Joe Biden to deliver crucial speech at DNC: Live updates

Presidential nominee Joe Biden will deliver a headline speech on final night of the Democratic National Convention.

  • Democrats moved on Tuesday to nominate former Vice President Joe Biden as their presidential candidate to take on United States President Donald Trump in the November 3 election. Tonight will give Biden his first opportunity to address the nation as a presidential candidate in a formal speech.
  • The speech will be a test for Biden, who is well known for his straight-talk gaffes. However, some have noted that Biden’s speaking abilities have faltered in recent years, with some critics raising questions about his mental acuity. Trump has already started calling the former vice president “Sleepy Joe”.
  • Biden’s big night comes as the US economy continues to struggle, with unemployment rising amid the coronavirus pandemic. Observers have noted that the convention thus far has been lofty in its criticisms of Trump and hopeful rhetoric, but relatively light on policy proposals. Some hope to hear concrete solutions from the presidential nominee.
  • A range of other Democratic party figures is slated to speak on the final night of the Democratic National Convention (DNC), with former presidential candidates Mayor Pete Buttigieg, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and billionaire media mogul Mike Bloomberg to feature prominently. 

Here are the latest updates: 

Thursday, August 20 

01:00 GMT – California Governor Newsom stresses ‘climate change is real’ 

Governor Gavin Newsom of California appeared in a video shot on a mobile phone a few miles from raging wildfires, he said in his address. 

California is currently experiencing a “megafire” bigger than Manhattan, and Trump doesn’t believe its real, Newsom said, even as temperatures reach 54 degrees in California. “Climate change is real”. 

Biden has fought to protect the environment, and voters must do “everything” they can to get Biden and Harris elected, Newsom continued.  

“There is so much at stake in this election”, the governor concluded, stressing the need to vote, “the future isn’t something to experience, it’s something to manifest.”

00:40 GMT – DNC viewership rises on third night

The virtual Democratic National Convention attracted its biggest TV audience to date on Wednesday when former President Barack Obama and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris made their appeals to voters, according to data from tracking firm Nielsen.

An estimated 22.8 million people watched the third night of proceedings across 10 broadcast and cable television networks, Nielsen said. Viewership jumped 3.6 million from the same period Tuesday.

The TV audience for the convention, where Democrats nominated Joe Biden for president, remained below the level of 2016. TV viewership was about seven percent higher on night three four years ago.

But the TV figures do not include viewing on digital platforms, which has jumped significantly since 2016 as traditional television watching has declined.

00:24 GMT – Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg to make case for Biden’s ability to heal

Speech excerpts released ahead of the DNC show former presidential hopefuls Andrew Yang and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg are going to make appeals based Biden’s moral character and willingness to fight for the common man. 

“I have gotten to know both Joe and Kamala on the trail over the past year,” Yang is expected to say. “They understand the problems we face. They are parents and patriots who want the best for our country. And if we give them the chance, they will fight for us and our families every single day.”

Buttigieg, whom Biden has compared to his late son, Beau, will say “Americans “must now decide. Can America be a place where faith is about healing and not exclusion?”

Buttigieg, who faced controversy surrounding his handling of policing in South Bend, will ask: “Can we become a country that lives up to the truth that Black lives matter? Will we handle questions of science and medicine by turning to scientists and doctors? What will we do to make America into a land where no one who works full time can live in poverty?”

23:42 GMT – AOC calls out Democrats for challenging progressives in primaries 

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a figurehead of the burgeoning progressive movement within the Democratic Party, tweeted a challenge to Democrats after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would endorse a moderate challenger to the progressive Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey. 

Pelosi will endorse Joe Kennedy, a relative of former President John F Kennedy, to challenge Markey.  

Progressive challengers have made gains in the wake of Senator Bernie Sanders’s two presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020. Often, they have done so by challenging unpopular, moderate Democrats in safe seats. 

These challenges have gone without support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which works to elect Democrats to Congress and usually blacklists its associates from working to unseat Democrats in good standing. 

“So”, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted to the DCCC, “when can we expect you to reverse your blacklist policy against primary orgs?”   

No one gets to complain about primary challenges again. 🤗

So @dccc, when can we expect you to reverse your blacklist policy against primary orgs?

Because between this & lack of care around @IlhanMN’s challenger, it seems like less a policy and more a cherry-picking activity. https://t.co/xSneSK8H2q

The challenge comes amid talks of a feud between the progressive wing – which observers say has been noticeably absent from the DNC – and the moderate wing, headed by Biden. 

23:24 GMT – Pelosi says the election depends on Wisconsin 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a stark reminder to Wisconsin Democrats on Thursday about the importance the Midwestern battleground state plays in the presidential election less than 11 weeks away.

Wisconsin did not get the national attention it hoped for when the Democratic convention – originally planned for the state’s biggest city, Milwaukee – was moved online due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

The Democrats’ previous nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, did not visit the state during the 2016 campaign, though Trump visited several times. Trump’s victory by razor-thin margins there helped in the US Electoral College, which guaranteed him the presidency in spite of losing the popular vote. 

After Trump’s narrow victory of fewer than 23,000 votes in the state in 2016 – and with polls showing another close race this year – Democrats are pledging not to downplay the importance of Wisconsin in Biden’s efforts to defeat Trump.

Read more here. 

22:02 GMT – Steve Bannon, architect of Trump’s 2016 victory, arrested for fraud

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon, an architect of Trump’s 2016 election victory, was arrested on a yacht and pleaded not guilty on Thursday after being charged with defrauding donors in a scheme to help build the president’s signature wall along the US-Mexico border.

The indictment claims the “scheme” was related to an online crowdfunding campaign that claims to have raised more than $25m to build a wall along the southern border of the US, a signature policy proposal from Trump. 

As a top adviser to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign who later served as White House chief strategist, Bannon helped articulate the right-wing populism and fierce opposition to immigration that have helped define Trump’s three and a half years in office.

21:45 GMT – Unemployment ticks up as coronavirus continues in the US 

The number of workers in the US who are filing for state unemployment benefits climbed back above one million last week, signalling that businesses continue to lay off workers as the economy struggles to climb out of the deep recessionary hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 1.1 million Americans filed initial jobless claims with states in the week ending August 15, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday. That is 135,000 more than the previous week, when the number fell below one million for the first time since March.

For the millions of Americans collecting unemployment, times are only getting tougher. The $600 federal weekly top-up to state benefits expired last month. Trump issued an executive order for a replacement $300-a-week federal top-up bankrolled by the government’s disaster relief fund, but only half of states so far have said that they will be applying for that additional aid. 

The state of the economy was always a strength for Trump, but it is turning into a liability. Read more here.

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