A Guide to Watching the DNC
The Republican National Convention might be over, but now it’s the Democrats’ turn. Here’s a handy field guide to help you see past the endless images of old people dancing that C-SPAN just can’t seem to look away from, and figure out what might actually happen.
Speakers You Might Actually Want to Watch
President Obama: I mean, come on. It’ll be one of his last major addresses, and it’ll set the tone for not just Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but his own legacy. Obama burst onto the national scene 12 years ago with an address at the same convention — count on this one to bookend it. That speech spoke to a yearning for a unified America (“not ‘red states’ or ‘blue states’”); this unprecedentedly contentious season will test his ability to find even rhetorical common ground.
Joe Biden: There are some of us who will miss Joe just as much as Barack.
Elizabeth Warren: We often call the Republicans’ catchphrase sops to their base “red meat,” and Warren delivers whatever the Democratic version of that is. A fine portobello steak? Salmon? Anyway, she will rail against Donald Trump’s most obviously repellent qualities with penetrating wit. Expect a delirious crowd response.
Michelle Obama: Preview Melania’s next speech now!
Bernie Sanders: He’s gotten a lot of flack for what some believe to be insufficient displays of enthusiasm for Clinton, and he’s got supporters who are threatening to upend the election by either staying home or voting for anyone but Hillary. This is Bernie’s chance to finally give a full-throated endorsement and make a compelling argument to his base that Clinton is the best candidate to carry them toward their goals. Highest degree of difficulty out of all of the speeches, except maybe Clinton’s own.
Bill Clinton: His transition away from the center of the spotlight has demanded a different sort of eloquence. We might get a preview of what his plans for a “First Gentleman” agenda might be.
“The Mothers of the Movement”: Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland — these women, who have all lost children to police-related incidents, will provide the emotional core to the strongest argument Clinton has against Trump: We cannot allow our country to sink further into systemic violence; we cannot allow racial resentment to be the engine that drives our politics (or our policies).
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