Election Live Updates: Cuomo speaks on opening night of the DNC

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The Democratic Party will convene mostly virtually amid a pandemic that has upended the usual pomp-and-circumstance of presidential nominating conventions.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez will be in Milwaukee, which he'd chosen as the 2020 convention host city. But presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, won't be. Nor will the 57 state and territorial delegations, party activists and media hordes that would have filled a downtown arena to see Biden and Harris nominated to take on President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in November.

Instead, Democrats will put on essentially an all-virtual convention, broadcasting two hours of prime-time programming, much of it pre-taped, Monday through Thursday. No crowds. No hullabaloo. And no balloons.

The first night of the convention will include speeches from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former First Lady Michelle Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders to name a few.

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Gov. Cuomo speaks on COVID
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke about the coronavirus pandemic during opening night of the DNC. He said that he believes Joe Biden can restore the soul of America, which he says is what our country needs.
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks on the first night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Monday, Aug. 17.



Michelle Obama speaks out against Trump
Michelle Obama is warning that things could get worse under a second Donald Trump presidency, saying people should vote like their lives depend on it.

Mrs. Obama gave a passionate speech on the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday and addressed Trump directly.

GOP for Biden
Several Republicans spoke at the Democratic National Convention Monday night to speak out against President Donald Trump in a show of bipartisanship rarely seen in party conventions.

Republican John Kasich says it's time to "take off our partisan hats and put our nation first."

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and former Rep Susan Molinari, R-NY, and business executive Meg Whitman were also high-profile Republicans who backed Biden Monday.
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Former U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari, a Republican who represented Staten Island, speaks at the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Monday, August 17.



Eric Garner's mom speaks at DNC
Vice President Biden engaged with social justice activist Jamira Burley, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, and author Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, about how America can move forward toward equality, fairness, and justice for all.
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Joe Biden speaks with Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, about how America can move forward toward equality and justice for all.



Local teen speaks at DNC
The teen founder of #1000blackgirlbooks, Marley Dias, who is from West Orange, New Jersey, spoke during the first opening moments of the DNC.

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Marley Dias of the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign appears at the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Monday, Aug. 17.



James Clyburn, highest-ranking Black lawmaker in Congress, brings civil rights legacy to DNC
James Clyburn is now the highest-ranking Black lawmaker in Congress, the House Democratic whip, and with so many of his contemporaries gone, one of the few leaders of the civil rights movement still in elective office today.

He is bringing that connection to the Democratic National Convention on Monday, speaking to a country in a new, contentious chapter in its pursuit of racial justice and to a party on the verge of nominating the first Black woman for vice president.

Democratic Party chair wants to end presidential caucuses
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said Monday that the handful of 2020 presidential caucuses should be the last the party ever holds.

He didn't specifically name Iowa, which for decades has led off the nominating calendar, but his position would represent a seismic shift in the party's traditions.

Sanders to urge progressives, GOP to back Biden in DNC speech
Bernie Sanders is in a familiar position: runner-up. But as Democrats gather virtually to formally select Joe Biden as their presidential nominee, the Vermont senator is perhaps at the height of his power, despite twice losing his White House bid.

Sanders, who is speaking at the Democratic National Convention later Monday, was the last primary challenger standing against Biden. He retains the party's largest cohesive constituency in a progressive base unwavering in its support. And his signature ideas on single-payer health care, tuition-free college and remaking the economy to combat climate change are now part of the mainstream debate.

POLL: Election advantage stays with Biden; enthusiasm deficit eases, but remains
As the virtual Democratic National Convention opens, Biden holds a 12 percentage-point lead over Trump among registered voters, 53-41%, and a similar 10 points among likely voters, 54-44%, in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Michelle Obama headlines DNC opening night
Polls suggest the former first lady is even more popular than her broadly popular husband, who will speak Wednesday night. She managed that, in part, by steering clear of the most obvious fault lines in politics. Remember her speech in Philadelphia four years ago. "When they go low, we go high," she said, without even mentioning the caustic Republican nominee who years before had helped drive the lie that Barack Obama wasn't constitutionally eligible to serve as president.

Days before the convention's opening gavel, Trump recycled the same tactic against Harris, a daughter of immigrants who is the first Black woman on a major party's presidential ticket and is also of Asian descent. In her case, Trump said he didn't know if she was eligible but wasn't pursuing the matter. Michelle Obama is uniquely positioned to talk about Democratic ticket. She knows Biden and his wife, Jill, as genuine friends from Biden's eight years as vice president. The Obamas also know Harris well, and Michelle Obama almost certainly will speak in personal terms about what it means to see a woman of color nominated for national office.

Monday's lineup of speakers:
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.
Convention chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich
Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis.

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Former first lady Michelle Obama

RELATED: More to know about the Democratic National Convention

Concerns mount over U.S. Postal Service
The Postal Service said it has stopped removing mailboxes and mail-sorting machines amid an outcry from lawmakers. President Donald Trump flatly denied he was asking for the mail to be delayed even has he leveled fresh criticism on universal ballots and mail-in voting. "Wouldn't do that," Trump told reporters Monday at the White House. "I have encouraged everybody: Speed up the mail, not slow the mail." Embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will testify next Monday before Congress, House Democrats said. Democrats and some Republicans say actions by the new postmaster general, a Trump ally and a major Republican donor, have endangered millions of Americans who rely on the Postal Service to obtain prescription drugs and other needs, including an expected surge in mail-in voting this fall.

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