Light­foot will be in spot­light in to­day’s kick­off of Demo­cratic Con­ven­tion

Illi­nois con­tin­gent kicks off vir­tual con­ven­tion: ‘These cer­tainly are some strange cir­cum­stances’

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - LYNN SWEET,

Un­prece­dented. At the Sun­day af­ter­noon Demo­cratic con­ven­tion wel­come re­cep­tion for the Illi­nois del­e­ga­tion, one of the speak­ers, Min­nesota’s Sen. Amy Klobuchar, said peer­ing into her screen, “It’s a lit­tle bit like ‘Hol­ly­wood Squares.’”

For the first time in the his­tory of the nation, the spread­ing COVID-19 pan­demic is forc­ing the Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can 2020 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nat­ing con­ven­tions to be mainly vir­tual. In­stead of a party on con­ven­tion eve in Mil­wau­kee, 116 Illi­nois Democrats hud­dled to­gether on Zoom for al­most 90 min­utes.

The in­scrutable, scan­dal­ized Demo­cratic Party of Illi­nois Chair­man Michael Madi­gan, also the Illi­nois House speaker, spoke for all of 18 sec­onds, or 47 words, us­ing 21 of them to in­tro­duce party ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Mary Mor­ris­sey, who mod­er­ated the ses­sion.

The Democrats kick off their con­ven­tion Mon­day night with Bernie San­ders and Michelle Obama de­liv­er­ing the clos­ing ar­gu­ments af­ter a string of speak­ers in­clud­ing Klobuchar; Rep. Jim Cly­burn of South Carolina; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; and Michi­gan Gov. Gretchen Whit­mer.

I wouldn’t be sur­prised to see Light­foot in a prime-time con­ven­tion role.

Bi­den will ac­cept the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion Thurs­day, with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump do­ing the same a week later at the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion. Bi­den’s VP pick, Cal­i­for­nia Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris, speaks Wed­nes­day.

The vir­tual con­ven­tions — in the case of Democrats, with seg­ments pre­re­corded — come as the nation is con­vulsed with pan­demic-trig­gered health and eco­nomic crises and a racial reck­on­ing sparked by the mur­der of Ge­orge Floyd. The lat­est loom­ing catas­tro­phe — and you will hear about this at the Demo­cratic con­ven­tion — are post of­fice de­lays with mas­sive vote-by­mail bal­lot­ing ex­pected in the 2020 pan­demic elec­tion.

Demo­cratic con­ven­tion plan­ners will beam in peo­ple from all over the coun­try, with Tues­day’s roll call to be a whirl­wind tour of the nation’s states and ter­ri­to­ries. While the evening pro­gram will be two hours — with the net­works only plan­ning on tele­vis­ing the hour start­ing at 9 p.m. Chicago time — there will be events tak­ing place vir­tu­ally through­out the day.

Illi­nois Wel­come Re­cep­tion: ‘Some Strange Cir­cum­stances’

Madi­gan, who spoke from his South­west Side 13th Ward head­quar­ters, gets an un­earned div­i­dend from a vir­tual con­ven­tion — no morn­ing in-per­son Illi­nois del­e­ga­tion break­fast meet­ings where re­porters would be work­ing the room to find out if more Democrats wanted him to step down from his lead­er­ship roles be­cause of the un­fold­ing Com­mon­wealth Edi­son scan­dal.

With Madi­gan bar­ri­caded be­hind a Zoom moat, di­min­ish­ing overt lo­cal po­lit­i­cal drama, the wel­come re­cep­tion fo­cused on de­feat­ing Trump in the next 79 days.

“These cer­tainly are some strange cir­cum­stances,” said Illi­nois Se­nate Pres­i­dent Don Har­mon, sit­ting at the din­ing room ta­ble in his Oak Park home.

“He’s even try­ing to break the post of­fice to stop us from vot­ing,” Har­mon said. “He may be try­ing to break us, but we will not let him.”

The Zoom ses­sion was a vir­tual bid to crank up the troops to beat Trump and elect down-ticket Illi­nois Democrats.

Klobuchar topped off com­ments from a string of the top Illi­nois Democrats: Be­sides Har­mon, Mayor Lori Light­foot; Rep. Brad Sch­nei­der; Rep. Danny Davis; Rep. Cheri Bus­tos; Gov. J.B. Pritzker; Sen. Dick Durbin, whom I’ve never seen in a black T-shirt — and whose grand­son made a cameo — and Sen. Tammy Duck­worth, who de­liv­ers a key­note ad­dress Thurs­day night af­ter mak­ing the short list of Bi­den’s vice pres­i­den­tial picks.

“Let’s start with the ob­vi­ous,” Pritzker said. “Don­ald Trump is ut­terly and com­pletely in­com­pe­tent.”

Light­foot’s busy con­ven­tion

Light­foot is al­ready booked for a va­ri­ety of official and non-official events dur­ing the vir­tual con­ven­tion, some live, oth­ers recorded.

On Mon­day, Light­foot will be part of the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress brief­ing on “Pro­tect­ing the In­tegrity of the Elec­tion.”

Dur­ing the day, the Demo­cratic con­ven­tion will hold a va­ri­ety of vir­tual events for dif­fer­ent spe­cial in­ter­est groups within the party. On Tues­day, Light­foot, Chicago’s first openly gay mayor, speaks at the LGBTQ Cau­cus at 11:25 a.m. Chicago time. At noon, she’s on a panel on COVID-19 and the econ­omy.

At 2 p.m. Chicago time, she will also be part of a cel­e­bra­tion of the 100th an­niver­sary of the 19th Amend­ment, giv­ing women the right to vote.

On Wed­nes­day, in a pre­re­corded seg­ment, Light­foot ad­dresses the Black Cau­cus at 2:10 p.m. Chicago time.

At 5 p.m. Chicago time, Light­foot ap­pears at an event for LPAC, a ma­jor les­bian Demo­cratic po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee.

On Thurs­day, Light­foot will meet with the Poverty Cau­cus, start­ing at 11:30 a.m. Chicago time. Be­fore that, she will be part of the Mil­wau­kee Host Com­mit­tee’s Pol­icy Round­table dis­cus­sion on elec­tion in­tegrity start­ing at 11 a.m. Chicago time.

At 6:30 p.m. Chicago time, in a pre­re­corded ap­pear­ance, Light­foot will ad­dress the Vic­tory In­sti­tute, which de­scribes it­self as a “na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to el­e­vat­ing openly LGBTQ lead­ers who can fur­ther equal­ity at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment.”

The vir­tual Demo­cratic Con­ven­tion kicked off with an Illi­nois del­e­ga­tion wel­come re­cep­tion. Speak­ers in­cluded (from left), top row, Min­nesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; Illi­nois party Chair Mike Madi­gan; Mayor Lori Light­foot; mid­dle row, Gov. J.B. Pritzker; Sen. Tammy Duck­worth; Rep. Brad Sch­nei­der; bottom row, Sen. Dick Durbin; Rep. Danny Davis; party ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Mary Mor­ris­sey.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.