April 14, 2014

The Pew Research Center has an amazing new report about America's shifting demographics that shows how the country is getting older, less white, and more liberal. The entire report is worth your time, and it includes some beautiful animated visualizations to put the demographic changes in context.

For instance, one such visualization shows the dreaded age distribution phenomenon that's projected to occur over the coming decades as Baby Boomers become the oldest generation. When charted with the oldest folks up top and the youngest people at the bottom, societies tend to have age distributions shaped like pyramids, like so:

But all those births a couple of generations ago threw the pyramid out of whack, which will have a lasting, noticeable impact. Here's a handy gif Pew made showing that problem playing out over a century:

It's a neat look at why some politicians are terrified about what will happen to the nation's social welfare system once a skinnier base of workers has to support that weightier pool of elderly retirees. Really, go check out the whole report. There's plenty of mesmerizing visuals and interesting information and, yes, more gifs. Jon Terbush

9:15 p.m. ET

A lot has changed since 2012 — four years after he ran against President Obama, Mitt Romney received cheers at the Democratic National Convention.

Romney appeared in a video that featured prominent Republicans and conservatives commenting on their opposition to Trump. He wasn't the only one to get applause — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and former New York Gov. George Pataki were also well-received. After the video played, John Hutson, a retired rear admiral and former judge advocate general, came onstage, and announced, "Unlike Donald Trump, there are two things that I know an awful lot about: Law and order." He called Trump out for "endorsing torture at a minimum" and inviting Russia to hack a U.S. entity. "It's embarrassing enough that he's the face of one of our political parties," Hutson said. "The real disaster would be if we let Donald Trump become the face of the country we love."

Hutson urged people to listen to the more than 120 Republican national security leaders who have warned that Trump would "make America less safe," and brought up Trump's comments on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "I served in the same Navy as John McCain," he said. "I used to vote in the same party as John McCain. Donald, you're not fit to polish John McCain's boots." The room erupted in more unlikely cheers, this time not for McCain the Republican, but McCain the war hero. Catherine Garcia

8:30 p.m. ET

"I don't want to be here tonight. I should not be here tonight," said Erica Smegielski, the daughter of the principal who died protecting her students in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, as she stood before the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night. "I'm here alone without my mother."

In an emotional speech calling for gun control, Smegielski reminisced about her mother Dawn and urged America to elect "another mother who is willing to do what's right." "I am here alone without my mother, while too many politicians cower behind the gun lobby," Smegielski said.

Smegielski was one of several speakers Wednesday urging action on gun control, including survivors and relatives of those killed at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Becca Stanek

8:20 p.m. ET
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) takes climate change seriously, and slammed Donald Trump for not doing the same.

"Make no mistake: Climate change is real," Brown said. "The vast majority of world leaders and climate scientists like those at NASA and the Department of Defense, indeed almost anyone who chooses to think believes in the crisis of climate change and sees the moral imperative to take action." Listening to Trump talk at the Republican National Convention last week for "76 long and painful minutes," Brown said he heard Trump "conjure up a host of dark threats but never once mentioned the words 'climate change' or 'global warming.'"

Brown called climate change "unlike any other threat we humans face," and said it "will take heroic effort on the part of many people and many nations" to combat it. "Trump says global warming is a hoax," Brown said. "I say Trump is a fraud. Trump says there's no drought in California. I say Trump lies. It's not surprising that Trump chose as his running mate a man who denies there's such a thing as evolution." As president, Hillary Clinton will continue the work she did to fight climate change as secretary of state, Brown said, and will usher in a "clean energy revolution." This year is like no other, Brown added, since "rarely in American history have two parties diverged so profoundly. Even the know-nothing, anti-immigration party of the 1850s did not stray this far into sheer ignorance and dark fantasy as have the Republicans and their leader, Donald Trump." Catherine Garcia

7:48 p.m. ET
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At the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) shared some wisdom from the playground: "Bullies are really just cowards in disguise." That knowledge, the one-time Democratic presidential candidate said, can also come in handy during the 2016 election, which is being dominated by Donald Trump's messages of fear and anger. "I say, to hell with Trump's American nightmare," O'Malley said. "We believe in the American dream."

The choice, O'Malley said, essentially comes down to Hillary Clinton — who he called "as tough as they come" — versus an "immigrant-bashing carnival barker." "Put a bully racist in his place, a tough women in hers: the White House," O'Malley said.

Watch a snippet of the speech, below. Becca Stanek

7:24 p.m. ET
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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) let Donald Trump and the Republican Party have it Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention.

"When Trump decided to run for president, he probably said to himself, 'I'm an egomaniac, I don't believe in science, I believe women are inferior. Where would I feel at home?'" Reid said. "You know where that is." He went on to call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)'s actions "craven" and said the only thing the GOP has accomplished is "setting the stage for a hateful con man, Donald Trump." Parents should be rightfully concerned about their children listening to the words coming out of Trump's mouth, Reid added, and "Republicans, you should have been careful also, because Donald Trump learned it from watching you. They say they believe in country first; what a joke."

The Republicans who refuse to stand up to Trump "believe in one thing and one thing only: party first," Reid said. "And this year, 2016, they've gone even further, nominating the poster child of 'Me first.' Trump knew that hateful rhetoric and dangerous policies are the way to win in today's GOP, but that's not how you win in America and that's not how America wins in the world." Reid then went on to plug his own party. Catherine Garcia

6:41 p.m. ET
John Moore/Getty Images

The Democratic National Convention is handing the microphone over to Republicans on Wednesday night. A damning video of conservatives declaring their party's presidential nominee Donald Trump unfit to lead the country is set to play in primetime on the big screen.

The video contrasts past Republican leaders' wisdom on what makes a true leader with worries from present-day GOPers over what a Trump presidency would mean for America. Some Republicans go so far as to suggest handing the nuclear code over to a man with the "temperament" of Trump would lead America into World War III.

Republicans including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) make appearances.

Check out the video, below. Becca Stanek

6:41 p.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Rev. Jesse Jackson called for an assault rifle ban and end to the shootings of "young black men" during his speech Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention, adding that Hillary Clinton "understands the historic dimensions of the agony, hope, and promise of Black Lives Matter."

The civil rights leader also took a moment to congratulate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for "energizing this campaign season," and told supporters that "the Bern must never grow cold." Jackson shared that he met Clinton years ago in Arkansas, and has watched her work tirelessly for children and the poor for decades. "There is a tug of war for America's soul," he said. "We have a clear choice, to take down the walls of separation and build bridges of hope and build unity." Love must "trump ignorance," Jackson said, and overcome "fear and hatred and violence." At the end of his speech, Jackson led the audience in a chant of "It's healing time, it's hope time, it's Hillary time." Catherine Garcia

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