Former Vice President Joseph ‘Joe’ Biden officially became the Democratic Party’s candidate for president this week, receiving the nomination on Tuesday night after a string of speakers, led by former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Second Lady Jill Biden among dozens of other political stars and grassroots activists.
Wednesday’s line featured President Barack Obama and Vice Presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris.
The virtual convention, televised around the nation and world, echoed the Biden campaign slogan ‘Build Back Better.’ In order to protect people from the coronavirus, the DNC went ‘virtual’ with the convention, instead of meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as originally planned. Squares showing diverse people applauding in their living rooms and various places in states around the nation took the place of the live audience.
Surrounded by balloons, Biden accepted the nomination as Kool & The Gang’s ‘Celebration’ song blared in the background. He will deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, likely elaborating on his personal theme, ‘This is a Battle for the Soul of America.’
The Republican National Convention will follow on Monday, Aug. 24, through Thursday, starting in Charlotte, N.C., on the first day and then held remotely. President Trump and Vice President Pence, hoping to win a second term, will have their say, but not without the sting of the blistering Democratic speeches this week.
“So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” a poised Michelle Obama said in a pre-recorded speech Monday night. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.
“So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can—and they will if we don’t make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
Biden supporters are mostly stressing his ‘good guy’ image, stressing his reputation for decency and being relatable to common people. Video images during the convention showed him riding the train home everyday in order to be there for his young sons after his first wife and their daughter were killed in a car accident. They also referred to his pain and resiliency during and after the death of his adult son, Beau, who succumbed to a brain tumor in 2015.
Prospective First Lady Jill Biden was perhaps his best witness in this regard.
“Four days after Beau’s funeral, I watched Joe shave and put on his suit. I saw him steel himself in the mirror, take a breath, put his shoulders back, and walk out into a world empty of our son. He went back to work. That’s just who he is,” she said in her speech. “There are times when I couldn’t imagine how he did it—how he put one foot in front of the other and kept going. But I’ve always understood why he did it: For the daughter who convinces her mom to finally get a breast cancer screening and misses work to drive her to the clinic; for the community college student who has faced homelessness and survived abuse—but finds the grit to finish her degree and make a good life for her kids; for the little boy whose mom is serving as a marine in Iraq, who puts on a brave face in his video call, and doesn’t complain when the only thing he wants for his birthday is to be with her; for all those people Joe gives his personal phone number to at rope lines and events, the ones he talks to for hours after dinner, helping them smile through their loss, letting them know that they aren’t alone. He does it for you.
“Joe’s purpose has always driven him forward. His strength of will is unstoppable. And his faith is unshakable—because it’s not in politicians or political parties, or even himself. It’s in the providence of God. His faith is in you, in us.”
Among the most unusual aspects of the convention (other than it being held remotely) was the number of high profiled Republicans who spoke on Biden’s behalf.
“I support Joe Biden because on Day One he will restore America’s leadership and our moral authority,” said Powell, who served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bush and Democratic President Bill Clinton. “He’ll be a president who knows America is strongest when, as he has said, ‘we lead both by the power of our example and the example of our power.’ He will restore America’s leadership in the world and restore the alliances we need to address the dangers that threaten our nation, from climate change to nuclear proliferation.”
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a Republican and a former presidential candidate, weathered criticism from fellow Republicans for his open support of Biden.
“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country. That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times,” Kasich said in his speech. “Yes, there are areas where Joe and I absolutely disagree. But that’s okay, because that’s America. Because whatever our differences, we respect one another as human beings, each of us searching for justice and for purpose.”
A video was shown highlighting Biden’s friendship with the late Republican Sen. John McCain. It was narrated by McCain’s wife, Cindy, ending with his words to Biden, thanking him for his friendship: “My life and the lives of many have been enriched by it.”
Millions anticipated Biden’s remarks at the close of the DNC convention Thursday night—but even more so, the race between him and Trump. The issues at hand in the Black community, including health care, criminal justice, police brutality and economic justice will be foremost as America goes to the polls or mail in their ballots.
“Too many have lost their health care; too many are struggling to take care of basic necessities like food and rent; too many communities have been left in the lurch to grapple with whether and how to open our schools safely. Internationally, we’ve turned our back, not just on agreements forged by my husband, but on alliances championed by presidents like Reagan and Eisenhower,” former First Lady Michelle Obama said. “And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matters is still met with derision from the nation’s highest office. If we want to keep the possibility of progress alive in our time, if we want to be able to look our children in the eye after this election, we have got to reassert our place in American history. And we have got to do everything we can to elect my friend, Joe Biden, as the next president of the United States.”