Democratic Convention: Day 1
Today kicks off the Democrats’ response to last week’s Republican National Convention. Charlotte, North Carolina, is the host city, a choice made when it seemed possible for President Barack Obama to carry the state. But the 2012 Tar Heels’ political climate is not as friendly to the Democrats as their 2008 counterparts, and Obama won the state’s electoral votes by a mere 0.33 percent four years ago.
Nonetheless, the venue has long been set, and so the Democrats will be delivering their take on the politics of the day from Charlotte.
Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats have been reluctant to release a detailed schedule of events. We do know that First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver a speech tonight, as will independent Governor (and former Republican Senator) Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island.
Chafee’s DW-NOMINATE score of –0.055 made him the most fiscally liberal Republican Senator during his four terms, and the Republican Party hardliners’ label of RINO (Republican In Name Only), coupled with his 2006 loss to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, led him to ultimately abandon the Party altogether.
Former President Jimmy Carter will address the delegates via video.
Actor Kal Penn, best known for his roles in the Harold & Kumar movies and on the television series House, will be speaking tonight as well. He had left House to work in the Obama administration for a while.
Tonight’s keynote speaker is San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. The 37-year-old is the identical twin of Texas State Representative Joaquín Castro, who will be introducing him. Their parents were both political activists. Both major political parties are heavily courting the Latino vote, and it is clear that Castro’s Latino roots influenced the decision to give him a speaking role. Castro has developed a reputation as a serious contender for the Presidency in 2016, and his position as the keynote speaker on opening night reflects that; eight years ago, that role was filled by Barack Obama, who was making his first Senate run at the time. His speech will be watched closely by many tonight.
Here’s tonight’s schedule:
5:00 PM EDT
This is the relatively weak hour, filled with a lot of low-level pomp and circumstance. But there are two speakers of note:
- Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston, FL) at the beginning of the hour, and
- Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville, MD), who will finish the hour
6:00 PM EDT
- Representative Barbara Lee (D-Oakland, CA)
- Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy (Retired)
- Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory A. Booker
- North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue
- Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry
- Representative Charles Gonzalez (D-San Antonio, TX)
- Representative Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Brookyn, NY)
- Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
- Cincinnati, Ohio, firefighter Doug Stern
- Former Virginia Governor and current Senate candidate Tim Kaine
7:00 PM EDT
- Charlotte, North Carolina, Mayor Anthony R. Foxx
- Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
- Former President Jimmy Carter (as a video)
- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
- House Candidate Joe Kennedy, III
- Former Representative Robert Wexler (D-Boca Raton, FL)
8:00 PM EDT
- Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mayor R. T. Rybak
- Representative Jared Polis (D-Boulder, CO)
- National Abortion Rights Action League President Nancy Keenan
- House Candidate Tammy Duckworth
- Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee
- Representative James E. Clyburn (D-Columbia, SC)
- Representative Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles, CA)
9:00 PM EDT
- Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland
- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
- Kal Penn
- Craig Robinson and Maya Soetoro-ng (Michelle Obama’s brother and Barack Obama’s sister)
- Lilly Ledbetter
- Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
10:00 PM EDT
- Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley
- House Candidate Joaquin Castro
- San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Julián Castro
- First Lady Michelle Obama
As with last week, we’ll be here for the festivities. PBS will start coverage at 8:00 PM EDT, and C-SPAN will probably start closer to 2:00 PM EDT. You can watch the C-SPAN coverage online. Join us in the comments. What do you think will happen tonight?
- Chafee will speak at Obama’s convention (wpri.com)
- What to watch for at the DNC this week (cbsnews.com)
- Convention Spotlight Beckons San Antonio Mayor (nytimes.com)
- Democrats gather in Charlotte hoping to build momentum (stltoday.com)