Delegates to the Democratic National Convention voted on Aug. 18 to nominate former vice president Joe Biden for president of the United States.
Former President Bill Clinton, New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D) and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates were among the speakers endorsing Biden ahead of the convention vote.
“With President Biden, Vice President Harris, and a Democratic Senate Majority, we will make healthcare affordable for all; we’ll undo the vicious inequality of income and wealth that has plagued America for far too long; and we’ll take strong, decisive action to combat climate change and save the planet,” Schumer said.
The convention, though based in Milwaukee, is being conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Well, thank you very very much, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all. It means the world to me and my family,” Biden said in his virtual acceptance speech alongside his wife and family. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Biden is fighting unprecedented logistical challenges to deliver his message during an all-virtual convention this week amid the pandemic of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
The roll call votes were cast in pre-recorded videos from all 50 states. The four day convention will culminate on Thursday when Biden accepts his nomination inside a mostly empty Delaware convention hall. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first woman of color to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination on Wednesday.
There is no live audience for any of the speakers, who have so far delivered their remarks standing or seated alone in mostly prerecorded videos.
Biden’s team did not give the night’s coveted keynote address to a single fresh face, preferring instead to pack the slot with more than a dozen Democrats in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The younger leaders included Stacey Abrams, Rep. Conor Lamb., D-Pa., and the president of the Navajo Nation Jonathan Nez.
Clinton, a fixture of Democratic conventions for nearly three decades, addressed voters for roughly five minutes in a speech recorded at his home in Chappaqua, New York.
In addition to railing against Trump’s leadership, Clinton calls Biden “a go-to-work president.” Biden, Clinton continued, is “a man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide.”
It remains to be seen whether the unconventional convention will give Biden the momentum he’s looking for.
Preliminary estimates show that television viewership for the first night of the virtual convention was down compared with the opening of Hillary Clinton’s onsite nominating party four years ago.
An estimated 18.7 million people watched coverage between 10 and 11 p.m. on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the Nielsen company said. Four years ago, the opening night drew just under 26 million viewers.
Biden’s campaign said an additional 10.2 million streamed the convention online Monday night.
“We are producing a digital convention, and people are watching,” Biden spokesman T.J. Ducklo said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Trump continued to court battleground voters in an effort to distract from Biden’s convention. Appearing in Arizona near the Mexican border earlier in the day, the Republican president said a Biden presidency would trigger “a flood of illegal immigration like the world has never seen.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.