Campaign

Democratic stars unleash fury of assaults on Trump

President Trump came under sustained attack from the biggest names in Democratic politics on Wednesday night, as Joe Biden’s highest-profile supporters sought to light a fire under Democrats with stark reminders about what’s at stake in 2020.

Newly minted vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said Trump’s “failure of leadership had cost lives and livelihoods.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she’s experienced firsthand Trump’s “disrespect for facts, for working families and for women.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Trump’s “ignorance and incompetence have been a threat to our country.”

Democrats enlisted artists to issue direct appeals to younger voters about the dangers of Trump — and the price Democrats will pay if they don’t get out to vote. They cut videos with emotional pleas from young activists intercut with Trump denigrating immigrants or denying climate change.

The most sobering moment of the night for Democrats was former President Obama’s blistering address, in which he accused Trump of being a conspiracy theorist who has fomented hate and degraded the nation’s standing in the world.

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t and the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama said. “170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”

Obama’s grave tone came in contrast to his breezy 2016 convention speech, which was broken up by laughs and smiles.

That tone permeated speeches throughout the night, evidence that Democrats do not want to appear overconfident about their chances of beating Trump, as they were four years ago.

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” Harris said. “We will stumble. We may fall short.”

The Democrats often pivoted from Trump to encouraging viewers to get out and vote.

That message was notable for coming on the same night that 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton addressed the convention.

Clinton won the popular vote by more than 3 million in 2016 but lost the Electoral College after falling short by narrow margins in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Democratic turnout was lower than it needed to be in metro areas of those states for Clinton.

Democrats are hellbent on ensuring they do not live through that nightmare again. Harris opened the night with a plea to Democrats to get out and vote, a reminder that was repeated every few minutes.

Polls that show Biden suffering from a lack of enthusiasm have been a source of worry for Democrats, even as the nominee has opened up leads in most of the battleground states that will determine the outcome of the election.

The recent fury over changes at the Postal Service has further driven fears that election meddling could cost the party in a close election.

But Democrats feel that Trump should be all the motivation they need to turn out huge numbers in 2020.

“Remember in 2016 when Trump asked, ‘What do you have to lose?’ Well, now we know — our health, our jobs, even our lives. Our leadership in the world and, yes, our post office,” Clinton said. “Remember, Joe and Kamala can win 3 million more votes and still lose. Take it from me. We need numbers so overwhelming Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”

The attacks on Trump even permeated the musical interludes and policy content.

Singer Billie Eilish spoke directly to younger voters in a direct-to-camera monologue before launching into a new song.

“You don’t need me to tell you things are a mess,” Eilish said. “Donald Trump is destroying our country and everything we care about.”

Democrats created video content about immigration and the environment that featured Trump’s own remarks denying climate change and insulting undocumented immigrants.

One video that created an online stir featured an open letter to Trump from an 11-year-old girl named Estela Juarez, whose mother came to the U.S. as a teenager and married a U.S. marine who voted for Trump in 2016.

Juarez said her mother lived, worked, paid taxes and raised her family in the U.S. before receiving immigration protections under the Obama administration. Her mother was deported after Trump became president.

“Every day that passes, you deport more moms and dads and take them away from kids like me,” Juarez said. “You separated thousands of children from their parents and put them in cages. Some of those kids are now orphans because of you.”

Obama said Democrats must hit the polls to “leave no doubt about what this country stands for.”

“They’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter,” Obama said. “We can’t let that happen. Do not let them take away your power. Don’t let them take away your democracy. Make a plan right now for how you’re going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can and tell your family and friends how they can vote too.” 

Tags 2020 conventions 2020 Democratic convention Barack Obama Billie Eilish Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Nancy Pelosi

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