By and large, I agree with the assessment here: Analysis: Hits and misses from Monday at the Democratic National Convention – CNNPolitics. 

My own takes:

  • Michelle Obama’s speech was excellent in content and delivery. One change I would have made was to use the cutaway angle more and have her turn to that camera. As was, it felt like obvious breaks in the flow for editing purposes. That said, she rocked it. 
  • The daughter of the Arizona man who died had a great, memorable line: “His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life.” It’s not entirely true—he was clearly obese, which is a comorbidity factor—but what a line.
  • I enjoyed seeing a lot of the former 2020 candidates praise Biden—I thought Cory Booker and Andrew Yang were particularly moving. I noted the absence of Elizabeth Warren, though I suppose she’s already scheduled to speak on another night.
  • Republican John Kasich looked dopey standing at actual crossroads to begin his otherwise fine “crossroads” speech. Having other Republicans, both politicians and ordinary citizens, talk about the need to have anyone other than Trump was a decent attempt to sway any centrists who might have tuned in. 
  • Bernie Sanders gave what felt like a fair amount of his stump speech, but was clear enough that Trump has to be defeated that any true Sanders supporters should be onboard the Biden bandwagon, if with absent enthusiasm. 
  • The music of the evening was a real hit-or-miss affair for me. Springsteen’s The Rising was brilliant. I enjoyed the kids singing the national anthem, and a rarely enjoy kids singing anything. I thought Maggie Rogers performance was flat and that her song may have been much better than the singer herself. I quite enjoyed the version of For What It’s Worth that helped close proceedings, though the video was about as amateurish a thing as I could imagine. 
  • The roundtables hosted by Megan Rapinoe and Joe Biden were awkward. I don’t enjoy awkwardness.
  • The post-speech applause bits showing, presumably, conventioneers in their hotel rooms clapping didn’t work at all. Would scrap that completely for subsequent nights.