Former presidents, progressives anchor 2nd night of Democratic National Convention

You can watch Night 2 of the Democratic National Convention here at 9 p.m. ET.

Joe Biden is drawing on party elders at the second night of the Democratic National Convention, making the case that he and his party are uniquely positioned with experience and expertise to repair chaos that U.S. President Donald Trump has created at home and abroad.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is also showing off younger Democrats the party hopes will be the political stars of tomorrow.

And Jill Biden will introduce herself to the nation for the first time as the prospective first lady. A longtime teacher, she’ll speak from her former classroom at Brandywine High School near the family home in Wilmington, Del.

Dr. Jill Biden, seen here March 10, will also speak at the convention tonight in support of her husband Joe Biden’s bid for the White House. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Former president Bill Clinton and former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry are among the headliners on a night that organizers emphasize a simple theme: leadership matters. Former president Jimmy Carter, now 95 years old, will also make an appearance.

“Donald Trump is just not equipped, not capable of doing what we need to do in the world today,” Kerry said during a briefing ahead of the convention’s second night. “What Donald Trump inherited, which was a growing economy and a world of respect, he’s turned into a world of chaos, literally.”

Former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry arrives at a campaign event in support of Biden in North Liberty, Iowa, on Feb. 1. Kerry will speak at Night 2 of the virtual DNC. (Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

Clinton will stress what he calls Trump’s economic failures amid the coronavirus pandemic and argue that the fallout on families and businesses wouldn’t be nearly as dire had Trump not so bungled the federal government’s response.

“Our party is united in offering you a very different choice: a go-to-work president. A down-to-earth, get-the-job-done guy,” Clinton plans to say. “A man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide. Our choice is Joe Biden.”

Biden is fighting unprecedented logistical challenges to deliver his message during an all-virtual convention this week as the coronavirus epidemic continues to claim hundreds of American lives each day and wreaks havoc on the economy.

How to watch the 2020 Democratic National Convention on CBC

The four-day affair culminates Thursday when Biden formally accepts his party’s presidential nomination at a mostly empty Delaware convention hall. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first woman of colour to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination on Wednesday.

Until then, the former vice-president is presenting what he sees as the best of his sprawling coalition to the American electorate in a format unlike any other in history. There is no live audience for any of the speakers, who, like Michelle Obama on Monday night, have so far delivered their remarks standing or seated alone in mostly pre-recorded videos.

WATCH | Michelle Obama addresses Democrats:

Highlights from Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. 3:30

Biden is leading Trump in most polls. But 77 days before the election, the Democrat has neither history nor enthusiasm on his side.

Just one incumbent president has been defeated in the last four decades. And Biden’s supporters consistently report that they’re motivated more by opposition to Trump than excitement about Biden, a 77-year-old lifelong politician. That deficit could hurt turnout among less consistent voters, particularly minorities, whom Biden needs to show up in great numbers this fall.

Clinton, a fixture of Democratic conventions for nearly three decades, will address voters for roughly five minutes in a speech recorded at his home in Chappaqua, N.Y.

Clinton will also speak in what is billed as his sharpest rebuke of President Donald Trump. (Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters)

An aide billed the address as Clinton’s sharpest rebuke yet against Trump. The 42nd president of the United States is focusing on what he says are Trump’s economic failures during the pandemic, arguing that the nation did not need to be in such a difficult state.

It remains to be seen whether the unconventional convention will give Biden the momentum he’s looking for.

Obama did energize Democrats in her keynote address Monday night, when she delivered a passionate condemnation of the Republican president who replaced her husband.

“Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” she said. “He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.”

Trump responded on Tuesday, tweeting that he wouldn’t be in the “beautiful White House” today if it “weren’t for the job done by her husband,” former president Barack Obama. Trump ended with a sarcastic thanks to Mrs. Obama for her “very kind words.”

Establishment and progressive speakers

The Democrats’ speaking schedule Tuesday night was diverse, yet hardly as diverse ideologically as the convention’s opening night, which featured self-described democratic socialist, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and a handful of former Republican leaders, including former Ohio governor John Kasich.

Clinton, Carter and Kerry, among the Democrats’ most prominent leaders of past decades, represent the establishment wing of their party. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive firebrand, is scheduled to appear for just one minute. Voters will also hear from Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general who resisted Trump’s order to block Muslim immigrants from entering the United States but isn’t viewed as a liberal activist.

Cindy McCain

Cindy McCain is also going to bat for Biden, lending her voice to a video focused on Biden’s close friendship with her late husband, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

She’s the latest Republican to join in the convention, after a number of notable Republican former elected officials — including Kasich — endorsed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on Monday night.

Both Cindy McCain and her daughter Meghan have been outspoken critics of Trump, and the family is longtime friends with the Bidens. Trump targeted John McCain personally in 2015, saying the former prisoner of war wasn’t a hero “because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Focus on health and security

As was the case on Monday, Tuesday’s political speeches were to be framed by appearances from average Americans touched by the crises that have exploded on Trump’s watch. There will be a special focus on health care and national security.


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