The third night of the Democratic Nominating Convention featured some of the party’s biggest stars, highlighted five critical policy planks and provoked a few observations from President Donald Trump.
Here’s what you missed.
It took nearly four years, but former president Barack Obama gave Democrats something they’d been long pleading for — a full-throated attack on Donald Trump.
“But he never did. 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.”
He continued on to say that Donald Trump, “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”
In a deliberate, serious and, at times, emotional address, the former president said Trump would “tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win”.
“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism. They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter. That’s how they win.”
Few figures in the Democratic party can rattle Trump like his predecessor (evidenced by the all-caps tweets fired out before Obama had even finished speaking), and he remains one of the most popular figures in American public life (as does his wife, Michelle).
As Obama himself said, the next 76 days will determine who wins and who loses the 2020 election. How much of a campaign fixture he is remains to be seen.
Kamala Harris leaned into a rare moment of identity
As the first black woman ever nominated to the role, Harris didn’t shy away from highlighting her identity in her acceptance speech, something she’s pushed back against in other historic elections of her past.
“That I am here tonight is a testament to the dedication of generations before me,” she said in her opening lines.
Harris turned the spotlight on one woman in particular, her mother, to recount a bit of her upbringing and past experience.
The California Senator and former presidential primary contender is by no means a stranger to Democratic voters. Biden’s announcement last week that she would be his running mate was met with high polling and fundraising gains.
So sharing her biography in her acceptance speech came off less like an introduction than an attempt to control her narrative.
“I keep thinking about that 25-year-old Indian woman—all of five feet tall—who gave birth to me at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California,” Harris said of her mother.
It’s hard not to read, “who gave birth to me at Kaiser Hospital” like a clear rebuke to the ‘birtherism’ conspiracy theories that right-wing media started circulating last week.
Harris continued on to pepper in points about racism and diversity throughout her speech:
But she also tried to play up the more relatable, personal aspects of her identity, using her mother’s story to connect with her own experiences as a mother.
Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi pushed hard on voting
For party bigwigs Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, it was policy, not personal anecdotes, that took prominence.
The former Democratic Nominee repeatedly emphasised the importance of voting, saying: “For four years, people have said to me, ‘I didn’t realise how dangerous he was.’ ‘I wish I could go back and do it over.’ Or worst, ‘I should have voted.’ Well, this can’t be another woulda, coulda, shoulda election.”
She ended with a sharp reminder:
Both Clinton and the Speaker of the House, Pelosi, spoke in a segment intended to highlight women’s leadership during the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
Pelosi said the House Democrats can’t pass the legislation they want, including a policing reform bill and coronavirus relief funding, because Trump and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell keep “getting in the way”.
“As Speaker, I’ve seen firsthand Donald Trump’s disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular — disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct,” she said.
The Biden/Harris platform was in the spotlight
Democrats started this race in 2019 with 24 people who believed they had the best plan for America.
As the last one standing, there’s always been the question looming for Biden — how would he find a way to knit those 24 different ideals together and unite Democrats in November?
Today gave some clues, with issues like gun control, women’s rights, immigration and climate change all featured in separate segments.
In a fifth section on economic inequality, former primary contender Elizabeth Warren gushed about Biden’s “good plans” on economic matters like bankruptcy, student loans and childcare. What she didn’t say was that they’d all belonged to her first.
We’ll learn more as the campaign progresses, but the Biden/Harris policy platform is shaping much like one of Biden’s other key campaign messages — one of compromise.
Trump tweeted. Tomorrow, he’ll talk
The President, who’s spent the week stumping in swing states, kept his comments relatively light during DNC nights one and two.
That all changed today, when the President issued several direct, all-caps missives aimed at Obama and Harris.
Tonight’s speeches were big ones, but the biggest of them all comes tomorrow, when Joe Biden finally takes to the stadium to formally accept his nomination.
Trump is planning a speech in the afternoon just minutes from Biden’s hometown of Scranton, and the moment Biden steps up for his big moment, the President will be calling in to Fox News for a live interview with Sean Hannity.
His reaction to that is likely to give us a taste of what we’ll be hearing from now until November 3.