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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: 144544

Reported Deaths: 3729
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto963299
Hinds9584195
Harrison6848109
Jackson6124118
Rankin528598
Lee484295
Madison4633105
Forrest368186
Jones345287
Lauderdale3350143
Lafayette315049
Washington3097107
Lamar281849
Oktibbeha239261
Bolivar239083
Lowndes228863
Neshoba2164115
Panola211749
Marshall208350
Leflore200890
Pontotoc194728
Monroe190277
Sunflower189755
Lincoln186165
Warren172257
Tate164251
Union160925
Pike160458
Copiah158940
Yazoo151239
Scott150229
Itawamba147634
Coahoma147443
Pearl River144467
Simpson144253
Alcorn143925
Prentiss140429
Grenada136945
Adams136548
Leake131843
Holmes124961
George122224
Tippah121530
Covington117636
Winston116624
Wayne115823
Hancock114139
Marion111046
Attala107833
Tishomingo106142
Newton102729
Chickasaw102432
Tallahatchie95527
Clarke88553
Clay87027
Jasper81122
Walthall75028
Stone72414
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71613
Carroll70614
Lawrence70214
Yalobusha69427
Noxubee69217
Smith68816
Perry65225
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54217
Humphreys52618
Amite51214
Benton48417
Quitman4796
Webster42014
Kemper40917
Wilkinson38622
Jefferson33811
Franklin3235
Choctaw3077
Sharkey30617
Issaquena1114
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 236865

Reported Deaths: 3472
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31043491
Mobile19446360
Tuscaloosa12684150
Madison12528146
Montgomery12122235
Shelby992276
Baldwin837684
Lee759765
Morgan626247
Calhoun6049113
Etowah600564
Marshall596153
Houston510838
DeKalb469635
Cullman421136
Limestone408844
St. Clair403955
Elmore398961
Lauderdale387253
Walker356199
Talladega339044
Jackson302524
Colbert297641
Blount282236
Autauga266139
Franklin246233
Coffee236615
Dale228454
Dallas222331
Russell21923
Chilton218537
Covington215933
Escambia196931
Tallapoosa171790
Chambers171448
Pike156014
Clarke155319
Marion135535
Winston126623
Lawrence123936
Geneva11848
Pickens117618
Marengo117424
Barbour116710
Bibb115717
Butler114341
Randolph100321
Cherokee99624
Hale93231
Washington89918
Clay89623
Fayette86216
Henry8436
Lowndes78929
Monroe77911
Cleburne75614
Macon71720
Crenshaw70330
Bullock69019
Conecuh68214
Perry6726
Lamar6337
Wilcox62818
Sumter56222
Choctaw41813
Greene41317
Coosa3144
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