Kamala Harris Officially Becomes Vice PresidentIal Candidate, Stepping Into History
11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT: California Sen. Kamala Harris formally accepted the nomination of the Democratic party to become its candidate for vice president, the first Black woman and first South Asian woman to do so, making history. She is now the fourth woman in American history to be nominated for president or vice president.
In capping off the third night of the virtually held Democratic National Convention she and presidential candidate Joe Biden, who will accept his nomination on Thursday, now move on to face Donald Trump in a bid to unseat him at a time when the nation is staunchly divided by a pandemic, an economic crisis and social unrest.
Harris, who served as district attorney for San Francisco and attorney general for California before becoming U.S. Senator in 2017, invoked the names of several Black women who were civil rights leaders in generations prior including Mary Church Terrell, Mary McCleod Bethune, Fannie Lou Hamer, Diane Nash, Constance Baker Motley and Shirley Chisholm. But she also remembered Rep. John Lewis as well as former president Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Her biggest influence, however, was her late mother, biologist Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who died in 2009.
“My mother taught me that service to others gives life purpose and meaning. And oh, how I wish she were here tonight but I know she’s looking down on me from above,” said Harris. “I keep thinking about that 25-year-old Indian woman—all of five feet tall—who gave birth to me at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California.
“On that day, 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,” said Harris in her address.
Like those who had spoken earlier in the night, she criticized Trump’s performance in the White House.
“Donald Trump's failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” she said. “If you're a parent struggling with your child’s remote learning, or you’re a teacher struggling on the other side of that screen, you know that what we’re doing right now isn’t working.”
But she did not focus on Trump for very long, instead choosing to look at racial, economic and structural problems that the nation is confronting, including those caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” she said. “This is not a coincidence. It is the effect of structural racism, of inequities in education and technology, health care and housing, job security and transportation.
“The injustice in reproductive and maternal health care,” she continued. “In the excessive use of force by police. And in our broader criminal justice system. This virus has no eyes, and yet it knows exactly how we see each other—and how we treat each other.
“And let’s be clear—there is no vaccine for racism. We’ve gotta do the work,” she said while bringing up the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Calling the current times an “inflection point,” she said that Biden will bring together a diverse group of people as part of what the Biden campaign is calling the “Beloved Community.”
“Joe and I believe that we can build that Beloved Community, one that is strong and decent, just and kind. One in which we all can see ourselves,” she said.
“That’s the vision that our parents and grandparents fought for. The vision that made my own life possible. The vision that makes the American promise—for all its complexities and imperfections—a promise worth fighting for.”
Obama Condemns Trump Performance In Office, Offers Hope In Biden/Harris
10:45 p.m. ET/7:45 p.m. PT: Former President Barack Obama gave a resounding speech in support of the man who served as vice president during his eight year administration: Joe Biden.
He first took several sharp shots at President Trump bluntly using the word “failure” to refer to the job he has done over the past four years, saying that he was not prepared for it.
“I have sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president. I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies,” said Obama. “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,” Obama continued. “For close to four years now, he’s shown 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 and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”
Obama left office in 2017 with an economy that had gained a net 11.6 million jobs, and an below average unemployment rate. The number of people without health insurance had dropped by 15 million and illegal immigration had slowed to 35 percent of the number of people caught by Border Patrol officers, according to Factcheck.org.
Trump, Obama said, has reversed much of that growth.
“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t,” said Obama. “And the consequences of that failure are severe. 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.”
But he said that he believes Biden can turn the nation in a new direction.
“For eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision. He made me a better president – and he’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country,” Obama said. “And in my friend Kamala Harris, he’s chosen an ideal partner who’s more than prepared for the job; someone who knows what it’s like to overcome barriers and who’s made a career fighting to help others live out their own American dream.
“Along with the experience needed to get things done, Joe and Kamala have concrete policies that will turn their vision of a better, fairer, stronger country into reality.”
He also said that the Democratic ticket, combined with the American citizenry can undo that damage he says Trump has done.
“Tonight, I am asking you to believe in Joe and Kamala’s ability to lead this country out of these dark times and build it back better,” said Obama. “But here’s the thing: no single American can fix this country alone. Not even a president. Democracy was never meant to be transactional – you give me your vote; I make everything better. 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.”
Hillary Clinton Warns Of What Could Happen With Trump Re-Election
10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT: Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton blasted Donald Trump’s performance in the White House. She said after the last election that she had given him the benefit of the doubt, but he failed to take advantage of things like a strong economy and multiple crisis plans.
“If he had put his own interests and ego aside...if he had even tried to govern well and lead us all—he might have proved us wrong,” said Clinton. “And that would have been a good thing, for America and the world.”
She called for people to remember Trump’s words in his last campaign and what she says is at stake with another win by the Republican.
“Remember in 2016 when Trump asked: ‘What do you have to lose?’ “ said Clinton. “Well, now we know: our health, our jobs, even our lives. Our leadership in the world and, yes, our post office. As Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders warned us on Monday: If Trump is re-elected, it will get even worse.”
She called for support of Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s jobs and emergency relief plans. But also praised vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris for what she represents.
“Tonight I am thinking of the girls and boys who see themselves in America’s future because of Kamala Harris—a Black woman, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, and our nominee for Vice President of the United States,” she said. “This is our country’s story: breaking down barriers and expanding the circle of possibility.”
Harris Opens Third DNC Night By Talking About Voting
9:03 p.m. ET/6:03 p.m. PT: Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee opened the third night of the Democratic National Convention by encouraging people to vote in light of problems with the mail-in voting system, which President Trump has been accused of trying to manipulate.
Trump said last week that he would try to withhold funds from the U.S. Postal Service, which would hinder mail-in voting as an option voters could use due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has said in the past that mail-in voting could lead to voter fraud. Democrats say voters must have the option.
“I think we need to ask ourselves, why don’t they want us to vote,” said Harris. “The answer is because when we vote, things change. When we vote, things get better. When we vote, we address the need of all people to be treated with dignity and respect in this country.”
She urged people to text 30330 for the Biden campaign to receive a plan to help them cast their ballots.
8:10 p.m. ET/5:10 p.m. PT: The Democratic National Convention continues beginning at 9 p.m. with great anticipation of Wednesday night’s two main keynote speakers: former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton former President Barack Obama and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris.
Harris will accept the party’s nomination in her speech and is expected to talk about presidential nominee Joe Biden’s plan to bring the nation together as a “beloved community.”
Obama is expected to speak to viewers of the Milwaukee-based virtual convention about Donald Trump not living up to his job as president, but also about Biden and the country working together to achieve its goals.
R&B superstar Jennifer Hudson will be the featured performer tonight.
Vice Presidential Nominee Sen. Kamala Harris on her vision for the United States
7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT:
"[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. 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. A country where we may not agree on every detail, but we are united by the fundamental belief that every human being is of infinite worth, deserving of compassion, dignity and respect. A country where we look out for one another, where we rise and fall as one, where we face our challenges, and celebrate our triumphs. Together. Today, that country feels distant. Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods."
—Excerpted remarks from Sen. Kamala Harris' acceptance speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
A Night Of Firsts During Wednesday's 2020 Democratic National Convention: “Uniting America”
2:30 p.m. ET/ 11:30 a.m. PT: Tonight will mark a night of political firsts.
The nation’s first Black president and first Black vice presidential nominee will highlight Wednesday night’s coverage of the first-ever all-virtual Democratic National Convention.
Former President Barack Obama, also known as 44, will offer the formal nomination speech before U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., formally accepts the nomination to serve as running mate to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. It will mark a rare public appearance for Obama, who has worked primarily behind the scenes since leaving office in early 2017. The former president’s other half, Michelle Obama, delivered a searing speech Monday night at the convention in which she implored people to begin their applications for absentee ballots to remove Donald Trump from office. She castigated Trump as devoid of empathy and unfit for the presidency.
Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominee of a major political party for the White House, also will deliver remarks as will U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the first woman speaker of the house.
Maya and Meena Harris, Kamala Harris’ sister and niece respectively, also will speak.
The speeches will cap off a night focused on gun violence, immigration and climate change. The portion of the program focused on gun violence will include Indiapolis mother and activist DeAndra Dycus, a mother whose son was paralyzed by a stray bullet when he was 13, and former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona who suffered a severe brain injury after a mass shooting in Tucson in 2011.
Actor Kerry Washington will kick off the night’s proceedings which start at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, and Jennifer Hudson will sing later in the program.
Wednesday night’s theme is “A More Perfect Union.” It comes at a time when the country, amid the coronavirus pandemic, is working to preserve unity through virtual meetings like the convention, which normally takes place at a large arena.
BET's 2020 Democratic National Convention Coverage
Wednesday, August 19, 2020: Follow BET’s coverage with our live blog for the latest updates from the Democratic National Convention. We’ll feature news about the event, speeches, performances and commentary August 17-20.
Each night, the convention will include speeches from Party leaders, rising stars and real people. Tonight's scheduled speakers include some of the most important names in the Democratic party: Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, and former president Barack Obama, whom Democratic nominee Joe Biden served under as vice president.
The convention closes on Thursday, August 20 with the official nomination of BIden and Harris, who will deliver their speeches remotely from Delaware and share their vision for the country.
BET.com will have all the news updates that matter to Black America so stay tuned each day and watch from the CBS News: Race To 2020 live feed above from at 9-11 p.m. ET each night.
Photo: BET Digital Art and Design team.