Kamala Harris makes history at DNC after Barack Obama rallies voters against Trump – as it happened

Last modified: 04: 37 AM GMT+0

Key takeaways from the night

That’s it from us tonight. The Guardian live blog will be back tomorrow, when Joe Biden accepts the Democratic presidential nomination.

Here are the key takeaways from the third night of the Democratic convention:

  • Harris made history as she became the first Black woman and first Asian American to join a major party’s presidential ticket. Harris underscored the historic nature of her nomination by reflecting on the women who helped her reach this moment, including her mother, who immigrated to America from India. Harris said of her, “She probably could have never imagined that I would be standing before you now speaking these words: I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America.”
  • Barack Obama delivered a dire message calling for voters to protect American democracy. The former president argued that Donald Trump’s potential reelection posed an existential threat to the country’s democratic values and institutions, and he implored voters to “embrace your own responsibility as citizens” ahead of November’s election.
  • Hillary Clinton reflected on her own election loss. The 2016 Democratic nominee said she has met many Americans who have told her they wish they could go back to 2016 and vote differently, or just vote. “This can’t be another woulda-coulda-shoulda election,” Clinton said.
  • The night was dedicated to celebrating women’s political participation, culminating in Harris’ nomination. Several of the most prominent women in the Democratic party, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, addressed the convention, and Democrats played a video commemorating the hundred-year anniversary since American women gained the right to vote.
  • Gabrielle Giffords provided the most emotional moment of the night. The former congresswoman, who suffered brain damage after she was shot at an event with constituents in 2011, said, “Today, I struggle with speech, but I have not lost my voice. America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words.”

Thanks for following along with our convention coverage tonight, and remember to tune back in tomorrow.

Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords delivered a moving speech tonight, in which she noted her ongoing struggles since she was shot at an event with constituents in 2011.

“Today I struggle to speak, but I have not lost my voice,” Giffords said. “America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words.”

.@JoeBiden and I agree that pain is best overcome by purpose.

I still struggle to speak, but at tonight’s #DemConvention, I made my voice heard.

For the safety and future of our country, we must elect @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris. pic.twitter.com/oxFNdjwsvm

— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) August 20, 2020

A spokesperson for Giffords said she spent “countless hours” working to deliver the speech, which was her longest speech since she was shot.

Actress Regina King narrated the introduction to the speech, and she said in a statement, It was an honor to help share Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ story of perseverance and courage as part of the Democratic National Convention. Her determination to never stay silent, against all odds, should be inspiration to us all.”

On fact-checking, here’s an astute point from CNN’s Daniel Dale:

A common response to Trump's lying is "well, they all lie." I think it's important to note how asymmetrical the lying is.

You have hours of numerous Democrats speaking with no objectively false claims. It's rare to get ten minutes falseness-free from this president.

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 20, 2020

– Maanvi Singh

Some more context on the Trump campaign’s assertion tonight that Kamala Harris is the “most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, with a voting record even further to the left than Bernie Sanders”

It’s true that non-partisan GovTrack ranked Harris as the “most liberal compared to All Senators” in part because she joined bipartisan bills very rarely. While Harris supports many relatively progressive policies, she stepped back from Sanders’ vision f Medicare fr All and maintained that private insurance companies should still play a role in the American health care system. Her record before she became senator has also alientated her from many progressives.

“Our analysis is at odds with her documented pre-Congress career of being pragmatic or moderate, and it remains to be seen which part of her career, her actions as a district attorney and Attorney General or her policy proposals in Congress – would be reflected greater in a Biden administration,” Josh Tauberer, GovTrack founder told the Sacramento Bee.

– Maanvi Singh

One fact-check from tonight:

“[Biden] and President Obama made it easier for home care workers to organize. They extended overtime pay to more than 4 million workers.” said former labor secretary Hilda Solis

It’s true that the Obama-Biden admin’s Labor Department wrote regulations to extend overtime pay to 4m workers. But the regulations were blocked before they took effect, by a federal judge in Texas.

In 2019, the Trump admin extended overtime for about 1.3m workers.

– Maanvi Singh


The Trump campaign has responded to tonight’s DNC events by casting the Biden-Harris ticket as socialist.

“The radical leftists have taken over the Democrat party and now they want to take over this country, pledging to remake America in the image of socialism,” said Hogan Gidley, the Trump 2020 national press secretary.

– Maanvi Singh

Kamala Harris’ acceptance speech has resonated with many watching. But one moment has chimed in particular with Indian American viewers, who have never been represented on a presidential ticket before.

I literally have tears in my eyes. @KamalaHarris just said “chithis” which means auntie. My heart is so full right now

— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) August 20, 2020

It took Kamala Harris shouting out her ‘chithis’ to really make me realize that holy shit, a first gen South Asian person could really become Vice President

— Ayan Chatterjee (@goayango) August 20, 2020

As someone who has a deceased Indian mother and scientist who was my best friend, I can’t believe this is our candidate for Vice President. How in my lifetime? How? @SenKamalaHarris

— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) August 20, 2020

I spy with my little eye...

Did you catch the surprises sprinkled throughout @ewarren’s #DemConvention set? 👀

— Warren Democrats (@TeamWarren) August 20, 2020

Spotted: Converse (a Massachusetts company!) and @JoeBiden! pic.twitter.com/InQrwioDpL

— Warren Democrats (@TeamWarren) August 20, 2020

– Maanvi Singh

Barack Obama was originally meant to speak after Kamala Harris tonight, according to reporters from ABC and the Washington Post. But he asked to switch, so he could “pass the torch to her,” per reports.

Confirming the @washingtonpost reporting@BarackObama was originally slated to close night three of the @DemConvention, but asked to swap spots with @KamalaHarris to symbolically "pass the torch" to her, a Democratic official tells me

— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) August 20, 2020

– Maanvi Singh

Third night of the Democratic convention concludes

The third night of the Democratic convention has concluded, with Kamala Harris formally accepting the vice presidential nomination.

The convention will continue tomorrow with Joe Biden delivering his acceptance speech, but the blog has more reactions and analysis coming, so stay tuned.

Harris casts election as 'a chance to change the course of history'

Closing out her nomination acceptance speech, Kamala Harris cast the presidential election as “a chance to change the course of history.”

“Years from now, this moment will have passed. And our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and ask us: Where were you when the stakes were so high?” Harris said.

“They will ask us, what was it like? And we will tell them. We will tell them, not just how we felt.”

With that, the first Black woman and first Asian American to join a major party’s presidential ticket ended her speech.

Kamala Harris noted that Americans of color are disproportionately affected by coronavirus, blaming that discrepancy on systemic racism.

“While this virus touches us all, let’s be honest, it is not an equal opportunity offender. Black, Latino and Indigenous people are suffering and dying disproportionately,” Harris said. “This is not a coincidence. It is the effect of structural racism.”

The vice presidential nominee said Americans would have to “do the work” to change the systemic racism plaguing the country.

“This virus has no eyes, and yet it knows exactly how we see each other—and how we treat each other,” Harris said. “And let’s be clear—there is no vaccine for racism. We’ve gotta do the work.”

Harris accepts vice presidential nomination, making history

Kamala Harris said her mother could never have imagined that her daughter would be joining a presidential ticket tonight.

With that, Harris said, “I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America.”

In a normal year, that line would have been met with booming applause. Instead, Harris’ historic announcement was greeted only with silence in the mostly empty Delaware event site where she is delivering her speech.

Harris: 'I know a predator when I see one'

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is now delivering her acceptance speech from Joe Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

Continuing the theme of celebrating women’s suffrage, Harris paid homage to the women who helped bring her to this moment, including her mother.

Harris said her mother helped guide her to a path of public service by teaching her to be “conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people.”

Recounting her fights to take on big banks and for-profit colleges, Harris threw a clear jab at Trump, saying “I know a predator when I see one.”

Barack Obama’s return to big political speeches – something he hasn’t really done over the last four years – is stirring up some real nostalgia among some viewers:

God Obama is just such a talented orator and I really miss having a president who isn’t a total sociopath and can speak in complete sentences.

— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) August 20, 2020

Wow. It will always be stunning that America went from Barack Obama to the weak, sorry excuse for a President we have now.

— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 20, 2020

Obama has the glow of a man whose wife actually loves him

— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) August 20, 2020

Subliminal Obama: "Get off your damn ass and vote! What more do I have to say? Are you kidding me? Vote, fools. Vote! I didn't spend 8 years trying to help this country just to see a dumbass like Trump destroy it in 8."

— Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali (@WajahatAli) August 20, 2020

Harris officially becomes vice presidential nominee

California Senator Kamala Harris has formally received the Democratic vice presidential nomination, becoming the first Black woman and first Asian-American to join a major party’s presidential ticket.

Bypassing a roll call vote, convention chairman Bennie Thompson said, “I hereby declare that Kamala Harris is elected as the Democratic candidate for Vice President.”

Before Harris delivered her acceptance speech, she was introduced by her sister Maya Harris, her niece Meena Harris and her stepdaughter Ella Emhoff.

Barack Obama closed his speech the same way he opened it: by arguing that Trump’s potential reelection represent a fundamental threat to American democracy.

“This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win,” Obama said. “So we have to get busy building it up – by pouring all our effort into these 76 days, and by voting like never before.”

When Kamala Harris accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination, she will stand at a podium facing a largely-empty room, filled with only members of the press, production staff and campaign aides.

Signs bearing the names of all 57 states and territories are placed throughout the room and an image of the markers is reflected on the screen behind the podium.

The room, called Wilmington Hall, is inside the Chase Center, a waterfront convention center near Joe Biden’s home.

Welcome to the Wilmington Hall, where Harris will accept the nomination to be Vice President tonight tonight and where Joe Biden will deliver his acceptance speech tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/UPo90u2DLp

— Lauren Gambino (@laurenegambino) August 20, 2020

That’s it! That’s the room where history will be made tonight.


While Barack Obama spoke at the DNC, Donald Trump tweeted a lie. In an all caps tweets, the president baselessly accused Obama of spying on the Trump campaign.

Fact check: FBI Director Chris Wray has said there was no evidence the FBI illegally monitored Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election.

– Maanvi Singh

Barack Obama directly addressed Americans who may feel disenchanted with politics after four years of witnessing Trump in office.

“Well, here’s the point: this president and those in power – those who benefit from keeping things the way they are – they are counting on your cynicism,” Obama said.

The former president argued Republicans were actively trying to dissuade disappointed voters from casting their ballots.

“That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all,” Obama warned. “We can’t let that happen. Do not let them take away your power. Don’t let them take away your democracy.”

Barack Obama asked Americans to remember their own important role in protecting and strengthening the country’s democracy.

“No single American can fix this country alone. Not even a president,” Obama said. “It requires an active and informed citizenry. So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability – to embrace your own responsibility as citizens – to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure.

“Because that’s what at stake right now. Our democracy.”

Obama: Trump treats the presidency like 'one more reality show'

Echoing his wife’s words on Monday, Barack Obama offered a searing indictment of Trump’s presidency in a time of unprecedented crisis.

The former president said his successor has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

Reflecting on the 170,000 American lives already lost to coronavirus, Obama said, “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe.”


Obama addresses convention from Philadelphia

Barack Obama addressed the Democratic convention from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Obama used the backdrop to underscore his message of the necessity to protect democratic institutions and ideals.

“I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care,” Obama said. “But he never did.”

Elizabeth Warren has concluded her address, but no one can stop pointing out one small detail in the background – the children’s letters that spell out a certain acronym:


— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) August 20, 2020

Elizabeth Warren delivered her remarks from the Early Childhood Education Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, which has been closed because of coronavirus.

Donald Trump’s ignorance and incompetence have always been a danger to our country,” Warren said. “Covid-19 was Trump’s biggest test. He failed miserably.”

She argued the extent of the crisis underscored the urgent need to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in November.

“This crisis is bad – and didn’t have to be this way,” Warren said. “We all need to be in the fight to get Joe and Kamala elected. And after November, we all need to stay in the fight to get big things done.”


You may be asking yourself: who’s actually watching this convention? One person we know for sure is Kerry Washington’s 8th grade teacher, who just tweeted her surprise at being referenced by tonight’s host:

OMG!!!! Hi 😍 Thank you for watching!!!!! And thank you for inspiring me and sooo many other students!!! https://t.co/Xf9wU6jbhI

— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) August 20, 2020

Warren celebrates Biden's plans, echoing her own campaign

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren used her convention speech to pitch Joe Biden’s plans to rebuild the US economy following the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I love a good plan, and Joe Biden has some really good plans,” Warren said.

The message appeared to be a reference to Warren’s slogan on the campaign trail when she sought the Democratic nomination: “I’ve got a plan for that.”


Hillary Clinton is back at the DNC, four years after she lost to Trump despite winning the popular vote by a significant margin. And you can tell it’s still a raw topic for her, saying “Don’t forget, Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose -- take it from me”.

Her appearance has made many viewers rue for what could have been:

Watching @HillaryClinton really makes you wonder what the last 4 years would have been like if we hadn’t been sexist AF

— Katie Hill (@KatieHill4CA) August 20, 2020

what could have been.

— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) August 20, 2020

If @HillaryClinton were president today, you better believe this pandemic would be a lot more under control than it is right now.@JoeBiden will clean up the mess Donald Trump created and get this country back on track. #DemConvention

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 20, 2020

The third night of the convention has focused on the central role women play in the Democratic party, and it has included speeches from several of the most prominent women in the party, including Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.

“As speaker, I’ve seen firsthand Donald Trump’s disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular—disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct,” Pelosi said. “But we know what he doesn’t: that when women succeed, America succeeds.”

The theme seems fitting for the third night of the convention, which will end with Kamala Harris accepting the vice presidential nomination.

Pelosi accuses McConnell and Trump of standing in the way of progress

House speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the Democratic convention from San Francisco, and she fiercely criticized Trump and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Pelosi outlined some of the policy goals of Democrats, including expanding access to affordable childcare and passing pay equity legislation.

“Who is standing in the way? Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump,” Pelosi said. “So here is our answer: we will see them in November.”

The climate crisis is getting its most extensive coverage on the third night of the convention.

Two compilation videos bookended New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham speaking about the need to expand clean energy in front of a field of solar panels.

Twice there were references to Biden introducing one of the first climate bills in the 1980s. Promises of millions of good paying jobs voiced over images of public lands, sustainable farms and alternative transportation like electric scooters.

Biden’s plan promises to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and put 40% of investments toward the most vulnerable communities. But the convention’s climate credentials have been marred by the DNC’s surprising decision to remove language to oppose fossil fuel subsidies, despite Biden’s support for eliminating them. Even the youth climate activist Greta Thunberg criticized the move.

Video cut to Trump calling global warming a “hoax.” A whistleblower scientist who left the Interior department in 2017 the Trump administration has gone “all out,” to reverse climate efforts and has handed the keys to public lands over to private interests.

Young climate activists spoke about losing their communities to wildfires, questioning whether they should raise families and feeling cheated because people of color are more likely to be exposed to pollution.

The climate crisis is getting the biggest spotlight it has ever had from a US political party. And while Biden is unquestionably the better alternative for the crisis than Trump (and he got tons of credit from environmental advocates for his proposals), critics say he is still not aggressive enough with the fossil fuel industry.

As the Democrats vilified the Trump administration’s record of hardline immigration policies that separated families, Belén Sisa – a DACA recipient and activist who served as the Latino press secretary for the Bernie Sanders campaign – pointed out there is some amount of hypocrisy in play.

Really not into the @DNC using immigrant pain like they didn’t have some complacency in locking us up and separating families four years ago before Trump took office. #DemConvention

— Belén Sisa (@belensisaw) August 20, 2020

Immigrant families were separated during the Obama administration, though there was no administration policy back then to prosecute parents and separate them from children. The Obama/Biden administration also deported hundreds of thousands of people without criminal records, which Biden recently admitted was a “big mistake”.

“We took far too long to get it right,” Biden said in an interview with Univision in February. “I think it was a big mistake. Took too long to get it right.”

Sisa wasn’t the only one critical of the Democrats’ video on immigration. Erika Andiola, an immigrant rights activist and podcast host who is the chief advocacy officer for the organization RAICES tweeted:

This whole immigration video was like putting salt on the wound. Narrated by Obama? Come on.

Yes, I am angry because it was his administration who almost deported my mother and then Trump came to try to deport her again.

I get it. This is politics, but I am a human. This hurts.

— Erika Andiola (@ErikaAndiola) August 20, 2020

– Maanvi Singh


Clinton urges voters to turn out 'so Trump can't sneak his way to victory'

Hillary Clinton noted she has spoken to a number of Americans who have said they wished they had voted in 2016 or voted differently.

“This can’t be another woulda, coulda, shoulda election,” Clinton said.

The former presidential nominee also referenced her 2016 loss, saying, “Don’t forget, Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose. Take it from me.”

She added, “We need numbers so overwhelming Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”


Hillary Clinton: 'I wish Donald Trump knew how to be a president'

Following a video celebrating women’s suffrage, Hillary Clinton addressed the Democratic convention from Chappaqua, New York.

The 2016 Democratic nominee said Trump took office “with so much set up for him,” including a pandemic response team.

Clinton argued Trump could have been a more successful president “if he had put his own interests and ego aside.”

“I wish Donald Trump knew how to be a president because America needs a president right now,” Clinton said.

The Trump campaign criticized the Democratic convention by lashing out against ... Billie Eilish?

The rapid response director of the Trump campaign tweeted shortly after Eilish’s performance at the convention, “Nothing screams tormented rebellious teenager bucking the establishment more than singing at the Democratic National Convention to promote Joe Biden.”

Nothing screams tormented rebellious teenager bucking the establishment more than singing at the Democratic National Convention to promote Joe Biden.

— Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) August 20, 2020

Before performing her song My Future, Eilish accused the president of “destroying our country and everything we care about.”

“Silence is not an option, and we cannot sit this one out. We all have to vote like our lives and the world depend on it because they do,” Eilish said.


Stop what you're doing and watch this.#DemConvention pic.twitter.com/0roCHAIimQ

— 2020 #DemConvention 🇺🇸 (@DemConvention) August 20, 2020

Two years ago, The Guardian’s Richard Luscombe spoke to one of the families featured at DNC tonight:

All Estela Juarez wanted for her ninth birthday was for her family to be allowed to stay together.

The gift from Donald Trump’s administration, however, was fully in keeping with its zero-tolerance stance on immigration. On Friday, Juarez, an American citizen, will leave the only country she has ever known and board a plane to Mexico as US officials enforce a deportation order against her mother, Alejandra.

Her father, a former US marine, national guardsman and decorated combat veteran, will stay in Florida with Juarez’s 16-year-old sister, Pamela.

The breaking apart of American military families marks a new low point in Trump’s war on immigration, some White House critics believe, while Alejandra Juarez – who is being expelled 20 years after she entered the US illegally from Mexico as a teenager – says it is a “slap in the face”.

“When I think about the service my husband has given this country it just breaks my heart,” she said.

“They try and punish me for something that happened a long time ago, but they’re not punishing me, they’re punishing my husband, my kids. It makes you think if it’s really worth fighting for this country when it comes down to this, putting your life at risk for a country that doesn’t take your service into consideration.”


Singer Billie Eilish performed her song My Future at the convention, after several segments on the need to confront climate change.

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

“Silence is not an option, and we cannot sit this one out. We all have to vote like our lives and the world depend on it because they do. The only way to be certain of the future is to make it ourselves.”

"The only way to be certain of the future is to make it ourselves."

"You don't need me to tell you things are a mess," Billie Eilish says before performing at #DemConvention. "Silence is not an option and we can't sit this one out." https://t.co/PPXl9Fh6pU pic.twitter.com/0pT9RNUZGN

— ABC News (@ABC) August 20, 2020


In its opening 15 minutes the DNC has already had some powerfully moving moments.

The first came with a segment on gun violence, which included Emma Gonzalez’s famous speech after the Parkland shooting, as well as interviews with parents and children impacted by school shootings.

Then Gabby Giffords, the former congresswoman who was shot in the head in 2011, delivered a remarkable speech. You can watch it here:

“He was there for me. He’ll be there for you. Please join us in this fight.” - @GabbyGiffords #DemConvention pic.twitter.com/1vfddFV0mK

— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) August 20, 2020

The response online has been emotional:

The gun violence segment was powerful and overwhelming. Gabby Giffords: vote, vote, vote.

— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) August 20, 2020

I have to admit to tears right now.

— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) August 20, 2020

Gabby Giffords... if you are not in awe and in tears you have lost your humanity

— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) August 20, 2020


Earlier today, climate activist Greta Thunberg put forth a reminder:

”The Democratic National Committee this week quietly dropped language calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks from its party platform”

So, not even the very very minimum...https://t.co/2h7A1bDmj9

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) August 19, 2020

HuffPost first reported that the DNC dropped the following provision from its official climate platform: “Democrats support eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuels, and will fight to defend and extend tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy.”

The move drew outcry from environmental activists, who pointed out that booth Biden and Harris campaigned on the promise that they would end tax breaks and subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

– Maanvi Singh

The convention has shifted focus to climate change, and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham emphasized the urgent need to defeat Trump and reverse his environmental agenda.

“We know time is running out to save our planet,” the Democratic governor said. “We have the chance this November to end two existential crises: The Trump presidency and the environmental annihilation he represents.”

"We have the chance this November to end two existential crises: the Trump presidency and the environmental annihilation he represents," New Mexico @GovMLG Michelle Lujan Grisham says at #DemConvention. https://t.co/xxNFMY969z pic.twitter.com/jPzv8e9AhH

— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) August 20, 2020

The three young climate activists speaking tonight are Alexandria Villaseñor, in California, Andrew Adamski, in Wisconsin, and Katherine Lorenzo, based in Nevada.

In a pre-recorded video, Villaseñor, speaking the arboretum on the campus of the University of California, Davis says: “I was 13 when the Camp Fire, the most destructive wildfire in California’s history, broke out.”

The 15-year-old, who has been advocating for environmental justice since that deadly fire struck, delivered a dire message: “Climate change is impacting us now, and it’s robbing my generation of our future,” Villaseñor will say in a pretaped speech. “For young people my age, every aspect of our lives — from where we go to school, to what kind of careers will have, to whether or not we can have a family — depends on us taking action now.”

Today, another round of catastrophic fires have struck the Golden state — amid a broiling heatwave, as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. California governor Gavin Newsom reported that the state was battling more than 360 fires. Villaseñor, who has asthma, reported on Twitter that her family taped their ceiling vents, to blog smoke. “I’m ok. But CA is not,” she wrote.

it's 2am
I'm 12 miles from the evacuation zone
the AQI is 165
we just taped up all the ceiling vents,
the fire would have to jump 2 highways to get here & that's not likely
I'm ok. But CA is not.#LNULightningComplex #CaliforniaFires #CaliforniaHeatWave https://t.co/VsIYIxziMl

— Alexandria Villaseñor (@AlexandriaV2005) August 19, 2020

Gabby Giffords offers personal endorsement of Biden

Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who suffered severe brain damage after she was shot at an event with constituents in 2011, urged all Americans to vote in the presidential election.

“I’ve known the darkest of days,” Giffords said. “But confronted by despair, I’ve summoned hope. ... Today, I struggle with speech, but I have not lost my voice. America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words.”

Gabby Giffords: "Today, I struggle with speech, but I have not lost my voice. America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words. We are at a crossroads. We can choose to let this continue or we can act." pic.twitter.com/d03PTSYpg8

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 20, 2020

Giffords specifically praised Joe Biden, thanking him for supporting her after the shooting.

“He was there for me. He’ll be there for you,” Giffords said. “Join us in this fight. Vote, vote, vote.”

According to an NBC News reporter, Giffords “worked intensely” to be able to deliver the remarks.

Convention organizers say @GabbyGiffords worked intensely to be able to deliver these remarks. It's quite something to see

— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) August 20, 2020


Every night during the Democratic national convention, Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is filling inboxes with rapid responses that offer a preview of the bilious attacks that can be expected when Republicans convene next week.

Just a couple of minutes into Wednesday’s proceedings, a fundraising email in the US president’s name contained a string of insults. “Just when I thought this pathetic event couldn’t get more CORRUPT, they decide to bring in CROOKED Hillary, Crazy Nancy, Pocahontas, Phony Kamala, and Lyin’ Obama all in ONE NIGHT,” it said.

It was a list that included Trump’s favourite nickname from 2016, “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, as well as his racist tag for Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Leaning into negative partisanship, the message added: “All of these Radical Democrats HATE me and they HATE YOU. They would love nothing more than to see us FAIL, which is why it’s going to take all hands on deck to make sure that never happens.”

The email gave options to donate a gift that would be “instantly 600% matched” meaning, for example, that a donation of $5 would be matched by $35.


The convention highlighted Democrats’ calls for stricter gun laws, with several people sharing stories about how their lives have been affected by gun violence.

DeAndra Dycus recounted how her son was left paralyzed and voiceless after he was struck by a stray bullet at the age of 13.

“The child that I birthed is not able to live his dreams, and that hurts,” Dycus said.

“President Trump, he doesn’t care. He didn’t care about the victims after Parkland, Las Vegas or El Paso.”

Dycus voiced support for Joe Biden’s proposals to ban assault weapons and close gun ownership loopholes.

“Joe Biden has taken on the NRA twice and won, and he will do it again as president,” Dycus said.

Emma González, a survivor of the Parkland school shooting and advocate for gun control, narrated a video about gun violence.

“People affected by everyday gun violence have to walk by the street corner where their best friend, their brother, their mother, their nephew, where they themselves were shot, and life goes on and on as if we all haven’t just watched a loved one die and get put in the grave.”

Also featured: DeAndra Dycus, who’s son was left paralyzed and unable to speak after he was hit by a stray bullet. Dycus, who volunteers with Everytown Survivor Network and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told Indianapolis monthly: “I will talk to Dre as if he can hold a conversation with me, because I’m waiting for the day where he responds. You know? We get some head nods, he pumps his fist in the air, which I believe is hello. He can babble a little bit if he’s in a good mood. So I talk to him because I still have faith and believe in one day he’ll say “Mom” again.”

Gabby Giffords, a former representative of Arizona who was shot in the head in an assassination attempt, urged those who want to see gun reform: “Vote, vote vote”

– Maanvi Singh


Harris kicks off third night of convention

Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris kicked off the night by stressing the urgency of voting in the November election.

The California senator noted that this year, there have been “obstacles and misinformation and folks making it harder to cast your ballot.”

“Why is there so much effort to silence our voices?” Harris rhetorically asked. “The answer is because when we vote, things change. When we vote, things get better.”

Harris emphasized that every American needed a “voting plan” to ensure access to the ballot, particularly because of the challenges posed by coronavirus.

Harris will return later to deliver her nomination acceptance speech, but for now, she turned things over to actress Kerry Washington.

Third night of Democratic convention starts

The third night of the virtual Democratic national convention has started, with an introduction from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.

The convention was originally supposed to take place in Evers’ home state before the coronavirus pandemic derailed Democrats’ plans.

In typical fashion, Trump made major news shortly before the start of the third night of the Democratic convention.

Trump announced he would seek to have UN sanctions reimposed on Iran, setting the stage for a potential crisis between the US and its European allies.

The president also praised the baseless right-wing conspiracy theory known as QAnon.

Trump said during his briefing today, “I don’t know much about the movement; I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate. ... I heard these are people that love our country.”

Barack Obama will address the convention tonight, and his speech is expected to depict Trump’s potential reelection as a fundamental threat to American democracy.

According to excerpts released by the DNC, Obama will say, “I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care. But he never did.”

The former president will go on to say, “ I am also asking you to believe in your own ability – to embrace your own responsibility as citizens – to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure. Because that’s what at stake right now. Our democracy.”

The setting of Obama’s speech -- the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia -- will underscore his message of preserving American democracy by electing Joe Biden.

The DNC released an excerpt of the biographical video that will play before Kamala Harris formally accepts the vice presidential nomination tonight.

The video prominently features Black women praising Harris as a “fearless advocate for the voiceless” and someone who will fight for “all of America.”

The clip underscores the historic nature of Harris’ nomination, as she becomes the first Black woman and first Asian-American to join a major party’s presidential ticket.

Harris to accuse Trump of turning 'tragedies into political weapons'

Hello, live blog readers, and welcome to the third night of the virtual Democratic national convention.

The first two nights of the convention were eventful, with Michelle Obama delivering a searing indictment of Donald Trump’s leadership and Jill Biden offering a personal case for electing her husband, Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

But tonight marks the most consequential moment of the convention yet. California Senator Kamala Harris, the first Black woman and the first Asian-American to join a major party’s presidential ticket, will accept the vice-presidential nomination.

Kamala Harris speaks at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington last week.
Kamala Harris speaks at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington last week. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

According to excerpts released by the DNC, Harris will use her acceptance speech to issue a call for unity and condemn Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“[I am] committed to the values she [my mother] taught me, to the word that teaches me to walk by faith, and not by sight, and to a vision passed on through generations of Americans—one that Joe Biden shares,” Harris will say.

“A vision of our nation as a beloved community–where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we love.”

Harris will then shift her focus to Trump’s handling of the pandemic. “Today, that country feels distant. Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” Harris will say. “Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons.”

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will also address the convention tonight, and both speakers are expected to similarly warn the country about the potentially dire consequences of reelecting Trump in November.

Clinton is expected to say, “Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”

All of those speeches are still coming up. The convention will get under way in about a half an hour, so stay tuned.


Joan E Greve in Washington and Maanvi Singh

The GuardianTramp

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