Watch the Democratic National Convention Tonight

If you are a political junkie like me, you wouldn't miss it -- but why not grab a friend or two and watch with them in a safe, socially-distanced way?

"You'll see fewer podiums, but you'll see more people in living rooms," DNC chair Tom Perez told Lisa Lerer of the New York Times late last week. "You'll see them on factory floors and schools and communities. And I think it's going to be an opportunity to capture the moment. Our fundamental theme is uniting America, and we're going to highlight not only Joe Biden but the resilience of America."

Rumour has it that someone made a pinky-swear to attend the Progressives for Biden watch party tonight.

What's the most significant difference between what you will see this week at the Democratic National Convention that begins tonight (click here for all the ways you can watch) and next week's Republican National Convention?

This week is about you, and what you want, and need, from your government. Next week, on the other hand, will be focused on the greater glory of, and a lot of fake happy talk about, the most immoral, and hapless, presidential administration since James Buchanan sat by and watched slavers almost conduct a coup against the newly-elected Abraham Lincoln.

Which brings me to tonight's theme: Unity. I have seen some griping on Twitter about why Republicans are on the program, and why the Sanders-Warren wing of the party can't have time devoted to plutocrats and their various handmaidens.

Here's my thought: capitalism is not yet dead, and the theory that if Donald Trump were elected in 2016 that revolution would come, turned out to be wrong. Instead, we got four years of misery and violence: you don’t need to have a big crush on Joe Biden to be aware of that. More important, what beating Donald Trump will require is a broad coalition that draws heavily from independent and Republican voters. That is a fact. It has been the case for much of the last century that independent voters provide the margin of victory in a presidential election, and they will be crucially important this year.

Although political purity is now very much in vogue, a very high focus on the one thing that can win this election. That one thing is an agreement, across ideological lines, that no one's agenda is moving forward as long as Donald Trump is in office. We must return to the typical forms of disputation that we used to call democracy. Once we do that, we don't have to return to the status quo ante, but we will set the stage for politics and grassroots organizing to address the needs of hard-working Americans in the way that they deserve.

There's a great line-up tonight, with Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama in the prime-time 10:00-11:00 slot. And for those of you who are interested in pushing out the campaign narrative, here are a few tips:

  • All of the caucuses meet today, from noon until 7:00 (schedule here.) It would be exhausting to watch all of them, but pick the one that seems most relevant to you and stream it on the official DNC Twitch channel.

  • Conventions are a bit of a beauty pageant, it's true, but they are also a form of teaching. The best way to educate yourself about the strengths of the Biden-Harris ticket is to watch and see what the specific policy commitments are. Then, read this year's platform. One of the things you should notice if you campaigned for Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders is what a huge impact these progressives have had on the Democratic agenda.

  • Bring in others to watch with you. According to Pew Research, voters are highly engaged in this election season, but at least half expect to have difficulty voting. But "highly engaged," in May, meant 52%. That means 48% of eligible voters are not engaged. Furthermore, in a Gallup poll released three days ago, 25% of voters said that neither candidate would make a good president. Such knowledge points to a task: Democrats, non-aligned progressives, and anti-Trump Republicans need to know that someone will be president, whether they like it or not, and the choice will determine how many people will die; how many will lose their jobs, homes and health insurance, and whether our education system takes a body blow from which it will not recover. Get some friends together on a Zoom screen share here, or join a convention watch party: here's the link for the Progressives for Biden watch party. (Warren stans: I heard a rumor that she may be dropping in to say hi.)

Get ready: the 2020 campaign is here. Today. Everything you have done up to this point is prelude, and everything you do from here on out helps us restore democracy.

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