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Updated 8:01 PM |

What Went Down On Day Three Of The Democratic Convention

Filed under 2016 Election


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Micah Cohen 12:05 AM Good Night

That does it for us tonight, people. There was a lot in tonight’s speeches to talk about. You can see all that talking below. But for people who went out for Hump Day and missed it all, a few highlights:

See you all back here on Thursday night for our last convention live blog. Thanks for sticking with us.

Nate Silver 11:41 PM

A lot of speeches that try to accomplish a little bit of everything, and this one did, are timid. But this one was brave.

Julia Azari 11:40 PM

Great presidential rhetoric — whether from Reagan, FDR or others — is about talking about how we are going to move forward and make change, but also affirm core and classic national values. Immigration presents complex policy challenges for both parties but a great rhetorical opportunity to talk about hope and hard work.

David Wasserman 11:40 PM

There were a lot of questions before Obama’s speech about how hard he’d be willing to go after Trump. We just found out. It’s pretty extraordinary for a sitting president to refer to fascism and allude to the opposing party’s nominee as a homegrown demagogue. I think we can expect Obama to keep this up on the campaign trail, throwing all his chips on the table.

Harry Enten 11:37 PM

A real feeling in this hall that this is Obama’s swan song. You can hear random outbreaks of people yelling “thank you.”

11:36 PM

This has gotten to be a high degree of difficulty speech. Direct criticism of Trump. Emphatic recommendation of Clinton. Recitation of Obama’s values. But also some soaring rhetoric, after all.

11:35 PM

Obama just put Trump in the same line as fascist, communist, radical Islamist enemies to America. Those are some strong words and he knows it.

Julia Azari 11:35 PM

Obama’s remarks about “what Hillary knows” — the nuanced and complex approach to immigration, to police reform, to race relations — is classic Obama. He’s revisiting the juxtapositions that made him a national political figure at the 2004 DNC and that he reprised in his 2015 state of the union address with lines talking about different sides of tough issues and suggesting common ground. He’s not making explicitly cross-party appeals in this speech, but this idea of complexity and reconciling different views is still there.

Nate Silver 11:34 PM

Everybody made fun of my Midwesterners-don’t-like-loudmouth-braggarts theory to explain why Trump struggled in the Midwest during the GOP primaries, but POTUS basically just endorsed that theory.

Jody Avirgan 11:34 PM

I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a sustained critique of Trump running throughout the convention. I know his unfavorables are already sky-high, but that also means that the critiques should be easy. I would have expected the organizers to, say, designate one “lay into Trump on his tax returns” speaker per day. But Democrats may think that they can do that through ads and debates and cable news surrogates. This is a party convention, after all, so the focus on exciting the base is understandable.

Nate Silver 11:33 PM

There’s been a lot of anti-Trumpism, hasn’t there? Especially given that it’s coming from people with the stature of the sitting president and vice president. Maybe not quite a “don’t give this guy the nuclear codes” / daisy commercial pitch, but that could come later, presumably.

Carl Bialik 11:32 PM

I’m not sure, but I do think they can do more damage during the debates, which have less of an echo-chamber audience.

Julia Azari 11:32 PM

All they’ve done is talk about Trump! You’d think he was the incumbent president!

Farai Chideya 11:32 PM

I think Trump is a counter-puncher. Making him seem attacked would be a mistake. But making him seem undermining of democracy, as the “we don’t need to be ruled” line hinted at, would be more rhetorically effective.

Harry Enten 11:32 PM

I’m with Jody. Trump’s favorable rating rose after the Republican convention — Obama and other Democrats are trying to send it back down.

Micah Cohen 11:31 PM

Jody and I are debating whether, with now just one day and one major speech left at this convention, the Democrats have done enough to put a negative frame around Trump.

My view: He’s already so unpopular, the work has been done for you.

Jody’s view: He’s super vulnerable.


David Firestone 11:29 PM

That line about voting for mayors and governors and state legislators is one of the most important that Obama could say for the future of his party. The same voters who were so enthusiastic about him four and eight years ago didn’t show up in midterm elections, allowing Republicans to take over Congress and most state legislatures. If the energy for Clinton and Sanders doesn’t translate to down-ballot races this year and two years from now, winning the White House may feel hollow.

Nate Silver 11:27 PM

Mentions of organizing and local elections get huge cheers from these delegates, many of whom are organizers of one sort or another themselves.

Farai Chideya 11:22 PM

President Obama has been in a period that some cultural observers call “peak blackness.” That includes inviting both Janelle Monaé and Kendrick Lamar to perform at the White House on July 4. The latter is the rapper whose jaw-dropping 2016 Grammy Awards performance of “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright” explicitly referenced incarceration as a political issue. Both of the Obamas seem to have been enjoying the denouement of their years in the White House, at least judging by their social media output, which includes the first lady’s recent “Carpool Karaoke” video and of course the POTUS’s — and former House Speaker John Boehner’s — “Couch Commander.”

Harry Enten 11:22 PM

Obama is right: Most people around the world don’t understand what is going on in this election. They are far more likely to like Obama and Clinton than Trump, according to the Pew Research Center. I don’t know if it’s a positive to be seen as liked throughout the world in this election, which seems to be all about “Making America Great Again.”

Nate Silver 11:21 PM

There’s been more sustained and direct criticism of Trump in this speech than was rumored earlier today. Not just a few jabs thrown in here and there.

11:21 PM

Obama taking particular issue with Trump’s assertion that he is the only man who can fix things — “we don’t look to be ruled,” he says to the crowd’s roaring approval. This high brow way of putting down Trump is in line with what someone like Mitt Romney did a couple of months ago — it’s an expression of real worry for the republic.

David Wasserman 11:20 PM

I’m not sure Obama’s veering into effective territory by talking about how the rest of the world perceives this election or our foreign policy. Undecided voters are more likely to be concerned about who will rebuild infrastructure at home than how America is going to continue to be a shining light for Baltic states.

11:18 PM

I’m torn on whether Clinton would be in a better position had she not taken up Obama on his offer to become secretary of state. A long Senate record isn’t always useful when pursuing the presidency. On the other hand, her presence in the party and ability to garner endorsements was never contingent on her service in the Obama administration. I think without her close link to the administration, the Sanders challenge isn’t nearly as strong, though.

Julia Azari 11:17 PM

The difference so far in Obama’s reception and the response to Panetta (who served for a time in Obama’s Cabinet) reminds me of something I’ve heard throughout Obama’s presidency — that he is personally popular even when his job approval is more mixed. His foreign policy decisions have been controversial among those who had hoped for more of a pivot from the Bush years. Obama seems to unite the party when he’s there in person but when a surrogate is describing his policy, the cracks show.

Harry Enten 11:14 PM

It’s hard to overstate the importance of Obama to Clinton’s primary victory over Sanders. In state after state, Clinton won voters who wanted to continue Obama’s policies. She did considerably worse on average among those who wanted the country to go in a different direction.

11:14 PM

Let’s take a moment to talk about the Shakespearean strangeness of the speakers at this DNC as it relates to candidate Clinton — her former bitter rival is singing her praises since she decided to make the politically prudent decision of becoming his Secretary of State; her husband, a former president and former bitter critic of the president currently standing up here singing her praises, introduced her last night. We all know the story, but man, it’s crazy that Obama’s legacy in many ways rests on the woman to whom he once derisively said “you’re likable enough.”

Carl Bialik 11:13 PM

A worse position. She’s in a much better position to criticize Trump’s lack of policy experience and knowledge.

Harry Enten 11:13 PM

I think there could have been a Biden-Clinton showdown. But by accepting the offer, Clinton essentially upstaged Biden and cleared her path to the nomination.


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