Democrats officially nominated Joe Biden for president on Tuesday, culminating a comeback that saw the former vice president emerge as the party’s choice to take on Donald Trump in Biden’s third campaign for the White House.
Biden received the 2,374 delegate votes necessary for the nomination at a convention that was restyled in the time of COVID-19 into a video tour across the U.S., substituting for the traditional roll call in a crowded convention hall.
After Delaware cast the final votes from an Amtrak station that Biden used to commute as a senator, the nominee appeared alongside his wife Jill from the classroom at Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Delaware, where she taught English in the early 1990s.
"Well, thank you very very much from the bottom of my heart,” Biden said. "Thank you all. It means the world to me and my family. And I’ll see you on Thursday. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Biden was nominated on the second night of the Democratic national convention, almost six months after he won the South Carolina primary. That proved a turning point that led to a string of victories after setbacks in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The Democrats opened the second night of their convention with a collage of keynote speakers, each given just enough time to voice support for Biden and urge voters to turn out in droves to defeat Trump.
"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,” said Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost a race for governor of Georgia in 2018. "America needs Joe Biden.”
As on Monday, Democratic Party stalwarts tore into Trump’s temperament, his stewardship of the economy and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
"If you want a president who defines the job as spending hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media, he’s your man,” former President Bill Clinton said in prerecorded remarks.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a star of the party’s progressive wing, also got to speak — but only for about 90 seconds, a limit her supporters have complained about. Trump is portraying Biden as a captive of what he calls the party’s "Radical Leftists.”
In her speech seconding the nomination of Biden’s primary season opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez praised "fidelity and gratitude to a mass people’s movement working to establish a 21st century social, economic and human rights, including our guaranteed health care, higher education, living wages and labor rights for all people in the United States.”
Rather than the traditional convention keynote that can fuel one star’s rise — then-Arkansas Gov. Clinton had the keynote in 1988 and spoke again Tuesday as a former two-term president — Biden’s team chose an array of Democrats to share the coveted duty on Tuesday. All reflect his center-left philosophy.
A video montage jump-cut from speakers in living rooms and an industrial-style building to the Navajo Nation. "This year, all of us are on stage, and we’ve got a lot to say,” the keynoters said in unison, before participants counted off concerns about the coronavirus, unemployment and exhausted parents juggling work and child care.
The speakers included Rep. Colin Allred of Texas and Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, both political moderates who flipped Republican seats after Trump was elected president. Others were Biden supporters during the Democratic primary season: South Carolina State Sen. Marlon Kimpson, Nevada State Sen. Yvanna Cancela and Pennsylvania State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.
The theme for the second night of the virtual convention was "Leadership Matters,” with speeches by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Clinton — his legendary verbosity constricted through a prerecorded address — and John Kerry, the former secretary of state and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee.
On Wednesday, the party will hear from Biden’s vice presidential choice, Sen. Kamala Harris. On Thursday, Biden will close the convention by delivering his acceptance speech.