LAS VEGAS – Democratic Party luminaries, rising stars, former presidents and presidential contenders have been making a pitch for Joe Biden over three days of an atypical convention. Now the presidential nominee will make his case himself.
Biden will speak Thursday night from Wilmington, Delaware, as he closes out the fourth night of the all-virtual Democratic National Convention, starting at 9 p.m. ET.
The novel coronavirus forced organizers to put on a remote event with delegates and politicians beaming in via video from around the country, zapping the energy from what’s usually a political jamboree. But the event has also given Biden a chance to present a curated vision of his party and principles, showcasing a diverse Democratic coalition and a still-open door to bipartisan governing that many see as a relic of a different Washington.
The theme for Thursday night is “America’s Promise” and the programming includes musical performances by The Chicks, John Legend and Common.
What to watch on the last night of the convention:
With no physical gathering place, Biden will deliver his speech as the Democratic presidential nominee without a cheering crowd, a standing ovation or waves of balloons and confetti breaking over his head. Biden’s been boxed into a more subdued position because of a virus that has shocked the U.S. economy and killed over 170,000 Americans. To persuade voters to put in him charge, expect him to use his speech to underline the gravity of the virus and the moment and draw on lessons of tenacity over tragedy that he’s experienced in his own life.
Throughout the week, President Donald Trump has worked to counter the Democratic program with trips and jabbing at Biden. In addition to airing his thoughts on Twitter, the president held rallies in Wisconsin and Minnesota on Monday and spoke in Arizona on Tuesday. On Thursday, he travels to Pennsylvania, the state of Biden’s birth, ahead of the Democrat’s acceptance speech.
Billionaire and former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, who spent more than $500 million of his own fortune on a short-lived presidential run, is billed to speak shortly before Biden.
The 78-year-old moderate and former Republican being given a spot to help to close out the Democratic convention is striking. The party has promoted its diverse coalition and embraced a national reckoning on systemic racism and sexual misconduct.
One of the former New York mayor's most notable appearances during the presidential campaign came as he was pilloried on the debate stage by Democrats over his past support for the controversial stop-and-frisk policing practice and its disproportionate effect on minorities and nondisclosure agreements his company struck with women alleging discrimination or harassment.
The businessman has built up goodwill on the left for having poured hundreds of millions of dollars into fighting climate change and gun violence, two issues he will likely touch on.
FORMER CANDIDATES AND CONTENDERS
Three of the Democrats who also sought the White House this year will speak. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will speak early, followed later in the evening by Andrew Yang, whose outsider presidential campaign was marked by a buzzy online following and a platform to give Americans a universal basic income. Several women who were considered potential running mates for Biden are also slated to appear: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Other speakers include California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and members of the Biden family.
HOW TO WATCH
The program runs from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time. The DNC’s official livestream is available online and via its social media channels. CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC and PBS will air the full two hours, while ABC, CBS, Fox News Channel and NBC will air the final hour, from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. The convention is also available to watch on Twitch, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
A celebrity-studded afterparty hosted by Andy Cohen is scheduled to be shown immediately after Biden’s speech on the official livestream.