With a Message of Unity, DNC Kicks Off Historic Virtual Convention

August 18, 2020 by Gracie Kreth
In this screenshot from the DNCC's livestream of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, actress and activist Eva Longoria speaks with athlete Megan Rapinoe during the virtual convention on Aug. 17, 2020. (DNCC/Getty Images/TNS)

The Democratic National Committee kicked off the first day of its virtual convention Monday night. Featuring speakers from both sides of the aisle, the program attempted to convey a message of unity and inclusiveness. 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama headlined the program with a 20-minute-long speech endorsing Joe Biden and encouraging voting.

“Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” said Obama. “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.”

Amid the program delivering a message of unity, Obama spoke clearly and bluntly to viewers. Encouraging people to vote, she pressed people to register now, request mail-in ballots, and be prepared to stand in line at the polls all night long if that’s what it takes.

“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,” Obama said. “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. You know how much I care about all of our children.”

Following this unity message, Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., and former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, spoke. 

Sanders, a presidential frontrunner early in the primaries this year, called for an “unprecedented response — a movement, like never before, of people who are prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency — and against greed, oligarchy and authoritarianism … My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”

Positioned at a crossroads, Kasich, on the other hand, appealed to voters hesitant to cross party lines.

“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country,” Kasich said. “That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times.”

The convention also included speeches from Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto D-Nev. and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D-Mich.

Monday’s program, hosted by actress Eva Longoria, featured speeches from George Floyd’s brother and father, as well as Californian Kristin Urquiza, whose father died from the COVID-19.

“My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life,” she said.

Singers Maggie Rogers, Leon Bridges and Billy Porter performed.

On the second night of the convention, former President Bill Clinton, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Dr. Jill Biden are scheduled to speak.

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