MILWAUKEE — Democrats formally nominated Senator Kamala Harris for the vice presidency on Wednesday night, placing a woman of color on a major party ticket for the first time and showcasing the diversity of race and gender they believe will energize their coalition to defeat President Trump in the fall.
The third night of the party’s national convention also featured a striking repudiation of Mr. Trump by former President Barack Obama, a break with the presidential custom of not criticizing a successor by name. Mr. Obama praised Mr. Biden’s character, contrasting it with Mr. Trump’s, and directed a portion of his remarks to voters undecided about whom they will vote for, or whether they will vote at all.
“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job, because he can’t,” Mr. Obama said, growing emotional at points as he talked about the challenges facing the country and democracy. “The consequences of that failure are severe. 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone.”
A day after nominating Joseph R. Biden Jr., a 77-year-old fixture of Washington establishment politics, Democrats tried to make the case that while Mr. Biden would be one kind of change agent — a repudiation of Trumpism — Ms. Harris would help steer the party in new directions and reflect a changing America.
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Speeches by Mr. Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Speaker Nancy Pelosi were intended to underscore the history-making moment of Ms. Harris’s nomination, highlighting her uniquely American biography: A child of immigrants and a graduate of a historically Black university, she is one of the few women of color elected to the United States Senate.
“We’re at an inflection point,” Ms. Harris said as she formally accepted the nomination. “The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone.
“We can do better and deserve so much more. We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better and do the important work.”
Far more than the two previous nights, which centered on testimonials to Mr. Biden’s character and empathy, the program focused on policy, addressing issues like gun violence, climate change, affordable child care and immigration. In videos, activists promoted Mr. Biden’s plans to tackle a warming planet, and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence reminded viewers of his role in crafting the Violence Against Women Act. The American child of a deported undocumented mother begged the president to reunite families torn apart by his immigration policy.
In perhaps the most policy-heavy speech of the evening, Ms. Warren, speaking from an early childhood learning center in her home state of Massachusetts, praised Mr. Biden’s “really good plans.” She highlighted his proposals to make child care more affordable, to provide universal preschool and to raise wages for child care workers.
Much of the evening was devoted to the power of women in politics. In a week marking the hundredth anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, Ms. Pelosi and Mrs. Clinton, two of the most influential women in politics, wore white in their appearances, in homage to the suffragists. In their remarks, both anointed Mrs. Harris as a successor of sorts, though they had declined to endorse her or any of the other five women who sought the Democratic presidential nomination.
Yet, even as Democrats championed change, they promised to keep fighting for policies to combat sexual assault and domestic violence and to improve access to affordable child care. The prominent airtime given to those issues underscores the influence Democratic women have gained during the Trump era. Women have emerged as the backbone of the party, shattering records for political giving, running for office in unprecedented numbers and overwhelmingly voting for Democrats.
Senator Kamala Harris of California on Wednesday night accepted the nomination to be the Democratic Party’s nominee to be vice president of the United States, the first Black woman and the first Indian-American woman to be on a major party’s national ticket.
Speaking from Wilmington, Del., where she is working with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his campaign, Ms. Harris noted the historic nature of her candidacy.
Her mother, Ms. Harris said, “could have never imagined that I would be standing before you now and speaking these words. I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America.”
Ms. Harris name-checked an array of trail-blazing Black women in American political history, including Mary Church Terrell, Mary McLeod Bethune, Fannie Lou Hamer, Diane Nash, Constance Baker Motley and Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to run for president whose campaign colors and logo Ms. Harris borrowed for her own presidential campaign.
She laid out her own life story, as the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica whose mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, took her as a toddler to civil rights marches in Northern California.
“In the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, I got a stroller’s-eye view of people getting into what the great John Lewis called good trouble,” she said.
In a brief video before Ms. Harris’s speech, her sister, Maya Harris; her niece, Meena Harris; and stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, praised her for being a role model to them. Meena Harris said she had “made sure I grew up surrounded by smart, strong and ambitious women.”
“Even though Mommy’s not here to see her first daughter step into history,” Maya Harris said, “the entire nation will see in your strength, your integrity, your intelligence and your optimism the values that she raised us with.”
Without citing specifics of the summer reckoning about racial justice in America, Kamala Harris appealed to end injustices in criminal justice and health care systems and law enforcement.
“There is no vaccine for racism,” she said. “We have got to do the work.”
Ms. Harris did less of the traditional running mate duties of attacking the opposing presidential nominee. Instead she lamented the state of President Trump’s America and promised that a Biden-Harris administration would make things better.
“The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone,” she said. “It’s a lot.”
She outlined very few policy proposals, in line with a convention that has focused far more on Mr. Biden’s humanity than what he would do as president, beyond reversing what the Trump administration has done.
After she completed her remarks, Ms. Harris turned to wave to a bank of television monitors showing supporters cheering from their homes. Then Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill, along with Ms. Harris’s husband, Douglas Emhoff, emerged from backstage, in a pandemic-appropriate yet mask-free wave to the television cameras and assembled reporters, who sat several dozen yards from the stage.
Ms. Harris now stands as the bridge between the Democratic Party’s moderate generation of leaders and younger liberals on the rise, balancing the obligations of promoting Mr. Biden while offering herself to someday lead the party into a post-Biden era.
“We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work,” Ms. Harris said. “A president who will bring all of us together — Black, white, Latino, Asian, Indigenous — to achieve the future we collectively want.”
Former President Barack Obama, hair grayed and manner grave, on Wednesday painted a dire picture of the United States under President Trump, portraying his successor as a man unfit, uncaring and unserious who threatens not only the nation’s welfare but also its core democratic institutions.
“This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win,” Mr. Obama said in one of the most emotional speeches he has ever delivered.
The former president, who has cast aside his initial reluctance to engage with Mr. Trump, worked on the draft of his speech up until nearly the moment he delivered it, in an effort to create a concise indictment of a president who has ridiculed him personally, leveled racist attacks, and sought to erase any trace of Mr. Obama’s policy legacy since taking power.
If Mr. Trump has subjected Mr. Obama to a thousand paper cuts on Twitter, this was one grand rhetorical saber stroke, possibly the most comprehensive denunciation of one president by another in the country’s history.
“I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care,” said Mr. Obama, speaking from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia — not far from Independence Hall, where he delivered a far more upbeat address on racial issues in 2008.
“But he never did,” the former president went on. “He’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves. Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”
Mr. Obama invoked the legacy of Representative John Lewis, the civil rights hero whose death was conspicuously ignored by Mr. Trump, who felt Mr. Lewis had unfairly criticized him.
“Last month, we lost a giant of American democracy,” Mr. Obama said.
As Mr. Obama spoke, Mr. Trump responded with tweets in all-caps, first repeating the baseless claim that the former president had spied on his 2016 campaign and then asking why Mr. Obama had not endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr. until the Democratic primary was effectively over. Earlier, speaking to reporters at the White House, Mr. Trump said Mr. Obama’s own failures had led to his election four years ago.
The purpose of Mr. Obama’s unvarnished assessment of Mr. Trump, people close to him maintain, is not defending his own legacy or extracting revenge. It is to draw a contrast between the incumbent and his friend Mr. Biden.
The lead-in to the speech was the unedited video of the White House ceremony in which Mr. Obama awarded his vice president with the Presidential Medal of Freedom shortly before they left office.
“Twelve years ago, when I began my search for a vice president, I didn’t know I’d end up finding a brother,” Mr. Obama said.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who built a progressive following in the 2020 presidential primary, made the case for the man who defeated her on Wednesday, saying the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr. was crucial for the Democratic Party.
”Now I love a good plan,” Ms. Warren said in a nod to the policy blueprints that powered her own presidential bid, “and Joe Biden has some really good plans.”
Delivering her speech from an Early Childhood Education Center in Springfield, Mass., she focused her remarks on child care, which has become a front-of-mind issue for millions of voters as schools and day cares have closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the children’s cubbies behind her, three letters were clearly visible: “B.L.M.” — the initials for Black Lives Matter.
“Our economic system has been rigged to give bailouts to billionaires and kick dirt in the face of everyone else,” she said.
Ms. Warren told a familiar story from her stump speech about her Aunt Bee, who moved to help her with child care. “Nobody makes it on their own,” Ms. Warren said.
“Joe and Kamala will make high-quality child care affordable for every family,” she said.
She later turned her attention to President Trump, saying he had “failed miserably” at responding to the pandemic.
“This crisis is bad — and didn’t have to be this way,” she said. “This crisis is on Donald Trump and the Republicans who enable him.”
Ms. Warren had been considered as a possible running mate for Mr. Biden but lost out in those sweepstakes to Senator Kamala Harris.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. is set to formally accept the Democratic presidential nomination in a televised prime-time address on Thursday night.
But, first, President Trump would like to have a quick word.
The anchor Sean Hannity told viewers on Wednesday that Mr. Trump planned to join his Fox News program on Thursday, which airs in the hour before the 10 p.m. time slot when Mr. Biden is expected to speak to the nation.
“Quick programming note: Tomorrow night, President Donald Trump joins us live right here on ‘Hannity’ exclusively,” Mr. Hannity told viewers in the closing moments of his Wednesday broadcast. “You don’t want to miss that.”
Mr. Hannity is one of Mr. Trump’s most vocal and reliable media cheerleaders, and a frequent informal adviser.
Presidential rivals tend to suspend their campaign attacks during the week that their opponent’s party holds its convention — particularly so on the evening when the candidate delivers an acceptance speech.
But Mr. Trump seems reluctant to yield the national spotlight.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trump reacted in real-time on Twitter as former President Barack Obama spoke at the convention, delivering his strongest repudiation yet of the Trump presidency.
“HE SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN, AND GOT CAUGHT,” Mr. Trump tweeted, promoting a conspiracy theory he has been talking about — while providing no evidence for — since 2017. No evidence has emerged that before the November 2016 election Mr. Obama was involved in the F.B.I. investigation into Mr. Trump’s advisers and any ties to Russian campaign interference.
Mr. Trump added in a second tweet: “WHY DID HE REFUSE TO ENDORSE SLOW JOE UNTIL IT WAS ALL OVER, AND EVEN THEN WAS VERY LATE? WHY DID HE TRY TO GET HIM NOT TO RUN?”
Mr. Trump’s all-caps tweets in response to Mr. Obama, the political figure he crafted his own political persona in opposition to, appeared to be the first original commentary that he has offered online over the past three nights of prime-time D.N.C. coverage.
It was not immediately clear if Mr. Trump would appear with Mr. Hannity on Thursday in person or by video link. Fox News confirmed Mr. Trump’s appearance, saying in a statement, “During the interview, Trump will discuss this week’s Democratic National Convention, the upcoming Republican National Convention and other news of the day.”
The outcome of the election could well be determined by women, and it was clear in the first half of Wednesday night’s convention programming that Democratic leaders knew it.
After a segment highlighting the centennial of the 19th Amendment and the many women who have become leaders since 1920, viewers saw a video in which three advocates — Mariska Hargitay of the Joyful Heart Foundation, Ruth Glenn of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Carly Dryden of It’s On Us — praised Mr. Biden’s work to pass the Violence Against Women Act in the 1990s.
Ms. Hargitay added that Mr. Biden had worked with her and other advocates to address the national backlog of untested rape kits, something she said sent “a vital message to survivors that what happened to them matters.”
Mr. Biden has often emphasized his legislative record on domestic violence and other issues that disproportionately affect women, and the fact that as a senator, he was one of the architects of the Violence Against Women Act, which President Bill Clinton signed in 1994.
The video included footage of several survivors whom Mr. Biden invited to testify in the Senate in 1990, and of Mr. Biden’s response to one of them.
“I was about to say I know,” he said, “but I don’t know. I can only guess how painful that is.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been one of the few national Democrats to hold real power during the Trump presidency, so rebuking the president — from afar at her weekly news conferences or up close at the State of the Union address — is what she does in a typical workweek.
But Ms. Pelosi is also the highest-ranking female elected official in the nation’s history, and a powerful reminder of the centrality of gender politics in a fight to unseat a president who recently made a ham-handed pitch to win over the “suburban housewives” of America.
“As speaker of the House, I’ve seen firsthand Donald Trump’s disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular — disrespect written into his policies toward health and our rights, not just his conduct,” said Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaking live against the backdrop of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, her adopted hometown.
“But we know what he doesn’t: that when women succeed, America succeeds,” added Ms. Pelosi, who was introduced in a video produced by Taraji P. Henson, an actor and activist. “We are unleashing the power of women to take their rightful place in national life.”
Ms. Pelosi enthusiastically backed the decision to scrap the in-person convention in Milwaukee because of the coronavirus. But it was a big disappointment for her personally; she has been attending the event since the convention in Chicago in 1952, when she was a girl and went with her father when he was the mayor of Baltimore. Ms. Pelosi had planned to bring her grandchildren with her to Wisconsin — her 15th convention.
Hillary Clinton returned to the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday not as an incumbent seeking a second term, as many Democrats had once hoped and expected, but as a voice warning Americans to take nothing for granted if they want to vote President Trump out of office.
“Remember, Joe and Kamala can win three million more votes and still lose — take it from me,” Mrs. Clinton said. “We need numbers so overwhelming, Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”
Since her loss four years ago, “people have told me, ‘I didn’t realize how dangerous he was,’ ‘I wish I could do it all over’ or, worse, ‘I should have voted,’” she added. “Look, this can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election.”
Mrs. Clinton made no effort to hide her lingering frustration with her 2016 defeat to Mr. Trump, who beat her despite trailing in the polls and losing the popular vote by, as she noted, nearly three million votes. She, like many other convention speakers this week, condemned the president as a heartless failure in the White House — “Sadly, he is who he is,” she said.
She recalled saying after the 2016 election that Americans owed Mr. Trump “an open mind and the chance to lead.”
“I really meant it,” she said, before saying he had failed to rise to the job.
Speaking from her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., Mrs. Clinton echoed the Monday night call from another former first lady, Michelle Obama, to make every conceivable effort to vote against Mr. Trump this November — or preferably weeks before then.
She implored Democrats to request mail ballots and return them “as soon as you can.”
“No matter what, vote,” she said.
She praised Joseph R. Biden Jr., both a rival and an ally of hers in the past, as someone who “knows how to heal, unify, and lead.”In an implicit acknowledgment of a potential challenge for the ticket — the fact that, according to polls, Democrats are more enthusiastic about voting against Mr. Trump than for Mr. Biden — she urged Americans to vote for a number of things, among them new jobs, clean energy, paid family leave and Dreamers.
“Vote for the America we saw in the roll call last night: diverse, compassionate, full of energy and hope,” she said. “Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”
The Democratic National Convention on Wednesday honored the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which established women’s right to vote, with a video montage of female activists and change makers from the suffragists, dressed in white, to demonstrators at the Women’s March, in their pink ‘pussy hats.’
“From the ballot box to the factory floor, from her living room to the E.R., she makes trouble — the good kind,” says a narrator.
Dedicating a segment to the suffrage movement underscored the importance of the female vote for the Democratic Party. In every presidential election since 1980, women have been more likely to support the Democratic candidate, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. President Trump currently lags far behind Joseph R. Biden Jr. among female voters in national polls.
Democrats’ celebration of the movement also came as voting rights emerge as a vital issue in the 2020 campaign, with President Trump and other Republicans attacking mail-in voting and redoubling efforts to impose greater voting restrictions across the country.
The United States ratified the 19th Amendment on Aug. 18, 1920. Eight days later, on Aug. 26, the amendment was formally added to the Constitution on what is now celebrated as Equality Day.
But the fight for the right to vote wasn’t easy. It lasted seven decades, with many of the women who ignited the suffrage movement dying before they could see the fruits of their labor. The amendment nearly failed, passing by a slim margin of just four votes in Tennessee, the 36th state to ratify. And, it wasn’t inclusive, leaving many women of color disenfranchised for decades after.
No single group in the Democratic coalition has been more directly affected by President Trump’s administration than immigrants, including those arriving at the nation’s southern border.
On Wednesday night, the convention took some time — though not enough according to some in the party — to acknowledge the human toll of more than three years of strict immigration actions that have led to a spike in detentions, lawsuits, funding battles, chaos at the nation’s airports and the construction of a few sections of a new border wall.
It included an open letter from immigrants, with a blunt message for Mr. Trump:
“Instead of protecting us, you tore our world apart.”
An 11-year-old girl named Estela, the daughter of a Marine veteran, told the story of her mother’s deportation and called on voters to elect a president who would have rewarded her family’s contributions to the country.
“My mom worked hard and paid taxes,” she said in a video message to Mr. Trump. “My dad thought you would protect military families. So, he voted for you in 2016, Mr. President. He says he won’t vote for you again after what you did to our family.”
It also featured an emotional appeal from Silvia Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant in North Carolina, who appeared before the 2012 convention in Charlotte to discuss her family’s financial struggles. On Wednesday, she returned, this time with her daughters Jessica and Lucy, to talk about the need to extend endangered protections for Dreamers.
The segment included a short film showcasing the diversity of the country’s immigrant communities, with a voice-over that included former President Barack Obama declaring, “immigration is our origin story.”
The first two nights of the Democratic convention were not exactly policy-heavy affairs as the party instead seemed satisfied to focus on the shortcomings of President Trump and on filling out the biography of Joseph R. Biden Jr. for more casual voters and viewers.
But in the first hour of Wednesday’s telecast, the party is putting the focus on three key topics to the Democratic base in general and young voters in particular: guns, climate change and immigration.
Democratic strategists have said that climate change is one of the areas where Mr. Biden, who has a fairly far-reaching platform on the topic, can make inroads with the younger and progressive coalition that powered the runner-up in the primaries, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Mr. Biden is not about to embrace Mr. Sanders’s government-provided “Medicare for all” answer to health care. But his platform says that climate change is a top priority, adding that there is “no greater challenge facing our country and our world.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Biden enlisted young people to make the pitch on his behalf.
“I’m asking you to join us,” said Alexandria Villaseñor, 15, one of several climate activists who sold Mr. Biden’s agenda.
The climate segments stretched for more than 10 minutes and began with Kerry Washington, the actress hosting the virtual convention on Wednesday, noting that Mr. Biden had introduced the first federal climate legislation as far back as 1986.
Then Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico spoke about the urgency of the issue now.
“We know time is running out to save our planet,” she said, adding that Mr. Trump represented “environmental annihilation.”
The singer Billie Eilish spoke about climate change as well before performing.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, one of the nation’s highest-profile Latina elected officials, made a case for combating climate change on Wednesday night at the Democratic convention.
“I’m proud that New Mexico has shown what climate leadership looks like,” she said from a field of solar panels outside of Albuquerque. “We’re laying a road map here of what America can and should look like in the 21st century.”
Ms. Lujan Grisham, 60, was elected as governor in 2018 and before that had a high-profile stint in Congress, where she led the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She also led the New Mexico public health department.
She was on the short list of contenders to be Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s running mate, with allies saying she was well positioned to help him strengthen his standing with Hispanic voters and compete for nearby battlegrounds like Arizona and Texas.
But by the end of the vice-presidential search, Ms. Lujan Grisham seemed like such a long shot that her allies had begun talking her up as a potential secretary of health and human services in a Biden administration, a job in which Ms. Lujan Grisham had expressed interest.
Few Americans can make a more emotional case for the impact of gun violence than Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head while greeting constituents outside a supermarket in 2011 in Tucson, Ariz.
Nine years later, Ms. Giffords appeared on video gingerly playing “America (My Country ’Tis of Thee)” on a French horn as footage played showing her slow recovery from her brain injury, which caused paralysis and aphasia, limiting her ability to speak.
She is shown in the hospital with a scar across her forehead, walking with a supermarket cart wearing a helmet during physical therapy, waving on the House floor and, finally, rehearsing lines of a political speech: “Join us in this fight.”
After footage of Ms. Giffords with Joseph R. Biden Jr., she is shown slowly approaching a lectern with an American flag behind her. She then proceeds to deliver her longest speech since being shot.
“Words once came easily, but today I struggle to speak. But I have not lost my voice,” she says. “America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words. We are at a crossroads. We can let the shooting continue, or we can act. We can protect our families, our future. We can vote.”
Ms. Giffords’s organization has emerged as one of the biggest players in gun control politics, alongside Everytown for Gun Safety, which is largely funded by former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York. In 2018, the two groups for the first time combined to spend more money on political campaigns than the National Rifle Association.
Ms. Giffords’s organization has pledged to spend at least $7.5 million helping elect Democrats this year.
Not seen in the video is Ms. Giffords’s husband, the former astronaut Mark Kelly, who is the Democratic nominee for Senate in Arizona. Mr. Kelly ran the Giffords gun control group until he began his Senate campaign.
While Everytown spends far more money than does Ms. Giffords’s group, her appearance packs an emotional punch no amount of money can buy.
“My recovery is a daily fight, but fighting makes me stronger,” she said in the video.
She completed her remarks with a call to vote for Mr. Biden. “He was there for me, he’ll be there for you too,” she said.
Emma González, a survivor of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting who has become a prominent advocate for stricter gun laws, narrated a video that played during the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday.
“People affected by everyday gun violence have to walk by the street corner where their best friend, their brother, their mother, their nephew, where they themselves were shot,” Ms. González says in the video, her voice breaking, “and life goes on and on as if we all haven’t just watched a loved one die and get put in the grave.”
She continues, “Until one of us or all of us stand up and say, ‘I can’t do this anymore, I can’t sit by and watch the news treat these shootings like acts of God’ — gun violence isn’t just going to stop until there’s a force fighting harder against it, and I’m going to do something to prevent it.”
The video aired as part of a segment that also included DeAndra Dycus, whose son was paralyzed by a stray bullet in Indianapolis at age 13, and former Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was nearly killed in a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011.
“He was dancing at a birthday party when he was shot in the back left side of his head, shattering his skull,” Ms. Dycus said of her son, DeAndre. “One shot changed our lives forever. Today, DeAndre does not talk. He does not walk. I know he knows me by the smile he shows when I walk in his room, but I’m unsure if he knows a gunshot has changed his life.”
Since March, Ms. Dycus said, she has been able to see her son only three times because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I want a president who cares about our pain and grief,” she said, alluding to the empathy that Joseph R. Biden Jr. has made a defining theme of his campaign.
Though it has been overshadowed this year by the coronavirus, the economy and the national uprising over police violence and systemic racism, gun violence has become a motivating issue for many Democratic voters, especially young ones. Parkland survivors like Ms. González have been at the forefront of the movement through March for Our Lives, the group they started in 2018.
The party’s presidential field, including its eventual nominee, Mr. Biden, embraced a long list of gun control policies during the primary, including buybacks of assault weapons, so-called red flag laws and civil liability for gun manufacturers when their weapons are used in crimes.
Senator Kamala Harris of California, who will accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for vice president in a speech later on Wednesday, made a surprise appearance in the opening minutes of Wednesday’s convention.
“Hey everybody, it’s me, Kamala,” Ms. Harris introduced herself from backstage.
She delivered a brief message on “the importance of voting” and asked everyone to make a “plan” — something political scientists have said increases the chance people will ultimately vote.
She also swiped at Republicans for putting up “obstacles and misinformation” about voting.
“I think we need to ask ourselves, why don’t they want us to vote,” Ms. Harris said. She provided the answer, too: “The answer is because when we vote, things change. When we vote, things get better.”
For the third consecutive night, the Democratic Party asked a prominent woman of color — on Wednesday it is the actress Kerry Washington — to serve as the M.C. of the virtual convention, showcasing the party’s diversity not just among its politicians but also among its supporters.
Ms. Washington, who is known for her role as Olivia Pope on the television show “Scandal,” comes after the actresses Tracee Ellis Ross on Tuesday and Eva Longoria on Monday.
Ms. Washington introduced what is expected to be a long line of prominent women speakers on Wednesday: Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee; Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker; and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Ms. Harris will be the final speaker of the night on Wednesday, pitching a Democratic vision where “all are welcome, no matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we love,” according to excerpts released in advance.
She will both make the anti-Trump and pro-Biden case.
“We’re at an inflection point,” she will say. “The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone.”
It’s been a rough few months for Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin.
Never a politician with a tough-guy persona, he’s found his executive authority neutered by Wisconsin’s Republican leaders in the state legislature and the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court. They blocked his attempt to delay the April 7 state elections, forced him to end the Wisconsin’s stay-at-home order and are now litigating to overturn a statewide mask mandate.
That was all before Milwaukee’s long-awaited Democratic National Convention became an event hosted in Wisconsin in name only. To add insult to injury, when Mr. Evers’s lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, took his turn during Tuesday’s roll call of states, he was inside a generic TV studio, not showcasing Milwaukee’s iconic art museum or any of the state’s treasures. Also, Mr. Barnes flubbed Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s name. And on Tuesday the top-ranked Milwaukee Bucks lost their first game of the N.B.A. playoffs while the Milwaukee Brewers were nearly no-hit by the Minnesota Twins.
Making his own convention debut, Mr. Evers, standing in a TV studio inside Milwaukee’s downtown convention center, performed the perfunctory duties of welcoming delegates and viewers to the virtual convention.
“We were really looking forward to having you here in America’s Dairyland,” he said, referring to the state’s motto. “Unfortunately, the pandemic means we can’t do that this year.”
Then it was time to pass the baton to children reciting the pledge of allegience and to Senator Kamala Harris, who kicked off the night with a pledge to vote. The Milwaukee portion of Milwaukee’s convention was complete for the night.