Changes to the DNC lineup have Andrew Yang speaking and Michael Bloomberg's appearance uncertain.
After much controversy Yang will speak on the final night of convention, but Bloomberg is not listed on the DNC website.
The Democratic National Convention begins on Monday Aug. 17, but there have been multiple last-minute adjustments made to the speaker lineup.
The convention will celebrate the party nominating former vice president Joe Biden as their candidate to take on president Donald Trump in the general election.
Many of the Democratic Party’s most prominent figures are scheduled to speak to motivate different parts of the American electorate to vote for Biden and down ballot Democrats in November.
The event was set to take place in Milwaukee, WI this year but due to the ongoing pandemic, all party delegates will be voting virtually and the speakers will be delivering their remarks from home instead of on a stage in front of an audience of thousands.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama and former president Bill Clinton have pre-recorded their speeches to avoid dealing with any technical difficulties that could come with doing it live.
Senator Bernie Sanders, Biden’s main rival for the nomination, will be a headline speaker for the opening night along with Mrs. Obama and he will be given an eight minute slot.
He hopes to address the American people live from Burlington,Vt., but taped his speech in case any difficulties arise at the eleventh hour.
Senator Kamala Harris of California was originally supposed to speak on the last day, before the former vice president and his family.
This was changed after she was announced as Biden’s running mate last week and now she will address the convention on Wednesday’s final slot.
This freed up a spot on Thursday, which was filled by entrepreneur Andrew Yang, a 2020 presidential candidate that championed universal basic income.
But the switch did not come without controversy.
When the initial list was released last week of who would address the convention, Yang was not assigned as a keynote speaker and he showcased his disappointment on Twitter.
“I’ve got to be honest I kind of expected to speak,” he wrote.
I’ve got to be honest I kind of expected to speak.
— Andrew Yang(@AndrewYang) August 11, 2020
Congressman Ted Lieu, D-Calif., criticized the DNC for their decision.
“The gross underrepresentation of Asian American speakers in the four days of the DNC Convention is tone deaf and a slap in the face,” he said.
Dear @DNC: Asian Americans are the fastest increasing group in America, including in multiple swing states. The gross underrepresentation of Asian American speakers in the four days of the DNC Convention is tone deaf and a slap in the face. https://t.co/PkBRrVFUgO
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 11, 2020
Congressman Lieu failed to recognize that the Democrat’s vice presidential nominee is the daughter of an Indian immigrant and Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Army veteran whose mother is Thai Chinese, also has a keynote spot.
Straying from identity politics, Yang’s message and support are stronger reasons to highlight him at the convention.
The idea of a universal basic income has gained popularity at a time when millions of American have lost their jobs and are struggling to manage basic living expenses because of the effects of COVID-19.
A Hill-HarrisX poll from early August found that 55% of registered voters believe the government should implement a UBI program.
Yang’s plan to put $1,000 into American’s hands every month is consistent and would relieve millions from relying on Congress for economic assistance.
The first stimulus package in March worth $2 trillion was the largest relief package in history but $500 million of it went to bailing out corporations and the stimulus checks did not go to those who live in a mixed-status household.
A second stimulus has yet to be agreed upon four months after the first one was released.
The former presidential candidate suspected that his endorsement against several Democratic incumbents through his Humanity Forward non-profit could have been the main reason he was initially left out of the speaking list.
He endorsed many candidates that were open to the idea of UBI and other policies he ran on.
Yang, who was relatively unknown until his presidential run, also made it further than Senator Harris did in the Democratic primary.
Harris dropped out in December and did not even compete in the first two contests, unlike Yang.
An Emerson College poll from September actually had the entrepreneur from New York who had never run for office before beating Senator Harris in her home state of California.
If Yang was ultimately not allotted a time to speak, he would have been in a pre-recorded video that features all of the other Democratic candidates that competed with Biden for the nomination.
This is the case for the former Secretary Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, Julián Castro. He was the sole Hispanic candidate in the recent presidential primaries and will not be recognized for it.
Latinos will be represented by Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto of Nevada, Representative from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham.
Former Republican New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Thursday that he would be speaking at the DNC.
This November, America has the opportunity to turn the page on the last four years & invest in our future.
That starts at the @DemConvention when we nominate @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris.
I’m honored to be speaking at the DNC next week. I hope you’ll join us.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) August 13, 2020
The decision to give Bloomberg time at the event was met with anger from activists and those in the progressive wing of the party.
The former mayor spent nearly $1 billion dollars on his short-lived presidential campaign only to obtain 58 delegates. He made a late entry in November and represented moderate and conservative Democrats who lacked confidence in Biden’s abilities to capture the nomination.
Bloomberg also addressed the DNC in 2016, as a registered independent. His role was primarily to convince moderate Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton.
The DNC released an updated list of the speaking schedule and Bloomberg’s name is not there.
This could mean that the party listened to the backlash it was facing and decided to not include him, or that they have still not found a spot for him and will update the lists hours before the convention begins.