On the second night of the Democratic National Convention, the theme centered around “leadership matters.” The Democratic Party brought out some of its top leaders from the past and present, including former President Bill Clinton, former presidential nominee John Kerry, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden. The full night of speakers can be found here, and each speech is linked below.
The second night of the DNC had an unconventional keynote speech delivered by 17 future leaders within the party: President of the Navajo Nation Jonathan Nez; Mayor of Long Beach, California, Robert Garcia; Pennsylvania State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta; Former Ohio State Rep. Kathleen Clyde; Georgia State Rep. Sam Park; South Carolina State Sen. Marlon Kimpson; Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Friend; Nevada State Sen. Yvanna Cancela; Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA); Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, Randall Woodfin; New Hampshire State Rep. Denny Ruprecht; Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX); Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA); Texas State Rep. Victoria Neave; Michigan State Rep. Mari Manoogian; Tennessee State Sen. Raumesh Akbari; and Former Georgia State Rep. Stacey Abrams. The speakers discussed health care, women’s issues, clean energy, and more. Abrams spoke about accountability and integrity in the system of justice and how this election is not just about not re-electing Donald Trump but also about reinventing the future of the country. She spoke of voter suppression and how Joe Biden will stand up for democracy at every level.
Former Attorney General Sally Yates spoke on her time working under President Trump and how she was fired for refusing to defend the “Muslim travel ban.” She argued the “future of democracy is at stake” and the President is using his position to benefit himself by enabling the Justice Department to attack personal enemies and sabotage the U.S. Postal Service. She spoke about how Joe Biden has “never backed down from a challenge,” and they “need a President that will restore the soul of America”.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke in front of the Statue of Liberty. He encouraged voters to not only elect Joe Biden but also “take back the Senate.” He pointed out how a Biden/Majority Democrat Senate would use their power by making health care affordable, combating climate change, ending systematic racism, and restoring a Supreme Court that looks out for the American people.
Former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife spoke on their relationships with Joe Biden, noting that he is a “dedicated, loyal friend” and he understands the challenges facing American families today.
Former President Bill Clinton highlighted President Trump’s response to the pandemic and noted that when the President does not like expert advice, he ignores it. He said that, during this pandemic, the unemployment rate has nearly tripled, yet the President has bragged about how good of a job he has done. He described his time as president by explaining how the Oval Office should be a “command center and not a storm center.” He encouraged Americans not to “renew the contract” of Trump, as Trump had come into office with six straight years of job growth that he has not continued. He said Biden is committed to bringing America back to the greatness that was experienced under the Obama-Biden administration, as Biden will be a “go to work President” and will build the economy back better for the future of the nation.
The convention then turned to the formal procedure of the night, officially nominating Joe Biden. Biden was nominated by Rep. Lisa Rochester (D-DE) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE). Per convention rules, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) was nominated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Former President of the United Auto Workers union Bob King.
Continuing with the speakers for the evening, the Democrats turned from political leaders with Ady Barkan, an American with ALS. Barkan spoke of his experience with the disease and highlighted the need for health care for every American citizen who wants it, arguing the current system is broken. He stressed the importance of voting for Biden so everyone can have this “basic human right,” no matter their financial situation.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry said Trump does not lead by example, as the former Obama-Biden administration did by stopping the Ebola virus and working to fix climate change. Kerry spoke on how Trump “breaks up allies” and “has not defended the country,” whereas Biden understands no conflict can be resolved without bringing nations together. He said this moment is “a fight for the security of our nation and the world.”
Former Bush Administration Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke about how Biden “takes care of troops,” citing Biden’s own son going off to war. He said Biden will “stand with our friends and stand up to our adversaries.” Powell also said Biden will “restore leadership in the world” and will be the president who unites everyone.
A video on Joe Biden’s relationship with former Republican presidential nominee John McCain was shown, including remarks by Cindy McCain about the powerful relationship between Senator McCain and Biden. The video highlighted Biden’s tenure in the Senate and how he always tried to work in a bipartisan manner and “cross the aisle more than anyone” to make sure both sides were heard.
The night concluded with Dr. Jill Biden. Dr. Biden spoke at a local high school in Delaware and highlighted the current anxiety felt by students and teachers during this pandemic. She said Trump has “failed to protect communities” and has not done all he can to keep families safe. Dr. Biden explained her husband has always used love to keep their family together, despite undergoing numerous trials of heartbreak from the loss of his former wife and daughter. She said she saw personally how her husband went right back to work after the death of their son, Beau, to work for the American people, and he knows how to “put one foot in front of the other” better than anyone. She explained the reason for this is due to her husband’s love and faith in the American people, and he will be the kind of leader that is “worthy of our nation” and will “keep the promise of America for all of us.”