Hits and misses from Night 2 of the Democratic National Convention

CNN's Chris Cillizza gives his hits and misses from night two of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Posted: Aug 19, 2020 10:21 PM
Updated: Aug 19, 2020 10:21 PM

The second night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention is over.

The oddness of the all-virtual gathering was slightly less jarring than on the opening night (or maybe I was just more used to it). Old hands like Bill Clinton were mixed with young stars like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a series of virtual speeches. It was, overall, a markedly better two hours than I witnessed on Monday night.

Below the best -- and worst -- of the night that was.

HITS

* The McCain video: I am a rarely swayed by a Republican speaking at a Democratic convention (or vice versa). But the video -- narrated by Cindy McCain -- documenting the longtime friendship of John McCain and Joe Biden was extremely well done and reinforced a central message of Biden's presidential campaign: He is someone with the willingness and ability to work across the aisle -- someone who believes more in people than partisan labels. Hearing McCain's voice again was both haunting and uplifting, and a reminder that politics can be a good thing.

*Ady Barkan: The story of the young father afflicted with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) is well-known, but no less powerful for it. The video of Barkan playing with his young child, the voiceover of him explaining why he is fighting so hard on health care -- it was a hugely powerful, emotional and human moment.

* Jill Biden: She isn't Michelle Obama. But, well, no one is. Jill Biden did what she needed to in her speech -- she told the Biden story (a life marked by both tragedy and resilience) in a way that no one else could. Her testimonial to her husband's faith and how he leaned on it to get him through the hardest of times was important, too, disrupting the narrative pushed by President Donald Trump that the former vice president doesn't care about God. Plus, I liked the Biden cameo and the "I'm Jill Biden's husband!" introduction. A little hokey, sure. But that's what conventions are!

* Jacquelyn Brittany: Having the New York Times elevator operator who went viral when she told Biden that she loved him when he came by the paper to interview with the editorial board was a stroke of genius. And her words about Biden -- "in the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me" -- were a powerful testimonial to the Democratic nominee's humanity and empathy.

* The state roll call vote: There isn't much about a virtual convention that is better than the real thing. But the state roll call vote -- which serves to formally nominate the presidential nominee -- is one of them. It was fun to see what every state chose as its background -- Rhode Island with a chef standing off to the side with a plate of calamari was the BEST -- and who each state chose to deliver the votes to Joe Biden (and Bernie Sanders). (Khizr Khan, a Gold Star dad attacked by Trump during the 2016 race, and the parents of Matthew Shepard, who was killed in anti-gay hate crime, were particularly powerful choices.) And for a country that has been forced by Covid-19 to stay close to home for months, it was like a mini-trip around the country that I at least found hugely refreshing. And I wasn't the only one.

* John Legend: Dude is just plain talented. Also: How many people can pull off the white suit with a black turtleneck? Not I.

MISSES

* Bill Clinton: The former president has spoken at every Democratic convention since 1980. And he is a former Democratic president of the United States. So it's not easy to tell him no. But for a party that has fully embraced the #MeToo movement and is leaning on women to beat Donald Trump, the image of Clinton was a jarring one. (You may remember that as President he has an extramarital affair with a White House intern.) Clinton didn't get much time to speak (five-ish minutes) and it was in the very early moments of the night's programming. But still...

* Chuck Schumer: I could just imagine the ever-media-aware Senate Majority Leader setting up the shot -- Statue of Liberty in the background! -- for his speech. Except that the statue was so blurry that you could barely recognize it. "I love that the planned symbolism of the shot was ruined by the need for a wide aperture to light it," tweeted AJ Chavar, a video journalist (and former colleague of mine at The Washington Post).

* Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Watching AOC deliver a 90-second nominating speech for Sanders in the first hour of the convention was sort of like going to a Yankees game and seeing Aaron Judge pinch-hit. It just felt sort of like a waste of talent. I understand that the Biden team didn't want AOC, a GOP lightning rod, to be front-and-center in a big primetime speech. But it felt like she could have been deployed in a much more effective way than she was.

* John Kerry: Meh. I mean, I understand the idea -- a former Democratic presidential nominee and Secretary of State using his perceived gravitas to help make the case that Donald Trump is dangerous to America's standing in the world. But another elder statesman of the Democratic old guard in a suit talking about why Trump is bad? In a decidedly senatorial tone? I could have done without it.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 297321

Reported Deaths: 6805
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19814231
Hinds18949395
Harrison16886282
Rankin12842265
Jackson12750234
Lee9720163
Madison9516204
Jones8035148
Forrest7289138
Lauderdale6872228
Lowndes6061140
Lamar593381
Lafayette5767114
Washington5232130
Bolivar4630124
Oktibbeha443095
Panola433698
Pearl River4212132
Warren4144115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall405995
Monroe3996129
Union397174
Neshoba3848171
Lincoln3624104
Hancock352978
Leflore3400121
Sunflower320986
Tate303974
Pike302697
Scott296171
Alcorn292763
Yazoo292066
Itawamba290675
Coahoma283069
Tippah280065
Copiah279959
Simpson277581
Prentiss271258
Marion258878
Wayne255641
Leake254172
Covington250280
Grenada248878
Adams235778
George232745
Newton232753
Winston222179
Jasper214145
Tishomingo213266
Attala206971
Chickasaw201954
Holmes182870
Clay179452
Stone173429
Tallahatchie171739
Clarke170773
Calhoun158628
Smith153833
Yalobusha145736
Greene128133
Walthall125441
Montgomery123540
Noxubee123431
Perry123235
Lawrence121421
Carroll119425
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99824
Claiborne99030
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper91423
Quitman77514
Franklin76420
Choctaw70117
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62727
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499411

Reported Deaths: 10149
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson719951403
Mobile36396741
Madison32674469
Tuscaloosa24391423
Montgomery22789523
Shelby22250219
Baldwin19915289
Lee15070161
Calhoun13961296
Morgan13785255
Etowah13413327
Marshall11458215
Houston10121264
Elmore9509190
Limestone9435139
St. Clair9050228
Cullman8993183
Lauderdale8628214
DeKalb8507175
Talladega7643165
Walker6600260
Jackson6551104
Autauga634492
Blount6252128
Colbert6007121
Coffee5261104
Dale4680107
Russell407534
Franklin400779
Covington3996107
Chilton3911104
Escambia379473
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3432111
Dallas3428142
Pike292973
Marion288796
Lawrence285787
Winston258568
Bibb246058
Marengo244657
Geneva240270
Pickens225757
Barbour213851
Hale212569
Fayette202657
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178140
Monroe166739
Randolph165141
Washington157036
Macon147845
Crenshaw146755
Clay146254
Cleburne140141
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123225
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter100832
Coosa90324
Greene88732
Choctaw55723
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