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Updates and analysis from Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention

Jill Biden, Bill Clinton, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were among those on the schedule.
Image: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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.

NBC News aired a special report from 10 to 11 p.m. ET, and MSNBC will have convention coverage from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., with special coverage beginning at 9 p.m. NBC News Now will livestream the convention, with special coverage starting at 8 p.m. Follow us here on for breaking news, analysis and fact checks.

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading DNC news from August 19, 2020.

Virtual roll call takes viewers on a trip around the country

Not every element of the Democratic National Convention has translated well to an all-virtual environment.

The roll call was not one of those elements.

Showing a video feed of delegates in each state and territory announcing their delegations added a bit of zest to the convention procedure, which usually takes place in a noisy sporting venue or convention center.

And for those of us stuck at home due to the pandemic, the roll call was also a reminder of all the places we want to travel when it's safe to do so again.

Schumer’s ambitious agenda faces one big obstacle: the filibuster

Schumer's speech laid out an ambitious agenda for next year if Democrats sweep the 2020 election and he takes over the upper chamber, but there's just one catch. 

Speaking to the Democratic convention Tuesday, he laid out goals that include making “health care affordable for all,” tackling income inequality, combating climate change, protecting voting rights, fighting systemic racism, moves to “restore” the Supreme Court, rebuilding infrastructure, saving the Post Office, defeating COVID-19 and overhauling the immigration system.

“And out of this long national nightmare, America will finally awaken—to a brighter future, and a new day,” said Schumer.

It's a lofty agenda by any standard. But most of it could be thwarted by Republicans if the 60-vote threshold — which Schumer has not called for eliminating — remains.

Election forecasters place Democrats short of 60 seats even if they run the table and win each one of the most competitive races. 

New York Times security guard from viral video nominates Biden for president

A New York Times security guard whose enthusiasm for Biden went viral formally nominated Biden as the Democratic pick for president.

"In the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me, that he actually cared, that my life meant something to him," she said. Jacquelyn Asbie escorted Biden into The New York Times' Manhattan office in January when he met with the editorial board ahead of their primary endorsement (which went to Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren). 

"Joe Biden has room in his heart for more than just himself," Asbie said. "We’ve been through a lot, and we have tough days ahead. But nominating someone like that to be in the White House is a good place to start. That’s why I nominate my friend Joe Biden as the next president of the United States."

Asbie told The Washington Post earlier Tuesday that she's been inspired by Biden's life story and how he has handled the tragic deaths of his first wife and daughter in a 1972 car accident and his son Beau to brain cancer in 2015.

Selecting a young, Black security guard to be the first person to nominate Biden for president can be seen as a nod to the former VP's political persona as a champion for working-class America. Her presence also underscores how central Black women voters were to his success in the 2020 Democratic primary.

AOC nominates Sanders for president in brief remarks

Progressive star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday nominated Bernie Sanders for president. Her appearance was a part of the procedure of the convention to give a nod to the person who came in second place in the delegate count, and she was asked to second Sanders' nomination.

She has previously endorsed Biden and she later congratulated Biden in an explanatory tweet. 

“In a time when millions of people in the United States are looking for deep systemic solutions to our crises of mass evictions, unemployment, and lack of health care, and espíritu del pueblo and out of a love for all people, I hereby second the nomination of Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America,” she said. 

It’s not a surprise that Ocasio-Cortez, who has spoken explicitly about her morals driving her politics, nominated Sanders, whom she also endorsed during the primaries. The self-described democratic socialist, known for stinging her critics on social media, is one of the most outspoken, progressive and youngest members of Congress. 

She spoke to those who are actively participating in social justice protests around the country and those who want a nationwide movement that fights for “social, economic, and human rights,” including health care for all, tuition-free higher education, a higher minimum wage and protecting unions. Ocasio-Cortez notably did not mention by name any of the signature policies that she and Sanders champion, including the Green New Deal or Medicare for All. She also does not mention Biden or Trump by name.

Sanders has backed Biden, and in a speech Tuesday night noted many of the policies both candidates agree on, such as raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making it easier for workers to join unions and affordable child care.

UAW worker nominates Sanders for president

Bob King, the former president of the United Auto Workers union, nominated Bernie Sanders for president during the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, as Sanders has delegates from the primary that allow for him to be nominated as a purely symbolic act. 

"Bernie’s moral clarity has emboldened the Democratic Party’s fight for justice," King said in nominating Sanders. "The grassroots energy of his supporters has cemented important advances in our platform. Bernie will continue to lead a movement that helps defeat Trump and delivers transformational change."

Bill Clinton lambastes Trump's presidency as 'only chaos'

Bill Clinton eviscerated Trump in his speech before the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, with the former president panning Trump's handling of the pandemic and saying his presidency is "only chaos." 

"Donald Trump says we’re leading the world," Clinton said. "Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple. At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos. Just one thing never changes — his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there."

"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," Clinton added. "Denying, distracting, and demeaning works great if you’re trying to entertain and inflame. But in a real crisis, it collapses like a house of cards."

Clinton said Democrats are "united in offering you a very different choice: a go-to-work president."

"Joe won’t just put his signature on a check and try to fool you into thinking it came from him," Clinton said, referencing Trump having his signature placed on direct COVID-19 relief checks to Americans. "He’ll work to make sure that your paycheck reflects your contribution to, and your stake in, a growing economy."

"You know what Donald Trump will do with four more years: blame, bully, and belittle," Clinton added. "And you know what Joe Biden will do: build back better. It’s Trump’s 'Us vs. Them' America against Joe Biden’s America, where we all live and work together. It’s a clear choice. And the future of our country is riding on it."

Clinton has spoken at every Democratic convention for more than three decades, including giving the nominating speech for Barack Obama in 2012. But a number of progressives have expressed dismay with Clinton having a featured speaking slot post-#MeToo era.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter praise Bidens for work helping unpaid caregivers

Former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter praised Joe and Jill Biden Tuesday night, highlighting the work they have done together helping unpaid caregivers juggling a job and other responsibilities. 

"Joe knows well, too well, the sorrows and struggles of being a family caregiver, from Joe’s time as a young widower thrust into single parenthood with a demanding job to he and Jill caring for their own parents and their son Beau at the end of their lives," Rosalynn Carter said. "He knows caregiving is hard even on the good days." 

Speaking of his own presidential campaign, Jimmy Carter remembered Biden as "my first and most effective supporter in the Senate." 

"Joe Biden must be our next president," Mr. Carter concluded. 

Schumer slams Trump: 'America, Donald Trump has quit on you'

Schumer gave a scathing speech assailing Trump at Tuesday night's DNC, telling the American people "he has quit on you," citing the administration's policies and its COVID-19 response.  

With the Statue of Liberty behind him, Schumer said Trump has "divided our country, diminished our greatness, and demeaned everything that this statue represents."

"Millions are jobless. 170,000 Americans have died from COVID. And Donald Trump says, 'It is what it is," Schumer said. Presidents should never say, 'It is what it is.' President Lincoln, honoring the great sacrifice at Gettysburg, didn’t say, 'It is what it is.' President Roosevelt, seeing a third of the nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished, didn’t say, 'It is what it is.'"

He added, "America, Donald Trump has quit on you. He has quit on you." He called Biden “a man with a steady hand and a big heart who will never—ever—quit on America.” Schumer also noted that the White House is not the only goal, but Democrats have to keep control of the House and win a majority of Senate seats. 

“We will stay united, from (Bernie) Sanders and (Elizabeth) Warren, to (Joe) Manchin and (Mark) Warner—and with our unity, we will bring bold and dramatic change to our country,” he said.

Sally Yates eviscerates Trump: 'Trampled the rule of law'

Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general ousted by Trump, said the president is "bankrupting our nation's moral authority" in a fiery speech during the convention Tuesday.

Yates, who was fired 10 days into her stint as acting attorney general after she refused to defend Trump's travel ban, said that policy "was the start of his relentless attacks on our democratic institutions — and countless dedicated public servants."

Trump has "trampled the rule of law, trying to weaponize our Justice Department to attack his enemies and protect his friends," she said, adding. "His constant attacks — on the FBI, the free press, inspectors general, military officers, and federal judges — they all have one purpose: to remove any check on his abuse of power."

Yates' speech fit in with the theme of many over the course of the first two nights — searing criticism of the president, something that was delivered by speakers all over the political spectrum.

In closing, she explained why she's supporting Biden.

Trump "treats our country like it’s his family business — this time bankrupting our nation’s moral authority at home and abroad," Yates said. "But our country doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to all of us. Joe Biden embraces that."

Actress and activist Tracee Ellis Ross hosts second night of DNC

Actress, activist, and businesswoman Tracee Ellis Ross made her first appearance as emcee of Tuesday night's DNC.

Ross, 47, has been an outspoken activist for women’s rights and gender equality for most of her career and involved in Democratic politics. She has also hosted the annual TV special “Black Girls Rock,” which promotes self-esteem among Black girls, multiple times. 

She starred in the sitcom 2000s UPN sitcom “Girlfriends,” for eight years and the ABC sitcom “black-ish,” for which she first African-American woman to be nominated for an Emmy for lead actress in a comedy in 30 years. (She is also the daughter of pop icon Diana Ross.) 

17 young, diverse Democrats give keynote speech

The Democrats opened Tuesday night with a “different kind” of convention keynote address: a video montage of 17 different speakers representing a younger and more diverse generation of the party.

With a septuagenarian nominee, Democrats have worried that young people won’t feel the election is a vehicle for change and opt to just stay home in November. The keynote address is a coveted speaking slot that has a history of catapulting rising stars to national fame, as it did with Barack Obama in 2004. Tuesday marked the first time in memory that a single keynote speaker was not selected.

Instead, this year, the “speech” featured a dozen local elected officials each reading lines of the address. The cast of Democratic officials included men and women of different ethnic backgrounds and highlighted their variety of backgrounds and sexual orientations.

The speakers included national figures such as Stacey Abrams, Colin Allred, Brendan Boyle and Conor Lamb. 

Local and state officials such as South Carolina state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, Michigan state Rep. Mari Manoogian and Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, were also part of the montage.

The speakers touched on the struggles their communities around the country have faced during the coronavirus pandemic and criticized Trump for letting the virus get out of hand. They also touched on their own personal stories that inspired them to run for office, ranging from student loans to losing loved ones to gun violence to limited access to health care. 

Abrams rounded out the video mashup, making a case for Biden and calling Trump a president of “cowardice.” 

“This year's choice could not be more clear,” Abrams said. “We know Joe Biden. America, we need Joe Biden.