Democrats marked Day 2 of their unconventional, nearly all-virtual Democratic National Convention with another all-star lineup that saw Joe Biden officially becoming the nominee.
Former President Bill Clinton, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jill Biden, the former vice president's wife, were among the high-wattage speakers who took the virtual stage Tuesday, with the former second lady delivering the night's keynote speech.
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Virtual roll call delights with digital tour of U.S.
The mostly sleepy procedural moment was turned into a heartwarming virtual tour of the United States of America.
Convention roll calls — when each state comes forward and announces how many delegates it is awarding to each candidate — are known for being lengthy and sometimes tedious during the in-person event, as each state likes to use its brief speaking time to talk itself up.
But this year's Democratic National Convention announced its delegate allocation with a video showing stunning views, personal stories and even a few cows as representatives of the state delegations took home viewers on a rapid tour of the country.
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Food, song, emotional moments, biting attacks: 10 highlights from night 2 of the DNC
Former presidents, ex-secretaries of state and a New York elevator operator provided some of the high points of Tuesday's night 2 of the Democratic National Convention — but it was Jill Biden who stole the show.
School reopening debate plays prominent role at DNC
Democrats made several nods to the national debate about reopening schools amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic during the second night of the party’s convention.
Trump has tried to make schools a central piece of the election, arguing that he wants to help children and parents by opening schools. He argues Democrats want to keep schools closed to damage his re-election.
During the roll call, which featured a montage of states, speakers from two states opted to mention the school debate.
In Colorado, a parent explained the decision to keep their students at home. In Arizona, a member of the teachers union said that school openings should be left to medical experts rather than politicians.
“As a union organizer I'll fight to make sure it's scientists, parents and educators that decide when it's safe to go back to school, not politicians,” she said.
Later in the night, when Jill Biden spoke from inside a high school classroom in Delaware where she once taught, she referred to the school debate.
"I hear it from so many of you, the frustration of parents juggling work while they support their children’s learning," she said.
'Make us whole': Jill Biden returns to former school to deliver personal appeal to elect husband
Speaking from a high school in Wilmington, Delaware, where she used to teach, Jill Biden said that her husband would provide the leadership necessary to get students and teachers back in class safely and that he would do for the nation what he did for their family — "make us whole."
In the final speech of the second night of the Democratic National Convention, Biden spoke of the pandemic's effect on school, family life and communities, saying she was "heartbroken by the magnitude of this loss, by the failure to protect our communities, by every precious and irreplaceable life gone."
She wove in her and Joe Biden's personal story, as they met not long after his first wife and daughter died in a car accident shortly after he was elected to the Senate. And in a particularly emotional moment, she also spoke about son Beau Biden's 2015 death from brain cancer.
"How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole," she said. "With love and understanding. And with small acts of kindness. With bravery, with unwavering faith. You show up for each other in big ways and small ones. Again and again."
She said that while life seems bleak at the moment, "if you listen closely, you can hear the sparks of change in the air." People across the country, just like her husband did following Beau's death, "are putting their shoulders back" and "fighting for each other."
"We haven't given up. We just need leadership worthy of our nation," she said. "That's Joe. He and Kamala will work as hard as you do every day to make this nation better. And if I have the honor of serving as your first lady, I will too. And with Joe as president, these classrooms will ring out with laughter and possibility once again."
Joe Biden later joined his wife on-screen, hugging her and telling viewers, "You can see why she's the love of my life, the rock of our family."
Lots of praise for Jill Biden on social media
Shortly before Jill Biden's speech, the Bidens were featured in a 5-minute video about their relationship, during which he said "she gave me back my life." The short film received quick praise on social media from people on both sides of the aisle.
Obama speaks Wednesday, but weighed in early
Ady Barkan, progressive activist battling ALS, has standout moment at DNC
In a standout moment at Tuesday’s DNC, activist Ady Barkan discussed his personal journey as a father and husband battling ALS, a terminal neurodegenerative disease, while fighting for health care for all.
His video montage was interspersed with footage from his life and activism, serving as a love letter to his son.
“By the time you’re watching this, you will have grown up to be strong and courageous. But I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around for you,” he said in the video.
His political journey began two years ago when Barkan confronted then-Sen. Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, about the need for health care reform after a tax cut by Trump put his access to care at risk. But, two years later, he addressed Tuesday night’s DNC from his wheelchair using a computerized voice in one of the most heartfelt moments of the convention to talk about health care access.
“We live in the richest country in history and yet we do not guarantee this most basic human right,” adding that Trump and other Republicans are “trying to take away millions of people’s health insurance.”
Although Barkan supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the primaries, he later backed Joe Biden and urged Americans to rally to “put on his desk a bill that guarantees us all the health care we deserve.”
Plenty of levity but moments of reflection and state challenges in roll call
It also provided an opportunity for states to touch on challenges and tragedies. Two states, Arizona and Colorado, touched on school reopenings. In El Paso, Texas, Rep. Veronica Escobar brought up gun control. Utah took time to make the case for mail-in voting.
The round-the-country roll call from America’s 57 states and territories beamed scenes from Hawaii’s azure shores, where a delegate spoke both of her home state’s native Hawaiian population and her background as a Filipina immigrant, to Wyoming’s wide plains, where the parents of Matthew Shepard praised Joe Biden’s push to pass LGBTQ hate crime legislation in 2009.
All in all, a whip around with a diversity of people, topics and tones — and a lot of face masks.