Joe Biden has been formally nominated as the Democratic Party’s candidate for the US Presidency.
His election candidacy was rubber stamped in a virtual ‘roll-call’ of 57 states and voting territories. As the camera cut to the former vice-president, in the company of his wife and grandchildren, he said: “Thank you all from the bottom of my heart, from my family.”
He later tweeted: “It is the honour of my life to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States of America.”
On the second day of the Democratic National Convention, a number of prominent political figures endorsed Joe Biden as the Democratic choice and derided President Trump in strong terms.
Former US President Bill Clinton said in a video segment: “You know what Donald Trump will do with four more years.
“Blame, bully and belittle. And you know what Joe Biden will do. Build back better. It’s Trump’s ‘us versus them’ America, against Joe Biden’s America. Where we all live and work together.
“It’s a clear choice. The future of our country is riding on it.
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General Colin Powell, who served as Secretary of State in George W. Bush’s Republican administration, offered his backing to the Democrat ticket.
He said: “Today, we are a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it stays that way and keep us that way.
“What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul.”
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The theme of the convention’s second night was “Leadership Matters”. Whilst the programme on the first night had been devoted largely to attacking Donald Trump, day two focused on telling Joe Biden’s story, in life and in politics.
The keynote address was given by his wife Dr Jill Biden. Delivering a speech inside Brandywine High School, where she once taught, she told their story of life, love and loss.
Dr Biden told of meeting her future husband after he had lost his wife and daughter in a car crash and she drew a parallel between their past experience and the present state of the nation.
She said: “I never imagined, at the age of 26, I would be asking myself: how do you make a broken family whole?
“We have shown that the heart of this nation still beats with kindness and courage. That’s the soul of America Joe Biden is fighting for now.”
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It was day two of the Democratic Party adapting their convention output to the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic.
The format meant his nomination was crystallised Eurovision Song Contest-style, with a round-the-country video roll call of the 50 States and 7 voting territories.
This was the elevation of “Ordinary Joe”, man of the people. Capitol Hill colleagues chosen to deliver short nomination speeches were joined by Jacqueline Brittany, a security guard at the New York Times, who said: “I take powerful people up in my elevator all the time.
“When they get off, they go to their important meetings. But in the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me, that he actually cared, that my life meant something to him.
“I knew, even when he went into his important meeting, he’d take my story in there with him.”
For all the talk about how convention coverage would be impacted by the lack of a live stage, crowd and balloon drop, it fits easily into the digital format.
Indeed, the marketing gurus of both parties may ponder how much they can retain of their convention coverage as a small screen production.
It gives them a control over content they don’t necessarily have of a less predictable live event.
Sure, there are technical challenges but a hefty element of pre-recording has ensured a viewing experience smooth enough for a Zoom-literate audience.
Contributions on camera, many personal and poignant stories from members of the public, are afforded the space, silence and intimacy they wouldn’t enjoy on the big stage.
Tales are told without distractions and with pictures to illustrate. It aids lasting impression.
Content from the evening can also be sliced and shared across social media before and after the event.
According to the Biden campaign, nearly 30 million people watched the first night of the Democratic convention across television and digital platforms.
A campaign spokesman said the number of digital viewers, 10.2 million, set a record for convention streaming.
Fewer watched the event on television than four years ago, according to Nielsen data. In 2016 around 26 million watched the first night of the convention, compared to 19.7 million this time.