During most election years, the Democratic National Convention is unsurprising. Often, the convention is carried by a few apt speeches that give the country a glance into how the Democratic Party wishes to shape the narrative of the election. But this is 2020, and a year as unconventional as this one calls for an unconventional convention. From its remote and socially-distanced format to its massive set of speakers, this year’s DNC was a memorable one. In case you missed it, here are some takeaways from the convention.
Joe Biden and a (mostly) united party
Through anecdotes and stories, many speakers chose to highlight Joe Biden’s approachability and his natural tendency to treat others with respect and kindness. It seemed like just about everybody has a good thing to say about Biden – even his former opponents. The fourth night of the convention featured a brief conversation between most former candidates for the Democratic nomination. It brought together some of the most radical former candidates – like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang – with the more conservative ones – like Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. Seeing all of them collectively support a single candidate sent a clear message: no matter how different and disperse these candidates’ perspectives and policies might be, they are all able to endorse (or compromise for) Joe Biden. It was an open call for unity among the Democratic party. Other moments of the convention also tried to portray the appeal of Biden across different groups of people, as the first night of the convention featured a montage of Republican politicians supporting him.
Kamala: More than just a VP
Although unsurprising, it was interesting to see how many speakers chose to address Kamala Harris’ nomination as Biden’s VP. The decision of a candidate’s running mate is one that has weight, but is often not given too much attention. However, Joe Biden’s decision of having Harris as his VP has drawn a significant amount of attention, and this was reflected in the convention. Whenever speakers expressed their endorsement of Biden, they would frequently mention Harris as well. In a way, this could be indicative that the Democratic Party is selling the idea of the two politicians working together and complementing each other, as Harris’ strengths often match Biden’s weaknesses. It goes to show just how much responsibility Kamala Harris now has as Biden’s running mate. More so, the cooperation between Biden and Harris was in alignment with the overall message of unity across the party, as Harris was one of Biden’s biggest critics during previous debates.
Voting like never before
The most prevalent message the democrats sent throughout the convention concerned the urgency of voting in this upcoming election. The Democratic Party cited the COVID-19 pandemic, the burst of outspoken civil unrest over the last few months, or the threats to democracy that the current administration has often engaged in, as reasons why voting is more crucial than ever before. They also addressed the issues regarding USPS and how its Postmaster General, who has frequently donated to President Trump’s campaign, might be deliberately sabotaging the processing of mail-in voting. Democrats openly sought to encourage citizens to believe in the power of their votes and reminded them of what a second term with President Trump would mean. This is in stark contrast with the previous DNC, where the party was still undermining the possibility of Trump winning and confident in voters’ ability to see his obvious shortcomings. There was a more poignant sense of stakes in this year’s convention – one that perfectly suits the current political landscape and that voters should be aware of in this coming November.