Democrats Formally Nominate Biden As Their Presidential Nominee

Aug 19, 2020
Originally published on August 19, 2020 5:19 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On the first night of their convention, Democrats and some Republicans made their case against President Trump. On the second night, the party did some formal business.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2020 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION)

BENNIE THOMPSON: I'm pleased to announce that Vice President Joe Biden has officially been nominated by the Democratic Party as our candidate for president of the United States.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CELEBRATION")

KOOL AND THE GANG: (Singing) ...And have a good time.

INSKEEP: Little bit of music background there. Democrats are united in opposition to the president, but are they also growing enthused about their candidate? NPR's senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro has been watching. Hi there, Domenico.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hey, Steve.

INSKEEP: What is the democratic case for Biden?

MONTANARO: Well, you know, it's like you mentioned - they really do need to kind of build a case for Biden. They have to boost his public image because there has been this - the enthusiasm gap with Trump and whether or not his supporters back him as strongly as they are opposing Trump. And the message, really, out of last night, as the Democrats are starting to kind of build this message, is that the Bidens are good people. They're the kind of people you want as neighbors. Biden might not be perfect, but he's perfectly relatable, open to change and evolving.

And, you know, you could see clearly that Jill and Joe Biden have this love for each other, which you could see at the end of Jill Biden's speech last night. You know, she certainly had bigger points to talk about, too, and testified to her husband's character. But she was speaking from a high school classroom, where she used to teach, and here's what she had to say.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2020 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION)

JILL BIDEN: You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways. There's no scent of new notebooks or freshly waxed floors. The rooms are dark, as the bright, young faces that you'd fill them are now confined to boxes on a computer screen.

MONTANARO: And, of course, there talking about the virtual learning that's had to take place and may continue to take place through the fall. Whether to send kids back to school is a huge debate right now. And Democrats' point has been, you know, were this handled better through a unified national response, there wouldn't even be a question if kids and teachers could go back safely.

INSKEEP: OK. So they're talking about personality, character, also competence there. But, of course, there are also issues - health care being a really big one. What are Democrats saying?

MONTANARO: Yeah, look - and Democrats have been pretty divided over health care. It's been the one issue over the last decade or so that they've disagreed on how far to go, you know. And last night, it was summed up, though, by Ady Barkan, an activist with ALS, about how Democrats are willing to set aside their differences to defeat Donald Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2020 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION)

ADY BARKAN: We must elect Joe Biden. Each of us must be a hero for our communities, for our country, and then with a compassionate and intelligent president, we must act together and put on his desk a bill that guarantees us all the health care we deserve.

MONTANARO: And Barkan is someone who has passionately pushed for single-payer health care. He's backing Biden, someone he says is compassionate, intelligent and putting progress ahead of purity.

INSKEEP: Didn't Democrats also talk about foreign policy, which is supposed to be a strength for this candidate?

MONTANARO: Yeah, and look - it's something that's kind of gotten lost this year, but it's a principal job of the president. Trump has really moved the U.S. away from the post-World War II multilateral security approach. Democrats and others have criticized him as erratic and cozying up to strongmen. And last night, former Secretary of State John Kerry and Colin Powell spoke on Biden's behalf with the goal of showing him as a steady leader who'd restore the view of the U.S. around the world.

INSKEEP: NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Thanks.

MONTANARO: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.