The second night of the Democratic National Convention will combine the party’s past famous names with its new, rising young stars and end the evening with a performance by singer John Legend.
Former President Bill Clinton and the party’s former nominee John Kerry will share the virtual stage with new national sensation Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jill Biden, the woman who hopes to follow Michelle Obama as first lady but has the herculean task of following her convention speech, which has become a new rallying cry for Democrats in this election year.
The party will also take care of business at hand: the roll call of delegates which will lead to the formal nomination of Joe Biden as the Democrats’ choice to take on President Donald Trump this fall.
Like the first night, much of the programming was pre-recorded after party switched to a fully virtual convention given the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, meanwhile, will spend Tuesday in Iowa, examining damage from the derecho, and in Arizona, where he will discuss border security.
The theme of the Democrats’ second night is ‘Leadership Matters’ and the speakers are likely to mirror the addresses of the first night with their attacks on Trump’s qualifications to be president while touting Biden’s credentials to be commander in chief.
Most of the speeches, like the first night, will be pretaped, and pressure will be on for one of the contenders to match the draw and energy of Michelle Obama, who unleashed on President Trump in her Monday address.
Leading Tuesday’s call-to-arms will be Bill Clinton, who has spoken at every Democratic convention since 1980. He memorably made the case for his wife Hillary Clinton in 2016 and for Barack Obama in 2012 – being so effective in his arguments Obama dubbed him ‘the secretary of ’splaining stuff.’
But Clinton, who had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky when he was president and has been accused of sexual misconduct by other women, will be in the convention spotlight for the first time since the #MeToo movement has gripped the country.
Clinton, who is three years younger than Joe Biden, also has ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died in prison while awaiting trial on additional charges. The former president rode Epstein’s private jet in 2002 but had denied having a close relationship with him and said he knew nothing about Epstein’s behavior with young girls.
That baggage he carries and the party’s shift toward new leadership resulted in a limited role for the former president on Tuesday: he’s been allotted five minutes and his speech was pre-recorded at his home in Chappaqua, N.Y.
But the biggest viewership of the night could be for Ocasio-Cortez, who only gets 60 seconds to speak but has captured young Democrats with her social media presence and her passion for the environment.
The traditional keynote address – which happens on the second night of the convention and has launched many political careers – will look different at this year’s convention.
A group of 17 rising stars within the party – including former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb and Texas Rep. Colin Allred – will give a join address meant to showcase the party’s ‘diversity of ideas and perspectives.’
Also speaking in that group are Nevada state Senator Yvanna Cancela, the former political director for the powerful Las Vegas casino workers’ union; Mayor Robert Garcia of Long Beach, California, who became the city’s first openly gay mayor when he was elected in 2014; Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez; and New Hampshire state Rep. Denny Ruprecht, who became that state’s youngest lawmaker when he was elected in 2018 at age 19.
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who ran the Justice Department for the first 10 days of the Trump administration – until the president fired her for refusing to carry out his travel ban order – will speak. She also warned the Trump administration that then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had not been truthful about his contacts with Russian officials.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who hopes his party retakes control of that chamber in November’s election, will also speak.
As will Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, who co-chaired the committee that vetted running mates for Biden.
The official roll call of the states will be a mix of live and pre-taped speeches. It will be much shorter than occurs at a live convention, when states are called out one by one in the convention arena to declare who their delegates are supporting.
The roll call goes alphabetically, meaning Alabama will lead off.
The state’s delegates will speak from the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, site of the voting rights marches of 1965 and the Bloody Sunday encounter.
Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell, a Selma native, is expected to announce her delegation’s votes for Joe Biden and invoke the memory of the late civil rights leader John Lewis.
A mix of lawmakers and activists will speak for their states and use their time to highlight Biden’s support on a range of policy issues – including LGBTQ rights and gun safety.
For Florida, gun safety activist Fred Guttenberg will talk about Biden’s compassion in the wake of his daughter’s murder in Parkland mas shooting and his commitment to defeating the NRA.
For Virginia, Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who criticized Trump at the 2016 Democratic convention, will lead the delegation.
For Wyoming, Judy and Dennis Shepherd will discuss Biden’s support for LGBTQ Americans in the wake of their son Matthew’s murder.
And D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will issue a call for DC statehood during the roll call.
Pete Buttigieg will announce Indiana’s delegation for Biden while Amy Klobuchar will announce Minnesota’s.
Closing out the night will be Jill Biden, followed by a musical performance from John Legend.
While her name is familiar to many, the would-be-first lady will use her time to introduce herself to voters.
The teacher – she taught English composition at Northern Virginia Community College while serving as second lady – will speak from the high school classroom in Wilmington where she once taught. And her speech will be live.
‘Teaching is not what I do. It’s who I am. I’ll be giving my convention speech tonight from my former classroom. Brandywine High School. Room 232,’ she tweeted on Tuesday morning.
Biden, who has two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education, said she hopes to continue teaching while being first lady.
Her speech will follow Michelle Obama’s keynote address on Monday night, where the former first lady did not mince words in harsh assessment of Trump’s presidency.
‘Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is,’ she said.
Trump shot back Tuesday morning, sarcastically thanking Obama for her ‘kind words’ and calling it a ‘very divisive speech, extremely divisive.’
The president has shown he’s not above going after spouses. In the 2016 Republican primary, he attacked Heidi Cruz, the wife of his rival for the GOP nomination Ted Cruz, for her looks.
While he has not yet targeted Jill Biden, he has made Hunter Biden a frequent target.