We're checking in with Charleston County Democratic Party Chairman Brady Quirk-Garvan throughout the week as he's in Philadelphia for the DNC.
The second day of the Democratic National Convention was certainly historic — we officially we became the first major party to nominate a female as their nominee for President of the United States.
As we made our way into the convention hall there was a lot of discussion about the historic nature of what we were doing. As I talked to some of the Bernie delegates, they remained happy of the campaign that had been run, but were also happy to be in the hall and understood the magnitude of what was about to happen.
As they went through the roll call (where each state officially casts their votes) the room was electric. As soon as the camera panned to the South Carolina delegation we all felt our phones explode with text messages and emails from people back home watching on TV. It was a nice reminder that what we were doing in the hall has repercussions outside as well.
As for the speakers, it was a jam-packed night. Actress Elizabeth Banks was a crowd favorite and worked as an MC for part of the evening introducing people and keeping some continuity throughout the program.
The most moving part of the evening was "Mothers of the Movement" which featured mothers whose children have been killed by police violence such as Trayvon Martin. There was not a dry eye in the arena, and the sadness they expressed combined with their determination to make sure that other mothers don't have to join their group was strongly felt.
To close out the evening we heard from the one and only, President Bill Clinton. To the Democratic faithful in the audience, he stands as an icon who was able to move our country forward during his presidency. He's known as a good orator and storyteller, and he did not disappoint. Speaking more as the spouse of Hillary Clinton as opposed to the former president, he spoke about their relationship. It was very well received and I feel like the speech accomplished its goal of trying to explain more about Hillary Clinton’s personality as opposed to specific policy issues.
The third day of the convention was filled with more big-name Democrats who kept most of us on our feet for the entire evening.
Early on in the program we heard from two of the survivors of the Mother Emanuel AME shooting in Charleston. It's hard to explain how emotional it was to see those brave women stand before a huge coliseum of people and deliver their message of hope and perseverance. Everyone in our section stood with pictures of Gil Shuler's palmetto tree/dove design in a sign of solidarity.
Around 7 p.m. the energy really began to build in the Wells Fargo Arena. There crowd of people trying to get in and down on the floor (where the delegates sit) was astonishing. Eventually the security and safety folks had to clear the aisles as so many people wanted to be close to the stage.
As you may have seen, as vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine spoke, he was able to move easily from English to Spanish. Many in the arena had heard Kaine before, but the people I spoke with felt he rose to the occasion and delivered an impressive speech.
For the main portion of the night, we heard from Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. As someone who spent six months working for the President’s campaign in 2008, it was particularly moving to see him address the convention and be so direct in his plea to elect Hillary Clinton. Given the very bitter and intense primary process in 2008, it was all the more impressive to me and those in the room to see him pass the baton to Hillary.
Given the large number of people who get Secret Service protection who spoke on Wednesday night, it took a long time for everyone to clear out of the arena and get back outside of the security zone. However, unlike the first night, no one seemed to mind waiting in line. For all the talk about division within our party, I can say that everyone who was in that room was on their feet for the entire speech and took Obama's words to heart.
There are really two main goals of a convention. First, to introduce the nominees and party to America watching on TV. Second, to get the delegates and volunteers at the convention excited to go back to their state and prepare for the next three and a half months of campaigning. While I can’t speak to the first goal, I can say quite clearly that everyone in the arena was filled with energy and is ready to go knock on doors and make lots of phone calls. So for the second goal, I can honestly say it was a huge success.
Brady Quirk-Garvan is the Chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party. He is pledged delegate for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Committee Convention in Philadelphia. He can be reached at @bradyqg or BradyQG.com.