One Night in Boston: The Ramifications of the 2004 Democratic National Convention. One of the major surprises in the lead up to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston was that the keynote speaker happened to come down to two candidates. One was Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee to represent Illinois in the Senate. Obama had just won the primary by scoring 45% percent of the vote, and there were high expectations for him in the upcoming race. He would be speaking at the convention, but not as the keynote. That decision was because the party wanted to avoid tempering expectations. The speaker was instead Jennifer Granholm, the Governor of Michigan. Granholm had been popular in her state, and was the type of politician that indicated that a Democrat could win in the Midwest. The Kerry campaign wanted to focus on those Midwestern voters, and felt that although Obama was someone to keep an eye on, it would make more sense to have Granholm articulate the party vision. Obama was a rising star, and some have argued that he would have gotten the keynote address had he performed better in the primary. That will never be known for sure. What we do know is that Granholm articulated a vision of the party that was based on reviving the urban areas of the country as she had done in Michigan. She encouraged the attendees to do their best to elect Kerry in order to make sure that the concerns of the every day people would be paramount. In the years since 2004, commentators and historians have argued if Obama getting the keynote address would have been an important point considering what happened in the next couple of election cycles. Granholm was a popular governor in Michigan, and she certainly was someone who was a smart choice. Obama is one of those political figures on which much has been written and it’s hard to get much of a consensus. What we do know is that this moment was something that only grew in importance after the years rolled by, and historians have used this decision to hammer Kerry ever since. Author’s Note: Hello, and welcome to a timeline. The point of divergence is that then State Senator Obama does not get chosen to give the keynote at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Obama is one of the most consequential presidents in our lifetime, and his speech in 2004 was the moment that he never looked back to making history. This timeline is an attempt to humbly ask what happened if he did not get that moment?