Where will Julian Castro be this week? What about Katie Porter? Pramila Jayapal? Lauren Underwood? Anna Eskamani? Jennifer Carroll Foy? How about Wisconsin’s Lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes or Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman? Some of these people will be speaking to afternoon caucus meetings and doing small-potatoes participation that gives the DNC plausible deniability against accusations that they excluded them, but why the hell isn’t, for example, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley being put in front of a big national audience, perhaps as the Tuesday keynote speaker? She is one of the party’s best orators, a genuine rising star (albeit one who endorsed Elizabeth Warren over Biden, which I guess was determinative). If Abrams had been (correctly) given her own slot, and a full chance to bring her fight against suppression to the national audience, Pressley could have blown the roof off of whatever room she’d be speaking from, and the convention would have held a lot more promise–not just for entertainment, but for inspiration, vision and a view of a path forward–than it currently does.
Why will this convention not show off more of the historic number of women who enabled their party to retake the House in 2018? Most of them won’t be prominently featured, but former Ohio Republican governor John Kasich, who ran for governor as a Tea Partier and signed eleven laws (comprising 21 restrictions) on abortion, including a 20 week ban and the prohibition of rape crisis centers advising survivors about the option of abortion, will be. He also worked to rob Ohio’s public workers of the right to bargain collectively (voters later overturned this measure). Not only is Kasich getting a plum spot on Monday, he’s used his time in the Democratic sun to diss Ocasio-Cortez, telling Buzzfeed that just because she “gets outsized publicity doesn’t mean she represents the Democratic Party. She’s just a part, just some member of it.” So John Kasich, Republican, feels that Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat, gets outsized attention, even as he–along with his fellow Republicans Susan Molinari (Remember her? No? Weird) and former Hewlett-Packard and eBay CEO Meg Whitman–will get more featured airtime than she at her party’s convention.