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August 21, 2020

The Democratic National Convention wraps up with Biden acceptance speech

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video, and answer the discussion questions. For an overview of the final night of the convention, click here. To read Biden’s speech in full, click here

Summary: Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president on August 20 during the final night of the Democratic National Convention. The coronavirus pandemic upended both parties’ traditional conventions. Instead of in-person events, the program each night features a number of speakers and musical performances virtually across the country.

  • The Democratic convention featured speakers from a wide range of political ideologies, from former Republican Ohio governor John Kasich to Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders.
  • In his speech, Biden leaned on his own experience and capacity for understanding the ways Americans might be struggling, especially during the pandemic and economic crisis.
  • Biden’s speech followed vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris’s speech the night before. To watch or read Harris’s speech, click here.

Warm up questions:

  1. What events take place at political party conventions?
  2. How did Biden win the Democratic nomination for president?

B. Focus questions:

  1. What ideas for the future of the country do you think Biden seems to be promoting?
  2. How is Biden positioning himself personally as the
  3. How does Biden contrast himself with his opponent, President Donald Trump?

C. Media literacy: If you could choose one short (under three minute) section of Biden’s speech to stand in for the entire speech, which part would you choose? Why?

  • How do you think media outlets make their decisions about which sections of long speeches to highlight?

Extension activity: The final night of the convention began with a performance of the song “Glory” by John Legend and Common. Have students watch the performance and then answer the following questions. You can read the lyrics here

  1. What would you describe is the message of the song?
  2. What are some lines or lyrics that you noticed?
  3. Why do you think this song was chosen as part of the nominating convention?

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