The Wednesday night episode of the telethon that is the Democrat’s virtual convention made history by nominating Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s vice-presidential running mate. This night’s program was crafted to feature Harris and have a special appeal to female voters. But it wasn’t confined to that. Not nearly. For one thing, former President Barack Obama spoke. Did he ever. His talk was powerful and moving, as he demonstrated anew why he was twice elected President. Whatever you thought of his tenure in office, there is no denying that he can summon forth an inspiring vision of the American story. He directly and specifically warned that American democracy, as we have known it, may not survive if Donald Trump is re-elected. His key lines were, “What we do these next 76 days will echo through generations to come,” and “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.“
Then it was Harris’ turn to stand and deliver, with the pressure on. (Nobody wants to speak just after an orator as effective as Obama). She began by telling her story. It was personal and potent, especially when she spoke of the influence of her mother. But the story was also universal in channeling the best of American values. Decency, fairness, justice. Then she spoke of the stakes of the moment, the urgency of action, and a path forward that she argues will turn the nation’s hopeful dreams into reality. Her closing lines fit well behind Obama’s “generations” warning. Urging every American to be active and vote in the election, she reminded that when historians look back at this time they will judge, “..not just how we felt” (and SHE paused for effect here) “but what we did.”
All things considered, another good night for Democratic hopes. The quality of the television production wasn’t quite up to the standard of the first two nights, which were flawless. But that’s a high standard. This night there were a few botched speaking cues and the camera work—the shots, the angles, and distances chosen for Harris’ climatic speech were curious at best. But those are small points.
So far this “virtual” convention has been good enough to make you wonder if we’ll ever go back to the “live” conventions that were the tradition for so long.