The announced roster of speakers at the Democratic National Convention is in line with the party’s choice of Joe Biden as the 2020 nominee: doubling down on the establishment past while pretending to embrace a progressive future.
Released on Tuesday, the schedule of speakers for next week’s convention is a veritable who’s who of the Democrats – with more than a few strange choices and a few notable omissions.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), representing the democratic socialist faction, are both scheduled to speak. They will be vastly outnumbered by the establishment figures, however.
The presence of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) is a no-brainer. Likewise the appearance by former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, both there to support – however half-heartedly – their former VP.
Having the Clintons speak as well is more problematic. Hillary’s arrogance and disdain in 2016 is how Donald Trump crushed the Democrats’ expectation that they will rule forever, after all.
Bill Clinton may have presided over a period of relative prosperity in the 1990s, but isn’t this the very party that keeps harping on about how one “can’t turn back the clock”? Yet here they are, doing precisely that, by looking back to not just the 2008-2016 term but 1992-2000!
Another puzzling aspect of the lineup is that Wednesday’s speeches are supposed to lay out how Biden and his female VP will lead the US out of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. The speaker roster offers clues about what their policy might be by featuring not one, not two, but three Democrat governors who absolutely botched their states’ responses to the virus: draconian lockdown fanatics Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Gavin Newsom of California, and New York’s Andrew Cuomo, of the nursing home disaster infamy.
Last, but not least, the party is poised to triple down on its ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy narrative about Trump and the 2016 election, by featuring former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates – fired for refusing to implement Trump’s travel ban, but also a key player in framing the president’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn on bogus “Logan Act” charges.
Rounding out the Russia conspiracy beat is Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, elected in a 2017 special election thanks to an unbelievably dirty media campaign – including a false flag operation by a Democrat-linked cyber company that was caught running fake “Russian bots.”
Another prominent place on the roster was given to John Kasich, the former Republican governor of Ohio and an outspoken Trump critic – presumably there to represent the defeated GOP establishment that has found favor with the Democrats over the past four years. Yet Andrew Yang – an actual Democrat, who managed to win over far more Republican support with his pitch about universal basic income than Kasich and his Project Lincoln pals could ever hope for – was left out.
The newfound DNC affinity for Republican renegades was further exemplified by the choice of background that MSNBC used to announce the convention speakers. Keen eyes quickly spotted that the stock photo was from the 2012 Republican convention that nominated Mitt Romney – demonized by the Democrats and their media allies then, but applauded now for his opposition to Trump. Whether a Freudian slip or an honest mistake by a TV staffer not paying attention to stock photos, it seems apropos.
The Democrats like to present themselves as the party of progress that’s looking into the future, bending the arc of history towards social justice or some such. Yet everything about the party’s 2020 campaign – from having the 77-year-old Biden as the candidate to stacking the speaker list with establishment figures and callbacks to their glory days – signals an obsession with the past.
Trump is living in their heads rent-free to such an extent they have literally embraced his 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” even as they publicly denounce it as everything they despise. That’s not a choice, it’s an echo. We’ll see how that plays in November.
Suburban Americans are showing up to beat down the Antifa myth.