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World News

Factbox: Who is speaking at the Democratic National Convention - and why

(Reuters) - This week’s Democratic National Convention will feature a lineup of heavyweight politicians, rising stars and everyday Americans making the case for why Joe Biden should be elected U.S. president on Nov. 3.

Here is a look at the speakers who will be featured during four nights of virtual programming kicking off on Monday.

SHOW OF UNITY

The first night of programming represents an effort to show the country’s full ideological spectrum uniting behind Biden.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a liberal who fought the centrist Biden for the Democratic nomination, and two-time Republican former presidential candidate John Kasich will tell voters why they both support Biden over Republican President Donald Trump.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a leading progressive who vexes conservatives and represents a younger generation of voters often at odds with Biden’s positions, will speak at the convention on Tuesday.

In addition to Sanders, the convention is expected to feature several more of Biden’s former rivals in the Democratic primary, including former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and billionaire former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg.

WOMEN FOR BIDEN

Senator Kamala Harris of California, chosen last week to be Biden’s running mate, will accept the party’s vice presidential nomination on Wednesday.

Several other women Biden considered for his No. 2 also will speak at the convention, including senators Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Catherine Cortez Masto, who were on the running mate list until they withdrew their names, will also speak.

Biden’s wife, Jill, is set to address the convention on Tuesday.

EVERYDAY AMERICANS

The convention also will highlight Americans who represent values the party hopes to project.

According to the national party, several of the speakers have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the ensuing economic fallout and racial injustice.

They include a Florida immigrant who is working as a paramedic during the pandemic and a Pennsylvania farmer who voted for Trump but now supports Biden.

‘RISING STARS’

In its keynote address on Tuesday, the party will highlight 17 of its “rising stars,” instead of reserving the spot for one person.

The list includes onetime vice presidential hopeful Stacey Abrams; Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez; Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela, who helped engineer Biden’s second-place finish in that closely contested state’s Democratic caucus; and Representative Conor Lamb, the Pennsylvania politician who won a “swing” district and helped Democrats seize control of the House of Representatives in 2018.

Former President Barack Obama’s 2004 keynote speech about overcoming partisan division introduced Americans to the then-Illinois state senator. He became the party’s presidential nominee, with Biden as his running mate, four years later.

HEAVY HITTERS

Barack Obama will have a high-profile speaking role on Wednesday. Former first lady Michelle Obama, who has not yet taken an active role in Biden’s campaign, will headline on Monday.

She will be followed by former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 nominee, on Wednesday.

Among the other top Democrats being featured are New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and California Governor Gavin Newsom, who both gained prominence during the pandemic, as well as House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a frequent adversary of Trump.

The final night will showcase Biden himself, as he accepts the party’s nomination in a speech traditionally viewed as the starting gun to the final sprint toward the election. Biden will address the country from his home state of Delaware, after the party canceled in-person convention festivities in Milwaukee over concerns about infection risk.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski

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