With their unconventional convention this week, the Democrats have thrown tradition out the window.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, party leaders are demonstrating a very 21st Century mentality: they don’t fear the technological pitfalls of running a complex, multi-voiced online war council, for all the world to see.
This was vividly demonstrated on Tuesday, the second night of the Democratic National Convention, highlighted by a keynote address by Dr. Jill Biden, the nominee’s longtime wife, who delivered a deeply personal story of their lives together.
After describing Joe Biden’s painful losses before she met him – including the deaths of his first wife and baby daughter in a car crash – Dr. Biden said:
“How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole — with love and understanding and with small acts of kindness.”
Opening the 2-hour televised climax of the night was the first of two keynote addresses, delivered in snippets by no fewer than 17 of the party’s “rising stars” – ranging from Stacey Abrams, former minority leader of the Georgia state House of Representatives, to the president of the Navajo Nation, Johnathan Nez, to Florida agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried.
More prominent Democrats, like former president Bill Clinton, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and the fiery newcomer Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also spoke.
The parade of anti-Trump Republicans begun on Monday continued, with retired Gen. Colin Powell saying that with Biden in the White House, “you will never doubt that he will stand with our friends and stand up to our adversaries — never the other way around. He will trust our diplomats and our intelligence community, not the flattery of dictators and despots.”
Clinton wasted no time in attacking Trump: “If you want a president who defines the job as spending hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media, he’s your man.”
Then came what was the main business of the evening, the nomination of Joe Biden for president – dubbed the “Roll Call Across America.” Once again, it was a group affair – a big group.
Americans heard from “voters, delegates, parents, teachers, small business owners, activists” and party leaders from every state and U.S. territory, 57 in all, as they “officially cast votes to nominate Joe Biden to become the next president of the United States of America,” the DNC said.
First among the nominators: New York Times security officer Jacquelyn Brittany, who met Biden as she accompanied him up the elevator in the newspaper’s building last year.
Because he never gave up the primary race, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was also nominated.
The final tally: Biden 3,558, Sanders 1,151.
And only after all that did Jill Biden deliver the main keynote.
Standing in an empty hallway of Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Delaware, where she taught English at the same time her husband was in the U.S. Senate, speaking while walking into a familiar classroom, lamenting the emptiness, she remained optimistic about a post-Trump America:
“There are those who want to tell us that our country is hopelessly divided, that our differences are irreconcilable,” she said. “But that’s not what I’ve seen over these last few months. We’re coming together and holding on to each other. We’re finding mercy and grace in the moments we might have once taken for granted.
“We’re seeing that our differences are precious and our similarities are infinite. We have shown that the heart of this nation still beats with kindness and courage. And that’s the soul of America that Joe Biden is fighting for now.”