Democratic National-Convention starts, Michelle berates Trump, few Republicans endorse Biden
On Monday, the Democratic National Convention, to formally choose former US Vice-President Joe Biden as the challenger against incumbent President Donald Trump, started, in a manner unknown to America's long history. Rather than a four-day event in Milwaukee, the Democrats settled for a two-hour every night event that will be broadcast. On Day 1, former First Lady Michelle Obama's searing speech stole the limelight.
Before Presidential elections, these events, complete with Hollywood stars and other notable personalities, serve as an opportunity for a White House hopeful to connect with voters and also raise funds for the costly campaign. Due to coronavirus pandemic, and the alarming number of cases in the US, DNC was postponed to August. The risk of infections also drove the decision to hold it virtually.
The DNC which will run through Thursday night ensconces musical performances by a plethora of artists, to showcase cultural and racial diversity that the Democratic Party boasts of. They include John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, and first-time voter Billie Eilish. Stephanie Cutter, 2020 Democratic National Convention Program Executive, said these artists will tell how Trump failed the country and what Biden promises.
The night started slowly citing how Trump's policies destroyed the nation's fabric and let coronavirus ravage states and cities. The convention posed Biden as the only alternative, reminding of his tenure as VP under Barack Obama and his fight for racial justice. Democrats who had earlier challenged Biden joined the convention, explaining Biden and Kamala Harris's empathy would heal the wounds inflicted by Trump.
One of the key highlights of the convention was the presence of brother of George Floyd, a Black man whose death in police custody ignited nationwide protests and calls to reform laws. His brother, Philonise, called him a selfless person, who always believed in giving. Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, and Ahmaud Arbery who lost their lives in unjust ways were also mentioned by him.
"We must always find ourselves in what John Lewis called 'good trouble.' For the names we do not know, the faces we will never see, those we can't mourn because their murders didn't go viral," Philonise told Americans watching the convention.
Biden was also endorsed by a handful of Republicans who wanted conservatives to not vote for Trump calling him a "disturbing" failure. Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran for Presidency in 2016, said he had a deeper commitment towards his country than his party. "In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times," he said virtually.
Meg Whitman, a Republican who ran for California Governor's post in 2010, former Republican Congresswoman from New York Susan Molinari, and Christine Todd Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey also backed Biden. In her address, Whitman asked, "What am I doing here?" and quickly answered the question for herself: "This isn't about a Republican or Democrat. This is about a person."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had frequent run-ins with Trump when coronavirus cases soared in the city, drew an analogy to connect to voters. "Our nation is in crisis, and in many ways, COVID-19 is just a metaphor. A virus attacks when the body is weak and when it cannot defend itself," he said, adding the US needs a unifying leader.
Bernie Sanders, who was at loggerheads with Biden in Democratic primaries, told his supporters that if the latter doesn't win, "all the progress we have made" would be rendered meaningless. "Our campaign ended several months ago, but our movement continues and is getting stronger every day. If Donald Trump is re-elected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy," he said.
The night's biggest highlight was Michelle's speech where she made an impassioned appeal to Americans to vote for Biden as their "lives depended on it." Starting by declaring, "You know, I hate politics," Michelle soon said, "Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can: Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country." She reminded Trump lost popular tally in 2016.
"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," Michelle said.