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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Roll Call Vote Celebrates Democratic – and American – Diversity

Day two of the Democratic convention generated lots of read-worthy articles. But please check out Stephen Collinson’s “A risky roll call turns into a surprise moment of national unity” at CNN Politics, which caught the vibrant spirit of the party that looks like America:

Out of many, One.

Locked down, isolated and fearful as a pandemic fractured national bonds and the power of community, America got a sudden, startling look at itself on Tuesday night as the Democratic National Convention’s virtual roll call vote whipped coast to coast and around the globe.
For a few sunny minutes, the despondency of the summer of Covid lifted during a celebratory glimpse into the country’s vibrant geographic diversity, cultural breadth and enduring common purpose. A risky television production experiment that could have gone badly wrong instead turned into a pageant of national unity, and injected unusual bounce into nominee Joe Biden’s basement campaign.
CNN’s Paul LeBlanc goes on to share his “notable moments from the DNC’s virtual roll call.” It was a good look that showed America which party has the positive, energetic spirit to lead the nation to a better future. It wasn’t just the racial and cultural diversity that was so impressive. The roll call vote creatively leveraged the power of place. As Collinson reports,
The virtual tour played out in short recorded videos, and live shots became a tantalizing glimpse of a vast and fertile land that is out there waiting once the current nightmare — in which more than 170,000 people have died, millions lost their jobs and tens of millions have been cut off from friends, coworkers and loved ones — finally abates…The vote poignantly started on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where the recently deceased John Lewis had marched into history. And where else would “Amtrak” Joe Biden’s presidential nominating roll call wrap up but a platform of the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station in Wilmington, Delaware?..[it] served up stunning backdrops from rocky crags in Colorado to the Bering Sea in Alaska and Arizona cacti. It swept from American Samoa, with a verdant mountain vista, to a farmyard in Maine and on to Michigan’s delegation in the Motor City, standing like salesmen in a local TV ad in front of three gleaming new vehicles.

In her NBC News article, “Virtual roll call at Democratic convention delights with digital tour of U.S. Democrats took their roll call on the road this year, turning a mostly sleepy procedural moment into a heartwarming virtual tour,” Jane C. Timm writes,

Plain winds briefly overpowered the audio of a young woman in Montana while cows grazed behind her unaware of the national audience. Representatives from the New Mexico and South Dakota delegations spoke Indigenous languages and English, while Puerto Rico’s representative made his remarks in Spanish, with English captions…Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania stood outside Biden’s childhood home in Scranton, announcing the state’s tally.

In Louisiana, a little boy holding a sign showing Biden’s famous aviator sunglasses won the internet’s heart…Some states elevated rising stars — South Carolina’s votes were announced by the state’s Democratic Senate candidate, Jaime Harrison — while others recalled tragic moments in the country’s history. In Florida, Parkland parent Fred Guttenberg spoke about how his daughter was murdered in a school shooting in 2018, highlighting Biden’s record on gun control.

Also check out “Here Are The Beautiful, Powerful, And Funny Moments From The State Roll Call Nominating Joe Biden For President” at Buzzfeed News, which features a few choice clips from the segment.

CNN did screw-up the segment by interrupting the flow with several commercials. They won’t make that mistake again. But when it resumed, it was still powerful and effective. Republicans may try something similar, but a copy-cat video won’t have the same magic, partly because their product is an increasingly tough sell.

If you want to watch the complete roll call, click here and scroll down a bit to the video segment.

One comment on “Roll Call Vote Celebrates Democratic – and American – Diversity

  1. Victor on

    This excessive emphasis on multiculturalism is completely contradictory with the current Democratic strategy of trying to expand the base towards the whiter suburbs.


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