With hyped-up urgency, speaker after speaker cautioned against voter passiveness; remembered how close the 2016 vote had actually been; and warned of prospective GOP vote-suppression efforts and barriers to voting in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
” If you can vote early in your state, do so,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Thursday, on the convention’s closing night.
It fell to Joe Biden himself, in his Thursday night approval speech, to offer the counterpoint to that pervasive sense of stress and anxiety, with his declaration that if Americans “delegate me with the presidency, I will draw on the finest of us, not the worst.
It was the capstone argument to get people out to vote– for him, not just against Trump.
All week, speakers had actually been providing scathing critiques of Trump’s failings– most notably from the not likely voices of previous President Obama and his wife, Michelle, neither prone to direct personal vitriol. Having pinned blame on Trump for much of what ails America, they set the scene for Biden to pivot to his own governing viewpoint.
Biden used a vision of hope for a post-Trump period where he could combat COVID-19, create jobs, and tackle racial injustice.
” This is a life-altering election. This is going to identify what America will appear like for a long, very long time,” he stated.
Biden’s acceptance speech topped a weeklong convention program that set a high bar for him to match: A parade of speakers and videos depicted him as a generous guy of empathy, a working-class hero, a master of Washington policy and politics.
That advance billing set a test for a male with an unforeseeable relationship with the spoken word.
There were no gaffes Thursday.
But even with Biden taking pleasure in a consistent advantage in nationwide and battleground-state surveys, Democrats this week revealed open issue about turning ballot strength into triumph at the tally box.
That’s in part since they suffer a continuing political hangover from the stunning outcome of the 2016 election, when overconfidence about Hillary Clinton’s opportunities, a lack of interest for her candidacy among crucial voting groups and depressed Democratic turnout contributed to Donald Trump’s unforeseen victory.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, in her breakout speech to the convention early this week, pinned part of the blame on voter passiveness.
” Four years earlier, too many people picked to believe that their votes didn’t matter. Perhaps they were fed up. Maybe they believed the result wouldn’t be close. Perhaps the barriers felt too steep,” she said. “Whatever the factor, in the end, those choices sent somebody to the Oval Office who lost the national popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.”
Some Democrats believe that the best safeguard is for Democrats to aim not just to win however to score a landslide to keep Biden from suffering Clinton’s fate.
” We need numbers overwhelming, so Trump can’t slip or steal his way to triumph,” Clinton said in her speech Wednesday night.
Although Biden project advisors predict record turnout this fall, they worry about the obstacles of holding an election amidst a national public health emergency situation. Their project is currently intensely focused on using guidance to voters on acquiring tallies and navigating a baffling selection of various state requirements– a topic that projects typically don’t pivot towards up until the fall.
” Whether you’re preparing to vote using a mask or vote by mail, please, take out your phone right now and text VOTE to 3-0-3-3-0,” stated Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
The Thursday program included 2 state authorities who supervise election procedures, not frequently the kinds of individuals discovered at a convention podium.
” Let’s talk about this election,” said Padilla.
Amidst the confusion and difficulties of voting safely in the pandemic, Democrats likewise released a steady stream of cautions about Trump administration efforts to block the vote. Current service cuts at the U.S. Postal Service, paired with Trump’s statements that clearly linked his resistance to more cash for the post office with his opposition to mail-in voting, have Democrats on high alert.
” I’ve heard Donald Trump state some quite unhinged things; I’ve heard them over and over and over once again,” said comedian Sarah Cooper, known for her sendups of Trump. “However nothing is more unsafe to our democracy than his attacks on mail-in voting.”
In urgent terms not typical of his “no-drama” presidency, Obama also sounded the alarm about wicked efforts to damage the vote.
” This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that’s what it requires to win,” he stated. “Do not let them take away your power. Do not let them remove your democracy.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, acknowledged as much in remarks during a virtual charity event Thursday.
” We are encouraged by optimism,” Harris said.
Making that argument represented the final task for the convention, and it fell to the nominee.
” This is our moment.