Joe Biden wins Democratic nomination for presidential polls

Biden officially nominated as party’s candidate to take on Donald Trump in November race for White House.

In this image from video, Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden smiles after the roll call vote during the second night of the Democratic National Convention [Democratic National Convention via AP Photo] [The Associated Press]
  • US Democrats opened the second night of their convention with voices from across the party’s politic divide. Moderates like John Kerry and progressive star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will made appearances.
  • Response to the first night was positive from many Democratic loyalists, but some criticised its lack of policy proposals and time given to prominent Republicans supporting Biden.
  • Two former US presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, spoke. Carter, an elderly one-term president, is widely respected. Clinton is remembered fondly by many, though his association with convicted paedophile Jeffery Epstein has caused some controversy, though no allegations of impropriety have been levelled against Clinton.
  • Jill Biden, wife of presumptive nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, delivered the final speech highlighting their family’s struggle after Biden accepted the nomination.

Here’s what happened:

Tuesday, August 18

02:55 GMT – Jill Biden makes case for her husband based on his humanity through loss

Dr Jill Biden, married to the former vice president since 1977, highlighted the story of the Biden family as part of her pitch for the US to elect her husband as she walked through an empty high school where she previously taught, highlighting the cost of the coronavirus pandemic in the US.

The Bidens had to navigate the loss of Joe’s first wife and daughter with their two young, suriving sons.

“How do you make a broken family whole?” Jill found herself asking at age 26. “We figured it out together.” Jill said you mend a broken family with the same way you mend a divided, with “love”.

The Bidens again had to deal with loss again when their son, Beau Biden, died in 2015 of cancer. “After our son Beau died of cancer, I wondered if I would ever smile or feel joy again”.

Four days after Beau’s death, Jill said she watched her husband “steel himself” to return to public life. He “does it for you”, Jill said.

“I know that if we entrust this nation for Joe, he will do for your family what he did for ours. Bring us together, and make us whole.”

02:38 GMT – Former State Secretary Colin Powell endorses Biden

Former Secretary of State and four-star General Colin Powell, a prominent Republican, endorsed Biden after the the vice president accepted the Democratic nomination.

“Our country needs a commander-in-chief who takes care of his troops the same way he would his own family”, Powell said. “Joe Biden will be a president we will all be proud to salute.”

Powell DNC
In this image from video made available before the start of the convention, former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP) [Daylife]

Powell, who spoke after a series of national security and military officials, said that Trump had diminished the US on the world stage. Biden will “restore” relations with important allies, Powell said.

After Powell finished his address, Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Republican Senator John McCain spoke about her husband’s longlasting friendship with Biden.

McCain stressed that Biden can disagree with people on the issues while still caring for them, personally.

02:20 GMT – Biden formally nominated as Democrats’ 2020 candidate

Biden formally nominated with the majority of votes at the second night of the DNC.

Biden received the nomination in a “roll call across America”, which saw Democratic delegates and normal people from all 50 states and seven territories of the US cast the majority of votes for the former vice president.

“It means the world to me and my family”, Biden said as he accepted the nomination standing next to his wife. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Delaware, Biden’s homestate, was the last to pledge their votes.

The various speakers spoke about Biden’s plans to further economic equality, contain the coronavirus pandemic, combat climate change and unite the US.

All of them referred to Biden as “the next president of the United States”.

01:45 GMT – AOC nominates Sanders in DNC speech

Progressive star Representative Ocasio-Cortez addressed the DNC to second the nomination of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders ahead of the roll call vote to nominate Biden.

“In a time when millions of people in the United States are looking for deep systemic solutions … I hereby second the nomination of Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America”, Ocasio-Cortez said, following former President of the United Auto Workers Bob King nominated Sanders.

The nomination was a formality, as Sanders withdrew from the contest in April and has no chance of attaining the nomination.

Ocasio-Cortez’s speech was highly anticpated, as she is widely seen as a future leader of the party’s progressive moment.

AOC, as she’s popularly known, did not formally endorse Biden in her speech.

 01:28 GMT – Former President Clinton says Biden will ‘build back better’

Former President Bill Clinton called on voters to support Biden, calling out Trump’s response to the coronavirus and the economic slump that ensued.

Clinton echoed Michelle Obama’s comments from the previous night, saying Trump’s failures in the face of the coronavirus pandemic caused the US to “lead the world” in unemployment and virus cases.

Biden wants to put forward reconstructive policies like “innovative financing for modern factories” and working to make sure all people – especially those left behind by the Trump administration – are “full participates in our economy and our society. Joe Biden wants to build an economy far better suited for our changing world.”

Clinton stressed that Biden will work to make sure the economy works for everyone.

“You know what Donald Trump will do with four more years”, Clinton said, while Biden will “build back better”, one of his campaign slogans.

01:00 GMT – Biden set to accept nomination tonight

Democrats will formally nominate Biden on the second night of the party’s national convention after a roll call of delegates.

Democrats will turn to elder statesmen, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State John Kerry, to argue that Biden has the experience and knowledge to restore normalcy after what they characterise as the chaos of Donald Trump’s administration.

Biden Harris
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his vice presidential running mate Senator Kamala Harris appear on a video feed at the start of the second day of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention at its hosting site in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 18, 2020. [REUTERS/Brian Snyder/Pool] [Reuters]

The roll call vote process has long been a lengthy affair as delegations in the convention pledge delegates to candidates who ran in their primary or caucus.

The process can take hours, though tonight it is expected to take 30 minutes as another tradition is bucked at the virtual DNC.

00:40 GMT – Key quotes from DNC night two

A range of speakers are set to address the virtual convention, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy, along with national security stalwarts like John Kerry.

Jill Biden, Joe’s wife, will deliver the final speech of the evening. She is expected to commend Biden for his strength in the face of personal loss.

“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 … He does it for you,” she said in prepared remarks.

Read more key quotes from the night here.

00:15 GMT – What to expect on the DNC’s second night

Democrats will continue their virtual nominating convention by promoting the message of presidential leadership to stress the differences Biden Trump.

Two prominent Republicans, former State Secretary Colin Powell and Cindy McCain, wife of the late Arizona Senator John McCain, are set to speak favourably of Biden.

US Democratic party holds convention to nominate Biden

Powell, who was once floated as a Republican candidate for president, is expected to endorse Biden for president.

Read more here.

23:31 GMT – Colin Powell, state secretary under Bush, to endorse Biden

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a four-star general who served in the position under former President George W Bush, is expected to endorse Biden for president tonight.

Powell’s endorsement was first reported by MSNBC. He is the latest in a growing group of prominent Republicans to endorse Biden.

While welcomed by many, the newest endorsement – and time alloted to Powell to do so – will likely upset members of the progressive wing of the party. One of its rising stars, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will receive one minute for a pre-recorded statement tonight.

Some commentators, including Rebecca Traister, have equated the prominence given to Republicans during the DNC to “self-sabotage.”

The “relegation of Ocasio-Cortez, who electrifies multiple parts of a Democratic base, to one meager minute, a segment that … isn’t just a snub”, Traister wrote in The Cut. “The failure of a major political party to showcase one of its most talented politicians, a young person whose communicative reach and facility positions her to be among its leaders deep into our future, is self-sabotage.

23:05 GMT – Cindy McCain, wife of late Republican Senator John McCain, set to speak

Cindy McCain will lend her voice to a video set to air during Tuesday night’s Democratic National Convention programming focused on Biden’s close friendship with her late husband, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, though it isn’t expected to be an outright endorsement.

In an advance clip from the video shared with The Associated Press, Cindy McCain talks about how Biden, then a Delaware senator, met her husband when John McCain was assigned to be a military aide for him on a trip overseas. The two became friends, and the families would gather for picnics in the Bidens’ backyard.

McCain is the latest Republican to join in the convention, after a number of notable GOP former elected officials – including former Ohio Governor John Kasich – endorsed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on Monday night.

It’s a continuation of a major theme that Democrats have pushed through the first night of the convention -an effort to broaden the party’s appeal to occasional Republicans and disaffected Trump voters. 

22:02 GMT – Jill Biden to get personal about family’s struggles

Jill Biden will offer a personal glimpse into her family’s struggles and vouch for her husband’s ability to lead the nation through adversity during her opening remarks at the Democratic National Convention.

“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. … He does it for you,” she’ll say in her speech, according to advance remarks.

During their decades in public life, Jill and Joe Biden have faced considerable personal loss. Shortly after getting elected as a senator in 1972, Biden’s first wife and infant daughter were killed in a crash, leaving him to raise his two sons alone.

Biden married Jill about four years later, but the two faced tragedy together when Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.

Both speak openly on the campaign trail about the challenges they’ve experienced, and Jill Biden will speak about what it takes to “make a broken family whole”.

“The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding – and with small acts of compassion.”

21:44 GMT – Stock market surges to record high in boon for Trump

The S&P 500 index closed at an all-time high on Tuesday, completing its recovery from the stock market crash after the onset of the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 170,000 in the US, in February.

The index ended at 3,389.78 points, above the previous record close of 3,386.15 on February 19.

NYSE Wall Street
A pedestrian with a mask walks past the New York Stock Exchange, which appears to be on an upward trend despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic [File: Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

The record confirms, according to a widely accepted definition, that Wall Street’s most closely followed index entered a bull market after hitting its pandemic low on March 23.

The news should be welcome for Trump, who is trailing Biden in most national polls but has campaigned on the strength of the economy prior to the coronavirus crisis.

21:20 GMT – Embattled postmaster general pauses controversial changes to mail delivery

US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday suspended all mail service changes until after the November election after an outcry by Democrats about concerns the changes were an attempt to bolster President Donald Trump’s chances in the November polls.

“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy, a Trump ally and consistent donor to the Republican Party, said in a statement.

US post office mail mail-in
A US Postal Service (USPS) office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [Rachel Wisniewski/Reuters]

The reversal follows complaints that the cuts could slow the handling of mail-in ballots, which could account for as many as half of all votes cast in November’s election as the coronavirus pandemic raises fears of crowds.

 20:50 GMT – Trump responds to Obama’s criticism

Trump, the object of much ire during the first night of the Democratic National Convention, responded to the stinging attack from former First Lady Michelle Obama delivered on the first night.

Obama said Trump was “in over his head … it is what it is” in an apparent reference to Trump’s own comments on the US death toll due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Somebody please explain to Michelle Obama that Donald J Trump would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama,” the president tweeted on Tuesday, calling Biden an “afterthought”.

“Biden was merely an afterthought”, Trump, a frequent and continued critic of the Obama administration, said.

Former Clinton highlighted Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, echoing Michelle Obama’s comments from the previous night.

“Innovative financing for modern factories …

“are full participates in our economy and our society. Joe Biden wants to build an economy far better suited for our changing world.”

Clinton stressed that Biden will work to make sure the economy works for everyone.  

“You know what Donald Trump will do with four more years”,

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies