Democrats from Maine to Guam, assembled virtually for their convention Tuesday night, spoke of a nation that has lost lives, jobs, fairness and friends because of President Trump’s leadership.

But at core they were talking about a nation that has lost its soul.

“We are in a battle for the soul of our nation,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried began in a “keynote” montage of elected officials from around the country.

“We need a president who will restore the soul of America,” said Sally Yates, fired as acting attorney general by Trump because she refused to implement what she called his “Muslim travel ban.”

Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said from New York harbor that his party would “win this battle for the soul of our nation.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) slammed President Trump during his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 18. (The Washington Post)

Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father, stood in Charlottesville, scene of the white-supremacist violence Trump infamously excused, and said of Joe Biden: "My wife and I have come to know his soul.”

A young Naval Academy graduate and former Marine Corps officer, DeMarcus Gilliard, told the convention that “there is nothing more important for me right now than making sure that we restore the soul of our nation.”

Colin Powell, the Republican former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, exclaimed from Washington: “What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul.”

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And Jill Biden closed the night by saying that kindness and courage are “the soul of America Joe Biden is fighting for now.”

Of course, Democrats didn’t have to convince anybody that the heart and soul of our republic are on the ballot in November. Trump had already done it for them, earlier Tuesday, when he once again reminded the country that he has little regard for democracy itself.

“It’ll end up being a rigged election,” he said from the White House, continuing his baseless campaign to discredit mail-in balloting during the pandemic. “Or they will never come out with an outcome. They’ll have to do it again.”

A do-over! Trump supposes the election is like his golf game: If he shanks one into the woods, he simply takes a mulligan and hits a new ball.

Even as Trump was floating an election redo on Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a bipartisan report concluding that Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked closely with a Russian intelligence officer suspected of involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails — the very definition of the “collusion” Trump has denied.

This follows Trump’s talk of postponing the Nov. 3 election, his refusal to commit to accepting the results of the election, his attempts to defund and to sabotage the U.S. Postal Service to compromise its ability to process mail-in ballots, his campaign’s attempts to get Kanye West on the ballot in key states and his use of federal police to suppress protests by his opponents.

Trump’s disgraces are so numerous that they are hard to keep track of but so odious that we must. In this sense, the Democrats’ pandemic-era virtual convention, though not attracting the attention of brick-and-mortar conventions of the past, has served the country well. It has woven together scores of ordinary Americans and public officials, delegates beaming in from Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, an Iowa cornfield and Joe Biden’s boyhood home in Scranton, Pa., and cameos by the likes of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Interspersed were the party’s eminences grises — even 95-year-old Jimmy and 93-year-old Rosalynn Carter had a moment — with some choice words about the current president.

“We have just 4 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s covid cases,” a raspy and wrinkled Bill Clinton proclaimed. “We are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple. At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. ... If you want a president who defines the job as spending hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media, he’s your man." (Trump responded with a tweet in real time, falsely claiming the virus cases were merely a reflection of widespread testing.)

The 2004 Democratic nominee, former secretary of state John Kerry, was also lacerating: “Donald Trump inherited a growing economy and a more peaceful world, and like everything else he inherited, he bankrupted it. When this president goes overseas, it isn’t a goodwill mission, it is a blooper reel. He breaks up with our allies and writes love letters to dictators.”

The production was slick, and at times cheesy — particularly whenever Biden cut in for a “candid” moment. Far better was the Democrats’ full-throated embrace of American values, something Republicans thought they owned before Trump’s reign of selfishness, vulgarity and disregard for democratic norms. Stacey Abrams spoke of Biden as a leader who would “restore our moral compass.” Powell, long America’s most celebrated soldier, said “Biden will be a president we will all be proud to salute,” one who “will trust our diplomats and our intelligence community, not the flattery of dictators and despots” and one who “will restore America’s leadership and our moral authority.”

If American democracy still has a pulse, the voters will join the old soldier’s battle for our national soul.

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