National analysts have already spent tons of pixels analyzing the Wednesday speaking lineup’s performance, so I’ll avoid too much of my own besides noting how well all of the speeches worked in the packed hall. The connection between the audience and Joe Biden lead the pack.
Overshadowed by the potent line up of speakers that closed the evening — Michael Bloomberg, Biden, Tim Kaine and Barack Obama — was the first hour of the evening, which was dedicated to those who have been impacted by gun violence in recent years. While all components of that lineup were effective, the crowd was likely most impacted by the speech of Christine Leinonen, whose son was killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last month. Still obviously grieving, she emphasized the power of love to “trump hate.”
“Christopher’s paternal grandparents met and fell in love in a Japanese internment camp, so it was in his DNA that love always trumps hate,” she said.
Leinonen’s speech led into the performance of “What the World Needs Now Is Love” by a bevy of Broadway stars. The tenor of Leinonen’s speech was in stark contrast to that of another grieving mother who spoke at last week’s Republican National Convention. Pat Smith, the mother of one of the Americans killed in the Benghazi embassy attack, angrily blamed Hillary Clinton for her son’s death. That contrast is one of the key points that Democrats are hitting this week with the theme of “Love Trumps Hate,” and highlights the competing worldview of Trump’s Republican Party and the Democratic Party. I’m thinking a bit on the continuous use of the word “love” at this Convention; more on that a bit later.