Wednesday was a night of reminding the American people what the Democratic Party stands for—and what Donald Trump doesn’t. Since the president of the United States stands for nothing except himself, and earlier in the day endorsed QAnon because they like him, it was not so hard for Democrats to remind the American people that they actually want to do things for the country besides jail children and let the blue states die. It was a night of Democrats making the case for immigrants’ rights, gun safety, action on climate change, and fighting domestic violence.
Not every one of these convention video montages lands, but the one that opened the DNC’s Night Three was a powerful reminder that a video montage done well is worth a thousand tweets. The gun violence segment reminded us what Democrats are doing here on a policy level, which is important because in the time of Trump, it’s easy to fall bad into the narrative of “orange man bad.” Which of course he is—and every day he seems to be getting more sinister.
The montage was moving on its own, with that mother talking about her 13-year-old son who survived a shot in the skull but today can’t even speak. But it turned out that was just an introduction for one of the most effective speakers in the party: gun violence survivor Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman. Giffords is able to speak of gun violence because her life has been forever changed by being shot in the face from point-blank range. Giffords is also married to former astronaut Mark Kelly, who is running for horrible Martha McSally’s Arizona Senate seat.
Democrats also hit Trump on immigration, telling the stories of immigrants who’ve had loved ones deported by the Trump administration. Another powerful montage followed, narrated by the most popular politician in America, Obama. Then there was a powerful video about Biden’s work with the Violence Against Women Act. For those of you keeping track at home the president of the United States has more than 24 sexual assault allegations against him.
Hillary Clinton is not the party’s most gifted orator, but she did open smartly by explaining that when she lost and Trump was declared the winner, she too hoped for the best—that Trump would be changed by the presidency. Her opening about how the day after the election, “I said let’s give him a chance” felt like a smart pitch to swing voters.
But Clinton was most effective when she talked about the election that broke all of our hearts. She’s compelling, because we all went through that horrible election with her. Hillary is the perfect person to strike fear in all our hearts because this time four years ago we were sure 2016 was a lock. And the line about how Joe and Kamala could win the popular vote and still lose was chilling, because it’s happened to Democrats twice before and, as we all know, could happen again this year.
Elizabeth Warren was an absolute force as she always is. I was glad to see she expanded her case against Trump to include the many Republicans who’ve enabled him. This is particularly important because a Democratic Senate is within reach, and Mitch just sent everyone home for an August vacation without funding the unemployment or the post office.
Tonight, for the first time ever, Obama made a case against the current president of the United States: "no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself... no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show."
Obama did not go high on Night Three. He did what we all wanted him to do: He litigated the case against Trump. He also said, “Do not let them take away your democracy.” Obama knows that America stands on the brink of becoming a terrifying kleptocracy. It was one of his best.
Of course Obama was just a warm-up for the centerpiece of the night, Kamala. As a woman who has lived through the four years of misogyny and sexism known as Trumpism, for me, there was nothing more gratifying than watching Kamala Harris speak. She is fucking tough but tonight she seemed like she was having fun too. But for me, all I think about is the joy I will get from watching her destroy the man who calls his wife “mother,” Mike Pence. When Kamala crushes Pence, she will be doing it for all the women that Pence wanted to stuff back into the kitchen. Kamala expresses the rage that I as an American woman feel so deeply. Without raising her voice, Kamala Harris gave a voice to American women’s silent screams.
Tonight was the night that Kamala Harris upstaged Barack Obama. She told her story and let the American people know her in a way she didn’t during the primaries. And even more meaningfully, her stepdaughter loves her. Anyone with a stepmother or stepdaughter knows this is no small feat.
One could almost imagine Donald Trump with orange makeup smudged on his white polo shirt drinking a Diet Coke, rage-texting Sean Hannity like Tony Montana from Scarface, but with lines of Fox News as the drug.
This was a night when Democrats made the case that this was the most important election of our lifetime because it is. America stands on the precipice of disaster. We have a president who will do anything to keep power, and this time the good guys have to win because I don’t think I’ll do well in Gitmo.