The Democratic Party Convention came to a climax on Thursday night Hillary Rodham Clinton’s acceptance as the party’s nominee for president. Before that, Monday through Thursday saw many speakers address the convention. Some were great and others not so much. All in all, the Democrats had a well run convention. Here is a list of my top 6 speeches from the convention.
- Jennifer Gronholm.
Jennifer Granholm served as Michigan Governor from 2003 to 2011. During the Democratic National Convention in 2012, her star shone in the eyes of many democrats as she gave arguably the most electrifying speech of the convention. Back then she gave a bold, energetic, and above all loud speech that took direct aim at then Republican nominee Mitt Romney:
“I’m Jennifer Granholm, from the great state of Michigan, where the trees are just the right height,” she said, in a reference to one of Mitt Romney’s more inexplicable comments from the campaign trail. Granholm then winked after the remark to drive home the point.
In 2016 at the DNC convention, Gronholm found the same star power of 2012, though this time, taking aim the Republican party nominee for president Donald Trump:
“I am a fierce Democrat. But I know there are Democrats AND Republicans across the country who want to create jobs in America. Liberals and conservatives. Public sector and private industry. Because we’re not in this alone – we’re all in this together. One candidate for President gets that. And one candidate, Joe Biden said last night, doesn’t have a clue. Some people are worried. Some people are angry. I get that. But the answer isn’t to tear our country down, it’s to build our country up.
Poking holes into Trump’s proposal to build a wall to secure the border and have Mexico pay for it, Gronholm said:
“Trumps proposal is not to build walls that keep the rest of the world OUT, but to keep building the industries and universities that the rest of the world wishes they could get into.”
- Michael Bloomberg
The 73-year-old founder and CEO of Bloomberg L.P., a global financial data and media company, is worth $37.2 billion. He paid for all three of his mayoral campaigns out-of-pocket. He was a Democrat who switched party affiliation to Republican to run for mayor in 2001. He then became an Independent in 2007 when he contemplated a run for the White House. In 2016, he is rooting for a Democrat in Hillary Clinton.
Michael Bloomberg didn’t mince words. His theme anchored on the idea of a billionaire talking about another billionaire was that Trump is a risky, reckless, and radical choice. He offered:
“To me, this election is not a choice between a Democrat and a Republican. “It’s a choice about who is better to lead our country right now: better for our economy, better for our security, better for our freedom, and better for our future. There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton is the right choice this November.”
Bloomberg also used his perspective as a businessman, New Yorker and former mayor to hit Trump from multiple angles.
“I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one,” he said to cheers from the audience
- Michelle Obama
In 2008 Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention introducing her husband Barack Obama was greeted with controversy for the remark: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country … not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”
That was then. In 2016 and in year before, Michelle Obama has grown to be one of the best surrogates the Democrats have. She is known in some circles as the “closer in-chief” for her ability to rally the base.
Her mercurial speech on Monday night reminded Americans where she came from, and how far the country had come. She then told of how those story lines relate to one another in embracing her role as a mother and a leader:
“That is the story of this country. This the story that has brought me to this stage tonight. The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done – so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.”
Michelle did not shy away from throwing the gauntlet at Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee for president, who has been synonymous with the birther movement that was focused on proving Obama was not an American citizen:
“That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight — how we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith. How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country. How we explain that when someone is cruel, or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level -– no, our motto is, when they go low, we go high
- Joe Biden
During the Vice President debate in 2012 with Republican’s Paul Ryan, there was a lot of expectation that Joe Biden had to do a better job to keep any hope of his party reclaiming the presidency. This is after Barack Obama’s dull debate against Mitt Romney. True to form, Biden did not disappoint. He went after Paul Ryan and Republican’s policy proposals terming them: “a bunch of malarkey.”
That phrase was one of the highlights of Joe Biden’s speech at the DNC, and the phrase has become a hit on search engines.
In his speech, Biden ripped into Donald Trump as a charlatan spinning a false narrative of national:
“His lack of empathy and compassion can be summed up in a phrase I suspect he’s most proud of having made famous: ‘You’re fired.’ I mean really, I’m not joking. Think about that. Think about everything you learned as a child, no matter where you were raised. How can there be pleasure in saying ‘you’re fired!’ He’s trying to tell us he cares about the middle class? Give me a break. That’s a bunch of malarkey!”
- Khizr Khan
Captain Khan was killed in June 2004 by a car bomb near Baquba, Iraq. He had told his fellow soldiers to stay away from the suspicious vehicle. He approached it, and it exploded. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
His father shared his grief, and the story of his son’s sacrifice in an emotional rebuke of Trump’s immigration proposals and his ideas on religious tolerance.
“Donald Trump. You are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.” He then pulled a copy of the Constitution from his pocket and offered: “In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law……have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicity. You have sacrificed nothing.”
- Barack Obama
Wednesday night’s beautiful and emotional speech came 12 years after Mr. Obama, then a Senate candidate from Illinois, delivered the keynote address at the Democratic convention in Boston that brought him into the national spotlight
For the Wednesday night speech, Obama worked with White House speechwriter Cody Keenan on the address for three weeks, going through six drafts. The most recent draft came after First Lady Michelle Obama’s well-received speech on Monday night, which had the President up until 3 a.m. on Tuesday re-writing, White House officials said.
President Obama did a great job rousing Democrats with a progressive call to action. Obama contrasted Ronald Reagan’s invocation of America as John Winthrop’s “shining city upon a hill” with Trump’s vision of a “divided crime scene that only he can fix.”
Obama’s liberal use of conservative imagery definitely touched those on the right. And in a clarion call to minorities to participate in the electoral process, a move that may see a higher turnout of the demographic in the polls, Obama noted:
“If you want more justice in the justice system, then we’ve all got to vote, not just for a president, but for mayors and sheriffs and state’s attorneys and state legislators. That’s where the criminal law is made.”