The biggest names fighting for the 2020 Democratic nomination took to the stage at the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire at the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention on Saturday, Sept. 7.  

Thousands of people waited in line to gain entry to the venue, each impassioned supporter holding out hope that their candidate could become the next President of the United States.   

Speaking first, Joe Biden referred to the 2020 election as “a battle for the soul of this nation,” a comment that gained generous applause from his present fanbase. The former vice president remarked on key points of his platform and, commenting on the state of affairs, implored his audience to “lead by power of example, as [they] always have.” 

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. passionately spoke of unifying the American people by making change, and how the people are “capable of extraordinary things.” He made sure to connect with the crowd and explain how as president, he would focus on making changes in regards to the biggest issues the country is facing now. 

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) began his speech in the press room by explaining the largest Democratic pitfall of the last election: low voter turnout. 

“We have an urgency that young people get, and [their] activism is incredible,” he said when asked about his plan to encourage more college-age voters to take part. “I think we have a candidate that can resonate with that spirit, that youth, and that energy, and I believe that we are going to be incredibly fine with young Americans.” 

In an effort to lighten up the mood, Kamala Harris addressed President Trump’s tweeting habits, but also spoke on the strength of the American people and how there is “more in common than what separates us.” 

Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, TX, meanwhile, began his speech speaking of his love for the state of New Hampshire. He relayed his desire to embrace the changing culture in the aftermath of the 2016 election and focusing on progress in all aspects of the issues the American people are facing today like gun control, Medicare and climate change.  

Later that day, the former Senate contender attended an Indonesian Festival in Somersworth and led a town hall at the University of New Hampshire. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) garnered roars of applause as he took to the stage on Saturday, audible truth of his popularity as also shown in polls measuring support among younger voters. As a candidate, he proposed student loan forgiveness, a $15 minimum wage and “a government and economy that works for all of us” should he win. Many minutes went by following the speech before the crowd eventually quieted down and allowed Sanders to exit. 

The welcome Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) received, meanwhile, was deafening. Onstage, she vowed to connect with the people and promote the interests of all Americans and not just “the one percent.”  

Lower polling candidates such as Tom Steyer, Julian Castro and Mayor Pete Buttigieg stressed how they were not worried or paid little attention to current polls, insisting that over time, the numbers would shift to their favor.  

With such an important election on the horizon, alongside New Hampshire’s dubious history as a swing state, it is no doubt this will be just one of many visits to the arena the candidates will endure amid their long and treacherous road to the presidency, fighting for what their vision of the 2020s.