Here is What Happened on the Second Night of the Democratic Convention

Adam: So just to get this out of the way, as we talk about Jill Biden, it’s probably not easy to follow Michelle Obama, who delivered the main speech on Monday. I think Dr. Biden is unknown to many Americans, and doesn’t have the experience on the campaign trail — or in public speaking — that Mrs. Obama has. (Don’t forget her book tour.)

Shane: Look, I’m not sure anyone wants to follow Mrs. Obama. Here is a scoopy data point for you, Adam, on how well the two speeches landed. On Monday, Democrats gave $2.8 million in online donations via ActBlue during the 10 p.m. prime time hour. On Tuesday, that figure was only $1.7 million, according to ActBlue’s ticker.

Adam: That’s what we call news-you-can-use. Another point: The choice of an empty schoolhouse for Dr. Biden showed how intensely the Democrats intend to challenge Mr. Trump on the pandemic. The concern she expressed about sending children back into classrooms now seemed a direct rebuttal to Mr. Trump’s call to open schools.

Shane: Most politicians jump on popular issues. Mr. Trump has been on the wrong side of public opinion when it comes to schools. And Dr. Biden made the case of the issue’s complexity both as a grandmother and as a teacher, speaking of how “the bright young faces are now confined to boxes on the computer screen.”

Adam: The other part of her speech that was noteworthy, and this is not unusual for a spouse’s convention speech, was talking about her husband, and in particular, his life of adversity. Voters might not remember a lot, but I suspect they will remember her talking about losing Beau Biden, Mr. Biden’s son from his first wife (who died in a car crash). That moment would probably have silenced the audience, if there had been an audience,

Shane: And then she did something else: She linked Mr. Biden’s experience with managing loss and healing his family to this moment. It’s something the Biden campaign has been trying to do for months — empathy, empathy, empathy. Here is how Jill Biden put it: “How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole,” she said. “With love and understanding and with small acts of kindness.”

Adam: A pleasure as always, Mr. Goldmacher. Good night.

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