Andrew Sullivan Liveblogs the DNC, Night 3

The stage of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Welcome, I guess, to my New York live-blog of the two conventions of 2016. Settle in, calm your nerves (mine will be frayed enough for all of us), have a drink (or a joint), and enjoy!

If you want to send me your thoughts as the events proceed, email me at (if you’re a recovering dishhead, you can also always use the old email address). Please refresh to update.

11:52 p.m. Amen:

11:41 p.m. It’s been a long and entirely unexpected journey with this extraordinary figure. I’ve doubted and panicked, I’ve hyper-ventilated and wept, I’ve worried and persevered. We did a lot of that together, you and me. But I have one thing to say: he never let us down. He kept his cool, he kept his eyes on the prize, he never embarrassed and almost always lifted us up. He is a living, walking example of American exceptionalism, of why this amazing country can still keep surprising the world.

Readers know how I feel about the Clintons. But this is not about them or me. It’s about an idea of America that is under siege and under attack from a foul, divisive, dangerous demagogue. If you backed Obama, there is no choice in this election but Clinton. This is not a election to seek refuge in a third party or to preen in purist disdain from the messy, often unsatisfying duties of politics. It is an election to keep the America that Obama has helped bring into being, and the core democratic values that have defined this experiment from the very beginning: self-government, not rule by a strongman; pluralism and compassion rather than nativism and fear; an open embrace of the world, and not a terrified flight from it.

But you know what Obama gave us tonight? He gave some of us hope. Again. That’s what he does. And we will never see his like again.

11:40 p.m. “America, you have vindicated that hope.”

11:35 p.m. A defense of civility and honesty and decency and hard work. As his grandparents taught him. Defining America not by what we fear but what we have in common. This is a master-class in summoning a country to believe in itself again.

11:31 p.m. He’s got this. One more time.

11:29 p.m. America is not about “Yes, he will” but “Yes, we can.” Democracy over tyranny.

11:27 p.m. The arc of history is long:

Well, you gave it all away to a thug.

11:25 p.m. This is essentially a defense of democracy against tyranny. Which is the choice in this election.

11:23 p.m. “We can honor the police and treat every family fairly.” His non-zero-sum argument is the same as it was in 2004.

11:20 p.m. “We don’t look to be ruled.” That‘s the core issue in this election: Trump’s attempt to redefine America from the country that created self-government to one that worships a strongman. Obama sees the real divide here.

11:17 p.m. He’s defending America … from Trump.

11:15 p.m. He’s making a key case to the struggling middle classes not to trust this buffoon who has only showed any interest in those less fortunate than himself when he wanted their votes.

11:13 p.m. Classic Obama line: “Don’t boo. Vote.”

11:11 p.m. “She never, never quits.” True that. Hitch used to say of the Clintons – with a snarl – that they are always the last person to leave a meeting. Contemplating Trump, I’m beginning to see that as a backhanded compliment.

11:06 p.m. It’s morning in America. He still has faith. People sometimes ask me how I could have been a Reagan fan and then a passionate Obama supporter. Well: just listen to this speech.

11:01 p.m. Can I just say that I always believed we could get marriage equality under this president. But to hear him list it as one of his proudest accomplishments brings a lump to my throat. We did it. But he was integral to bringing it home.

10:59 p.m. And the Dems now own optimism. This is truly the Democrats’ Reagan. Now can we elect his George H.W. Bush?

10:57 p.m. Four More Years!

10:54 p.m. I’ve never felt this way about a president, so I might as well admit it. Against hideously graceless opposition, in the face of extraordinary odds, facing immense crises, he stayed the course and changed this country. This election is, at its core, about not letting a bigot and a madman take that away from all of us.

10:52 p.m. From Philly:

10:50 p.m. POTUS is not going to speak till after 11 p.m. But this video is affecting. And it’s building.

10:47 p.m. A reader writes:

Kaine’s best line is saying that he trusts Clinton with the life of his son, a marine. Military families – and the terror of serving under Trump – need more attention in the campaign.

10:43 p.m. Two parents of service-members build to the commander-in-chief. It’s a poignant rebuke to the Benghazi exploitation. Have you noticed that the Dems have all but co-opted the Republicans’ usual ownership of national pride and military service?

10:40 p.m. A gold-star mom is a surprising but genius intro to the greatest president in my lifetime.

10:33 p.m. I like this emphasis on trust. Trump is an obvious con-artist and insecure liar. And it’s good to hear a Jesuit-educated nice guy pointing it out. Not a barn-burner; but the crowd was respectful, and warm. He made a sharp decision to reach out to the Bernie-supporters, disarming and almost co-opting them. Then he was home-free.

10:31 p.m. “Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.”

10:28 p.m. Heh:

10:25 p.m. Kaine seems a bit of a lightweight after so many heavy-hitters, but he’s an engaging and sympathetic figure. And now that he’s taking on Trump, he’s gaining traction. Great to hear him going after the tax returns scam.

10:21 p.m. Heh:

10:19 p.m. A nice embrace of Sanders to deflect the hard lefties from Cali.

10:18 p.m. Underwhelmed by Kaine tonight. But I guess it’s hard to present your own resumé and inspire people. Still:

10:12 p.m. Such a Catholic vibe tonight.

10:10 p.m. A winner:

10:00 p.m. Nice linkage between Tim Kaine’s Marine son and Donald Trump’s disparagement of NATO allies. The Dems really are playing the patriotism card against the Kremlin-friendly Republicans.

9:57 p.m. Will the far left try and sabotage Tim Kaine? That is the question 

9:49 p.m. A reader writes:

Wonder if you caught what I’ve been noticing: The keynote speeches here at the DNC contain some themes that the GOP used to have a monopoly on: Values, American greatness and exceptionalism, support for the military, etc. and we need to join together to save the country.

Meanwhile, Trump and his ilk have disparaged the military, want to expand torture, and repeat the line that the country is “going down the tubes,” and that only he can fix it. Almost overnight, the Republicans have embraced that which they abhorred in their opposition.

9:48 p.m. Yes!

9:45 p.m. I have a feeling that Bloomberg managed to move more actual undecided votes to Clinton than any other speaker so far. A brilliant move by the DNC.

9:43 p.m. This is a building theme from Biden to Bloomberg: refuse to surrender to fear. America never gives in to fear.

9:40 p.m. This is a crisp, smart and devastating analysis of the damage Trump would do to the economy. This election has to be about this choice: between a madman and a politician. “This is not reality television. This is reality.”

9:39 p.m. ‘Trump says he wants to run this country the way he runs his business? God help us. I’m a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.”

9:37 p.m. Bloomberg is speaking to people like me. He wants “a problem-solver not a bomb-thrower.” He knows business. Trump knows very little about business. This is effective beyond this hall.

9:36 p.m. Can’t resist:

9:31 p.m. A reader channels my fury:

You know what, I’ve had it up to my goddamned eyeballs with these petulant, perpetual college freshman booing and chanting. Tape all your damned mouths until you’re ready to use them for something useful.

I’m a lifelong solid Democrat. A stereotypical one even. Skeptical of patriotism and the greatness of America. I went into this convention very lukewarm on Hillary. I was voting for her, but primarily because when the choice is a neo-fascist or not a fascist, you choose not a fascist. That’s your damned duty as an American.

But after the last few days, watching these bozos push their whiny lips out and shout down and boo decent people who have worked for decades to make this country better, I’m 100% with her. I’m fully on board. And it was that petulant attitude of the Bernie diehards that did it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this patriotic. It’s my duty–all of our duties–to keep this fascist buffoon out of the Oval Office. And that the Bernie-or-busters and the craven GOP enablers of Trump can’t see that, or feel that, or understand that, makes me incensed. I will not let them pout or pander us into armbands. No fucking way.

9:28 p.m. I might add that I wanted Biden to be the nominee. I think he could have destroyed Trump in the debates. And I think he could have narrowed Trump’s advantage among white middle-class Americans. But, hey. It didn’t happen. And we now have a republic to save.

9:27 p.m. “We own the finish line!” I loved this speech – because it came from the gut of the America I know and love. It was triumphant and patriotic and feisty. And the choice could not be clearer:

9:26 p.m. Biden is on fire with a moral – yes a moral – repudiation of the un-American poison of Donald Trump.

9:23 p.m. Thank God Biden is able to take it straight to the fascist buffoon, to insist that this election really is about the soul of this country, and the survival of the West.

9:20 p.m. Joe rips into Trump. That’s a great point about someone famous for saying the words “You’re Fired!” He’s targeting Trump’s grip on the white working classes. Directly.

9:18 p.m. Biden finally conveys what economic insecurity means. And manages to connect Hillary to it.

9:14 p.m. That’s a lovely Hemingway line. And a paean to the “unbreakable spirit of the people of America.” How do you not love this guy?

9:11 p.m. Will the left nihilists let Tim Kaine speak?

9:10 p.m. Joe Time:

9:06 p.m. Another reader writes:

From what I’m reading on Twitter these leaked voicemails include those from children and family of DNC employees. This is fundamentally un-American and odious. Obviously Trump, Assange, and Putin are in league. I can hardly believe this is happening. Whoever can help keep pressure on the media to report exactly what this is must do so.

What is to stop any of our private and petty conversations from being exposed by Trump or Assange or Putin – fascists all? It is the lowest form of tactic to go after someone’s family. Every business and citizen in this country should be concerned.

Putting Trump in the presidency could expose all of us to the long arm of the Russian deep state. He knows no decency, no boundaries, no rules.

9:05 p.m. A reader writes:

For as good as the stagecraft has been at this convention so far, someone better be planning tonight to relocate the chairs of the California and any other Bernie Bros delegations to somewhere west of Bum Fuck Egypt. These assholes are likely to interrupt Clinton’s speech the whole time if not.

Agreed. They’ve gone from dissent to destructiveness.

9:02 p.m. Yes, the left heckled and tried to shout down a man defending the laws of war and the integrity of the military:

Some of the Bernie brigades want Trump. It would make them feel pure.

9:01 p.m. Heh:

8:59 p.m. They seem to be having a real problem with some of the California Bernie morons. Their nihilism is almost as complete as Julian Assange’s.

8:57 p.m. And the Democrats start chanting USA to shut down the far left disrupters. Yes, this is actually happening:

8:56 p.m. The hard left is objectively pro-Trump, isn’t it?

8:54 p.m. Panetta says what needs to be said. And the Bernie freaks are trying to drown him out.

8:52 p.m. Finally, a speaker arguing that only Clinton can defeat ISIS. “Donald Trump asks our troops to commit war crimes.” And it seems the Bernie bots are trying to disrupt the proceedings again. Two words: useful idiots.

8:51 p.m. The DNC is sounding like the old RNC. Panetta is the grown-up exposing the childish antics of a treasonous buffoon.

8:50 p.m. A great line:

8:48 p.m. The chanting was apparently from the usual Bernie bots in the California delegation – to demand someone be allowed in. Why would they care if they interrupt a vital part of the message tonight?

8:47 p.m. This Marine is telling it like it is. God bless her. Meanwhile, a reader writes:

Thanks for touching on the religious sentiments of so many of the convention speakers. Pew has found repeatedly that African-Americans are the most devoted religious racial group in the U.S., by a considerable margin. And yet, white evangelicals do not align themselves with this significantly godly group of people; infuriatingly, they align themselves with a moral nihilist who specifically targets their fellow Christians for scapegoating because of the color of their skin.

I’ve given up hope that any of Trump’s supporters will feel even an iota of shame for their behavior, but I’m glad to see these speakers’ deep and abiding faith put on clear display so that some light is shone on the hypocrisy.

8:44 p.m. I can’t tell you how glad I am they are taking on Trump’s endorsement of war crimes, mass murder of civilians and torture. Trump is a profound threat to the U.S. military, its laws, its discipline, its future.

8:43 p.m. The actual quote from the admiral: “I served in the same Navy as John McCain. I used to vote in the same party as John McCain. Donald, you’re not fit to polish John McCain’s boots.” Fanfuckingtastic.

8:41 p.m. Something is going on in the crowd – chants and heckles, though it’s not clear to me what’s going on.

8:39 p.m. A very welcome exposure of Trump’s embrace of war crimes as a national policy. And of Trump as a “walking, talking recruitment video for terrorists.” Now he’s putting the boot into Trump’s alliance with Putin.

8:38 p.m. Getting a former rear-admiral to tell Trump he isn’t fit to polish John McCain’s shoes is a nice touch. More please.

8:36 p.m. Brain-fart. I meant Julian Assange, not Edward Snowden, earlier. Apologies.

8:33 p.m. This DNC attack ad on Trump’s reckless foreign policy uses Reagan and many Republicans against him. More please. This core message – that Trump deeply threatens national security and global order.

8:30 p.m. Panetta is up next, and I hope will rip into Trump’s treason. Meanwhile, a reader writes:

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” — Ronald Reagan, 1987

“Mr. Putin, breach my opponent’s firewall.” — Donald Trump, 2016

Trump is the abolition of Reagan.

8:28 p.m. Of course they didn’t:

8:27 p.m. This Broadway chorus is such blatant pandering to the gays. I know of a few in Philly who are having a gaygasm right now.

8:24 p.m. Now Wikileaks dumps voicemails from the DNC – as Snowden Assange, in league with Putin, gets his revenge. Who would have thought that Donald Trump would have his most loyal supporter in Snowden Assange? Actually, strike that. It was entirely predictable.

8:22 p.m. Gabby Giffords: “Speaking is difficult for me. But come next January I want to say two words: ‘Madam President.’” If that doesn’t make Democrats stand up and cheer, what would?

8:19 p.m. The gun control section of this convention has been buttressed by its embrace of the police. And, of course, who doesn’t love Mr Astronaut?

8:13 p.m. When they write the history of these two conventions, a huge amount of time will be devoted to the grief of mothers. One convention used that grief to demonize an opponent; the other used it to highlight the issues of gun control and racial justice. What has struck me about this week has also been the overt Christianity that these mothers have expressed, their forgiveness of murderers, their endorsement of love. There has been a Christian subtext to the DNC utterly absent from the pagan cruelty and fear of Cleveland.

8:08 p.m. Good to know that I’m not the only person marinated in Catholic values who finds Trump a horrifying candidate:

Catholics who attend Mass weekly have increased their support for the Democratic nominee by 22 percentage points relative to 2012.

This isn’t a vote for Clinton so much as a clear understanding that Trump is the nemesis of any Christianity worthy of the name.

8:00 p.m. One of the enduring questions of this campaign has been what, if anything, could Donald Trump do or say to be rebuked by his own party. Today, it seems to me, we reached peak insanity – when an actual nominee of a major party called on a foreign government to use the fruits of its espionage to help defeat his opponent.

And this was not any foreign government. It was the government of Russia, a kleptocracy sustained by permanent war. Republicans once insinuated that Democrats were somehow soft on Moscow. And now we have the GOP nominee openly in league with the Russian dictator, brazenly saying he might not defend NATO allies from Russian aggression, suggesting he might recognize Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea, and bizarrely claiming that Putin had called president Obama the “n-word.”

One candidate in this election is unhinged, treasonous, contemptuous of American liberties, and at war with the core interests of the Western democracies. And an entire political party is refusing to call this out. They are cowards and quislings and pathetic appeasers. Their party deserves to be eviscerated in this election. If it isn’t, if their nominee wins, it will be America that will be eviscerated.

Andrew Sullivan Liveblogs the DNC, Night 3