LEILA FADEL, HOST:
Kamala Harris takes center stage tonight. The all-virtual Democratic National Convention continues this evening. The California senator will accept the party's vice presidential nomination. Also set to speak tonight - former President Barack Obama, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. NPR political correspondent Asma Khalid joins us now from Delaware with a preview of the evening. Hey, Asma.
ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: Hi there.
FADEL: So one criticism from some younger voters is that the convention's first two nights have featured a number of older party stalwarts and fewer younger voices. Tell us about that.
KHALID: Yeah. And, Leila, last night was a good example. You know, there was this 17-person keynote address that featured up-and-coming rising stars in the party, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, representative from New York, also spoke briefly. But the roster was largely many of the older folks within the party, and it seemed to suggest to some of the younger voters I've heard that there was a lot of nostalgia for what the old Democratic Party used to be. You know, you heard from Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, John Kerry, Colin Powell - who was actually a former Republican secretary of state.
And then there was this video that celebrated the relationship that the Bidens have had with the late Republican Sen. John McCain.
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TED KAUFMAN: They'd be going at it on the floor, and you'd think, oh, these guys must really, really, really dislike each other. And they'd be having dinner that night together.
KHALID: And, Leila, that's not exactly - that vision of bipartisanship isn't exactly what some younger Democrats see when they look at the current Republican Party. But looking at tonight's lineup, there are some issues highlighted that really do matter to younger folks, especially gun control and climate change. The party's going to hear from Emma Gonzalez. She's a survivor of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and is now a vocal gun control activist. And there'll also be a panel conversation with a group of young climate activists.
FADEL: So we've got those issues. But, tonight, women are being highlighted. What's - why's that?
KHALID: Well, this week marks 100 years since the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote, and so we're going to see that reflected in some of the programming. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren will speak. And, you know, as you mentioned, Hillary Clinton - who famously talked about shattering that highest glass ceiling, when she lost to President Trump - she's also going to speak. And then, of course, there's Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's newly announced running mate. And it's worth pointing out that for all the focus on the racial diversity she brings to the ticket, that there is also a sense of gender diversity that she'll bring to the ticket and that women, as a whole, are a crucial voting bloc for the Democratic Party, and they need to ensure that women voters turn up on Election Day.
FADEL: So this is Harris' biggest stage. What are you expecting to hear from her tonight?
KHALID: Leila, a campaign aid said that you can expect to hear Senator Harris talk about her own life, her personal story, and how that might resonate with other Americans. So we’ll hear more, you know, perhaps, about her own personal biography, which is an unprecedented story in American politics. You know, she is the country’s first woman of color on a major party ticket. She’s the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India. Senator Harris also intends to lay out a vision for a more inclusive America and make the case for electing Joe Biden. You know, this is one of the primary responsibilities of a running mate, is to prosecute the case. And Senator Harris gave us a preview of what she might do in that regard last week, when she was first rolled out as Joe Biden’s running mate.
FADEL: So former President Obama is set to deliver remarks right before Harris. What might we expect from him, and how does it indicate his role in the party now?
KHALID: You know, Leila, I think he's one of the most interesting people we're going to hear from in the convention because he is one of Joe Biden's most effective surrogates, and some folks within the party see him as the possible bridge between Joe Biden and some of these younger disaffected voters. He can also obviously speak to the working relationship that they had in the White House and, specifically, Joe Biden's role in the economic recovery during the Great Recession.
FADEL: NPR political correspondent Asma Khalid. Thanks, Asma. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.