Live coverage: First night of virtual DNC kicks off with videos, Eva Longoria hosting

This item will be updated throughout the first night of the Democratic National Convention. Refresh regularly for updates. 

WASHINGTON – Democrats are aiming for a show of unity during the first night of their party’s virtual nominating convention – and a show of star power. 

Former first lady Michelle Obama, who will headline the first night, is set to speak in the 10 p.m. ET hour.

First a star, then ‘real people’ – plus Biden

Democrats’ tapped the star power of actress Eva Longoria to open the first night of their virtual national convention before turning the spotlight over to “everyday Americans.”

Longoria, best known for her roles in the television show “Desperate Housewives” and the soap opera “The Young and the Restless,” said the past four years “have left us as a nation diminished and divided.”

“And yet, in the middle of the fear and sorrow and the uncertainty, people have come together,” she said, “because they know we are better than this.”

Democrats’ theme for the first of the four nights of speeches, videos and musical performances is “We the People.”

After Longoria spoke, Americans from around the country – activists, lawmakers, veterans, a woman identified as “Rosie the Riveter” as well as Biden himself – took turns reading parts of the preamble to the Constitution before Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the convention officially gaveled open the event.

“We the people call … the Democratic National Convention to order,” he said.

Longoria, who spoke at the last two Democratic conventions, said in an interview after the 2016 election that she stayed in bed for almost two days afterward because she was so upset about Trump’s election.

She has said her political involvement began when she volunteered for Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign as a senior in high school.

Maureen Groppe

Progressives voted against DNC platform

Several progressive leaders voted no against the Democratic National Committee’s platform because it did not support Medicare for All.

Both Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Cori Bush, the Democratic nominee for Missouri’s 1st congressional district who delivered a stunning upset against incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay, were among those who voted against the platform.

“I am very enthusiastic about supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to defeat Donald Trump, but I cannot vote for this platform that does not have universal healthcare as a right,” Khanna told Democracy Now! on Monday.

Bush also told Democracy Now that she stands with other aspects of the platform, such as the climate change platforms and supporting the voting rights act. However, she said that more needs to be done in terms of health care. 

“We have to do better for our people,” she said. “We cannot allow people to die.”

Medicare for All, which calls for a single-payer health care system, has become a top issue for progressive candidates, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Rebecca Morin 

Michelle Obama: Biden is ‘profoundly decent’

Michelle Obama will describe presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden as a “profoundly decent man” during her keynote address Monday night at the party’s national convention.

“I know Joe. He is a profoundly decent man guided by faith. He was a terrific vice president,” the former first lady will say of the former vice president, according to excerpts of her remarks released by the party Monday. “He knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic and lead our country.”

Michelle Obama will also praise Biden as someone who “listens.” Former President Barack Obama will address the virtual convention on Wednesday.

Democrats released excerpts of remarks from Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who was Biden’s last-standing primary challenger, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican.

“The future of our democracy is at stake,” Sanders will say, according to excerpts of his remarks. “We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president. My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”

— Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USA TODAY

New ad features daughter of COVID-19 victim

A Democratic super PAC launched Monday an ad featuring Kristin Urquiza, a woman who lost her father to COVID-19 and who is also telling that story on the first night of the convention.

Urquiza says in the ad by American Bridge 21st Century that her father was a Trump supporter who took his cues from an administration that downplayed the virus.

“He basically told me he felt betrayed,” she says in the ad. “We’re told to follow leaders in times of crisis. That’s what my father did, and it cost him his life.”

American Bridge said the ad is the first to draw “a direct line between Trump’s misinformation and downplaying of the coronavirus with the death of a Trump supporter.”

The group said it’s running the ad on digital platforms and during the Republican National Convention.

Maureen Groppe 

Trump offers counter-message

Late night programming may never be the same: Donald Trump’s campaign is producing an online program every night this week to critique events at the Democratic convention.

It will be a less-than-neutral analysis.

Entitled “The Real Joe Biden,” the program that airs at 11 p.m. ET is part of a counter-convention project that includes web ads, television hits, guest appearances, and the president’s own national tour of battleground states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

As part of a multi-million dollar digital ad buy, the Trump campaign plans to take over the YouTube masthead from Tuesday through Friday. Pro-Trump and anti-Biden ads will find their way to news site web pages, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Fox News. 

Trump strategic adviser Boris Epshteyn described this year’s DNC as a “socialist meetup” and said the Trump campaign would “expose” the candidates for the “radical, leftist politicians that they are.” 

Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said Trump and his allies are trying to cover up their own “appalling failed leadership” that includes more than 167,000 COVID deaths and “one of the worst recessions on record.” 

Trump campaigning in four battleground states – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arizona and Pennsylvania – as Democratic delegates formally nominate Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris during the Democratic National Convention.

– David Jackson 

‘I Feel the Earth Move’

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden hosted a virtual fundraiser Monday afternoon with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and singer-songwriter Carole King.

Biden cued up standards from his stump speech, including the need for infrastructure spending and investment in clean energy. Pelosi said that, ultimately, “everything needs to be about jobs.”

But Biden assured King she was on his playlist. King thanked him for offering an optimistic message during troubled times.

“A lot of people are feeling anxious and depressed in this time of, you know, unprecedented cruelty and chaos and willful incompetence,” King said. “If we all persist with love, hope and belief in the power of all of us, we will bring about better times and it’s Joe says build back better. We will get through this. And we will win.”

King played piano and sang: “I Feel the Earth Move” and “You’ve Got a Friend.”

The event with nearly 900 attendees raised more than $4 million, according to co-host Alex Mehran, chairman of Sunset Development Co.

Bart Jansen

Will 2020 be the last of the caucuses? 

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez told the Associated Press on Monday that 2020 should be the last year of presidential caucuses for Democrats. 

Perez, whose term will end before the next presidential cycle, said he would use his stature in the party to push for change, planning to “use the bully pulpit as a former chair to make sure we continue the progress,” he told the AP. 

The call, while new for Perez, isn’t exactly a surprise. Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses in February spurred widespread calls for the end of the practice, with some calling for changes on what state should get the first chance to make their presidential selections, though Perez did not specifically point the finger at the state.  

Former Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was dubbed the winner in Iowa officially several days after the contest, with Sen. Bernie Sanders in a close second. Biden placed fourth in the state, which is predominately white. But the final results weren’t available for weeks due to inconsistencies in data from some precincts and a new app that was supposed to make the process smoother but instead created a headache. 

The contest is often looked to as taking temperature for how the rest of the primary cycle might go. It can help bolster candidates ahead of contests in a slew of states. 

Christal Hayes

Four GOPers to speak at the DNC

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich isn’t the only Republican who will speak during the Democratic National Convention. The outspoken critic of President Donald Trump will be joined by another former governor and a former GOP lawmaker from New York. 

Democrats announced the GOP lineup on the first day of their virtual convention. In addition to Kasich, who had previously been announced, former Rep. Susan Molinari, R-N.Y., former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman are also scheduled to address the convention. 

More: Three Republicans join Kasich to speak at Democratic National Convention

The four Republicans will give remarks during a segment billed as “We The People Putting Country Over Party.” They have all been openly critical of Trump. Meg Whitman gave $500,000 to the Biden Victory Fund this year, campaign records show.

– Nicholas Wu

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