presumptive nominee.
“Joe Biden will end the hate and division Trump has created. He will stop the demonization of immigrants, the coddling of white nationalists, the racist dog-whistling, the religious bigotry, and the ugly attacks on women. My friends, I say to you, to everyone who supported other candidates in the primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: 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, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president. My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.
Paid for his life in trusting Trump
One of the more powerful moments of the night came from Kristin Urquiza, who argued that her father whom she lost to COVID-19 in June, paid with his life by trusting President Trump that the virus would simply go away.
“In late May after the stay at home order was lifted in Arizona, my dad went to a karaoke bar with his friends. A few weeks later he was put on a ventilator and after five agonizing days, he died alone in the ICU with a nurse holding his hand. My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump and for that, he paid with his life.”
VP nominee Kamala Harris will accept her nomination on Wednesday followed by Biden on Thursday ahead of an election billed as a battle for the soul of the country.