Joe Biden formally nominated as 2020 US Democratic presidential candidate

Written by on August 19, 2020

Biden’s vice presidential pick, Kamala Harris, will headline Wednesday night’s program along with Obama.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden appears by video feed at start of the all virtual 2020 Democratic Convention hosted from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 17, 2020 (photo credit: 2020 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden appears by video feed at start of the all virtual 2020 Democratic Convention hosted from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 17, 2020

(photo credit: 2020 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION/POOL VIA REUTERS)

The Democratic National Convention officially voted on Tuesday to nominate Joe Biden as the party’s nominee in the upcoming elections. Following a virtual roll call vote in all 57 states and territories, Biden received 3,558 delegate votes, compared to 1,151 of Senator Bernie Sanders.

Jason Rae, the DNC secretary, moderated the roll call vote from Milwaukee, while delegations from each state sent a video message with a readout of the final vote tally. 

“Thank you so much, it means the world to my family and me,” Biden said following his nomination. He will deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday, while his wife, Jill, will take the stage later tonight.

Former president Jimmy Carter sent an audio message endorsing Biden, and former president Bill Clinton criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of COVID-19. “COVID hit us much harder than it had to. We are just 4% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s COVID cases.”

The convention’s second night, under the theme “Leadership Matters,” aimed to make the case that Biden would represent a return to normalcy.

“At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center,” former US President Bill Clinton said in a prerecorded video. “Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos. Just one thing never changes – his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame.”

With the four-day convention largely virtual due to the coronavirus, delegates from around the country cast votes remotely to confirm Biden as the nominee.

— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) August 19, 2020

In clips from around the country, Democrats of all stripes explained why they were supporting Biden while putting their own state-specific spin on the proceedings, from a calamari appetizer in Rhode Island to a herd of cattle in Montana.

Following his home state of Delaware, which went last in his honor, Biden appeared live for the first time at a Delaware school, where his wife, Jill, was set to deliver the night’s headline address later in the evening.

“Thank you very, very much from the bottom of my heart,” said Biden, who will deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday. “It means the world to me and my family.”

The program started by showcasing some of the party’s rising politicians. But rather than a single keynote speech that could be a star-making turn, as it was for then-state Senator Barack Obama in 2004, the program featured 17 stars in a video address, including Stacey Abrams, the one-time Georgia gubernatorial nominee whom Biden once considered for a running mate.

“America faces a triple threat: a public health catastrophe, and economic collapse and a reckoning with racial justice and inequality,” Abrams said. “So our choice is clear: a steady experienced public servant who can lead us out of this crisis just like he’s done before, or a man who only knows how to deny and distract.”

REPUBLICANS SPEAK

As they did on Monday’s opening night, Democrats featured a handful of Republicans who have crossed party lines to praise Biden, 77, over Trump, 74, ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Cindy McCain, widow of Republican Senator John McCain, was scheduled to appear in a video talking about her husband’s long friendship with Biden, according to a preview posted online. Trump clashed with McCain, who was the Republican nominee for president in 2008, and the president criticized McCain even after his 2018 death.

Republican former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a retired four-star general who endorsed Biden in June, was one of several national security officials due to speak on the Democrat’s behalf.

“Our country needs a commander in chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family,” he said. “He will trust our diplomats and our intelligence community, not the flattery of dictators and despots. He will make it his job to know when anyone dares to threaten us. He will stand up to our adversaries with strength and experience. They will know he means business.”

Democratic former Secretary of State John Kerry said of Trump: “When this president goes overseas, it isn’t a goodwill mission, it’s a blooper reel. He breaks up with our allies and writes love letters to dictators. America deserves a president who is looked up to, not laughed at.”

Biden’s vice presidential pick, Senator Kamala Harris, will headline Wednesday night’s program along with Obama.

Without the cheering crowds at the in-person gathering originally planned for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, TV viewership on Monday was down from 2016. But an additional 10.2 million people watched on digital platforms, the Biden campaign said, for a total audience of nearly 30 million.

Aiming to draw attention away from Biden, Trump, trailing in opinion polls, held a campaign rally in Arizona, a hotly contested battleground state that can swing to either party and play a decisive role in the election.

The convention was being held amid worries about the safety of in-person voting. Democrats have pushed mail-in ballots as an alternative and pressured the head of the US Postal Service, a top Trump donor, to suspend cost cuts that delayed mail deliveries. Bowing to that pressure, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy put off the cost-cutting measures until after the election.

Hours before his speech, the president said a massive shift to mail-in voting could cause so many problems officials might have to hold another election, a far-fetched possibility given that a national US election “re-do” has never occurred and Trump lacks the authority to order one.

Other Democratic speakers on Tuesday included US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading liberal figure known as AOC.

The Republican National Convention, also largely virtual, takes place next week. Trump will give his acceptance speech at the White House, despite criticism he is politicizing the presidential residence.

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