The Note: Harris gets her night in convention already defined by prominent women

On Wednesday, Harris accepts the Democratic nomination for vice president.

August 19, 2020, 3:46 PM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Joe Biden's convention so far hasn't featured too much of Sen. Kamala Harris, who got less airtime than a plate of Rhode Island calamari on Tuesday night.

That will change Wednesday, as Harris accepts the Democratic nomination for vice president. But women and women of color in particular have already owned this year's virtual convention -- and the lineup to come will only cement the contributions of women in the party.

Jill Biden's poignant speech about tragedy and healing defined the second day of the convention, much as former first lady Michelle Obama's intimate remarks defined the first.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris appear on a video feed on the second day of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention at its hosting site, Aug. 18, 2020, in Milwaukee.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris appear on a video feed at the start of the second day of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention at its hosting site, Aug. 18, 2020, in Milwaukee.
Brian Snyder/Pool via Getty Images

On Wednesday, Harris -- the first woman of color on a presidential ticket -- will speak shortly after the first-ever woman nominated by a major party for president -- Hillary Clinton -- and the first ever female Speaker of the House -- Nancy Pelosi.

Also speaking Wednesday: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham -- the first Democratic Latina elected as a governor of any state.

It's unlikely that any speaker at this convention will top Michelle Obama in terms of emotional resonance. One man who may try: former President Barack Obama -- the nation's first Black president -- who will be the final speaker on Wednesday evening's program.

A lot of history has been packed into the condensed lineup. The moment, though, is teed up for Harris, who carries her own historical resonance in seeking to get further in elected office than any American woman has before.

ABC News Live will kick off primetime coverage each day at 7 p.m. ET on the network's steaming news channel and primetime coverage will air from 10-11 p.m. ET each night of the convention on the ABC Television Network.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Two nights down and two to go, Democrats have done an impressive job presenting a diverse and national coalition of allies, who can speak to their long-standing and personal relationships with Biden. Their pitch is one about character and less about change -- at least not the kind of sweeping change so many young people in the party have called out for.

Sure, all the Democratic speakers have emphatically made the case that Biden would be a fundamental change from the president. That's the benefit of running against an incumbent -- winning is argued as change enough.

"I know that if we entrust this nation to Joe, he will do for your family what he did for ours: bring us together and make us whole," Jill Biden said in capping the night and telling her husband's personal story.

But overwhelmingly, the party message remains one offering healing and calm. Halfway through the Democratic convention, details on any possible policy have been punted.

PHOTO: Dr. Jill Biden is greeted by her husband, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, after speaking on the second night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Aug. 18, 2020.
Dr. Jill Biden is greeted by her husband, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, after speaking from Brandywine High School where she taught English from 1991 to 1993, on the second night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Aug. 18, 2020.
Democratic National Convention

While much time has been spent looking back at Biden's career, other, younger Democrats have been used their time to present the future of the party during this convention.

"We must elect Joe Biden ... then with a compassionate and intelligent president we must act together and put on his desk a bill that guarantees us all the health care we deserve," said "Medicare for All" activist Ady Barkan during his address on Tuesday. His inclusion in the program was a clear signal of partnership and an acceptance of more progressive ideals in the party, still Barkan said the work -- for his cause -- would still be on activists.

Big picture: Democrats continue to sell a change of administration, not a change agent. With callouts to the issues coming from leaders across the country, the party is almost signaling that if Democrats want major reforms they may need to come from outside of Washington and the next generation of leaders.

The TIP with Meg Cunningham

Latinos are predicted to be the largest racial or ethnic minority voting bloc in the nation in 2020, but prominent Latino and activist voices are underwhelmed at their representation in the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Only three of the 35 prime time speakers slated to appear at the DNC this week are Latino, sounding alarm bells across the party as the battle for representation continues.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro expressed that disappointment Tuesday night on CNN. He said Biden and Harris "have a strong record with the Latino community." Still though, he said the DNC should have highlighted more members of the Latino community "because representation does matter and it does send a strong message about inclusion for the party."

PHOTO: Democratic elected officials deliver the keynote address of the convention together by video feed during the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention as participants from across the country are hosted over video links, Aug. 18, 2020.
Democratic elected officials deliver the keynote address of the convention together by video feed during the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention as participants from across the country are hosted over video links, Aug. 18, 2020.
Democratic National Convention via Reuters

Biden said Tuesday in a Latino Victory conversation that he is committed to "speaking directly to the concerns of the Latino community and to mobilize the Latino voter. And I don't take one thing for granted," he said.

Despite what Biden and Democrats have said, a lack of recognition of minority groups is often seen as the Achilles heel of the party, and some -- including Castro -- don't see this week's DNC lineup as making serious inroads with minority voters.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, who evaluates how a mostly virtual Democratic National Convention is playing out for the party and recaps his interview with former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff Miles Taylor. ABC News' Katherine Faulders explains why the postmaster general is pulling back on cost-cutting measures ahead of Election Day. And, ABC News' Steve Osunsami tells us about the many schools quickly reevaluating reopening plans.http://apple.co/2HPocUL

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" Podcast. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham joins ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl ahead of the third night of the Democratic National Convention. On Tuesday's episode former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg discussed President Donald Trump's Twitter to the first night of the Democratic National Convention and said that he doesn't think former Vice President Joe Biden should respond to the president's attacks in a similar fashion.https://bit.ly/2w091jE

FiveThirtyEight's Politics Podcast. Late Monday, the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast crew reacted to the first night of the mostly virtual Democratic National Convention. Former first lady Michelle Obama criticized President Donald Trump forcefully and a variety of politicians called for unity behind Joe Biden. https://53eig.ht/2E06IDH

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden delivers pre-taped remarks to the Democratic National Convention's Hispanic Caucus and Black Caucus meetings starting around 1:45 p.m. After, he attends a virtual Biden for President finance event. Later, he joins a virtual meeting with the convention delegation from Wisconsin.
  • Former President Barack Obama will close out Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention Wednesday, after Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., accepts the party's nomination for vice president. Wednesday evening's program includes speeches from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
  • Correction: This story has been updated to note that New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is the first -- Democratic -- Latina elected as a governor of any state. Susana Martinez, a Republican, was governor of New Mexico right before Lujan Grisham and the first Latina elected governor in the U.S.

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