Partial speaker list unveiled.
ATLANTA — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden insists he can unify a fractured nation, and he’ll test his theory with an unusual nominating convention intended to span the spectrum of U.S. politics.
The Democratic National Convention, a virtual production since the COVID-19 pandemic led party officials to cancel all in-person plans in Milwaukee, will feature presenters from progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Republican John Kasich, a former Ohio governor who sought the GOP presidential nomination four years ago.
A detailed but incomplete list of speakers was released Tuesday. Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who was on Biden’s short list for running mate, is scheduled to speak Thursday.
The unusual format, with just eight hours of prime-time programming spread over four nights from Aug. 17-20, will test Biden’s ability to project a cohesive message to a splintered electorate wrenched by a pandemic, a devastated economy and an ongoing reckoning on systemic racism.
“We had two goals in mind: to include more Americans than ever before and to ensure that all Americans see themselves reflected in what they were viewing,” said Stephanie Cutter, a veteran Democratic strategist who is directing the program for Biden.
Programming is set to be broadcast and streamed online each night from 8 to 10 Chicago time.
Many details, including who will speak live and whose remarks will be pre-taped, are not finalized. Biden also has not named a keynote speaker, who will be featured Tuesday.
Sen. Bernie Sanders will appear Monday, the same night as Kasich. Former first lady Michelle Obama and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also will be featured that night.
Former President Bill Clinton, Ocasio-Cortez and Jill Biden, the nominee’s wife, lead the Tuesday slate. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, the 2004 presidential nominee, has a Tuesday spot.
Prominent Democratic women dominate the lineup Wednesday, when Kamala Harris, Biden’s vice presidential choice, will speak. The list also includes 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman and high-profile advocate for tighter gun restrictions.
Former President Barack Obama, who remains perhaps the party’s most popular figure, also drew a Wednesday time slot.
As with a normal convention, Biden’s acceptance speech will conclude the proceedings Thursday night. He is expected to speak live from his home state of Delaware, though the campaign has not announced a venue.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is scheduled to speak Tuesday night at the Democratic convention.