Joe Biden is the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, after he was formally picked by the party to challenge President Trump in November on the second night of the virtual Democratic National Convention. We feature highlights from the night, which featured speeches from 17 so-called rising stars in the Democratic Party, including voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, who unsuccessfully ran for Georgia governor in 2018, as well as Democratic heavyweights like former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. For a second night in a row, the DNC prominently featured the voices of Republicans and former Republicans backing Biden, including John McCain’s widow Cindy McCain, former defense secretary and Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who helped make the case for invading Iraq in 2003 by lying to the United Nations about Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. The night ended with a keynote address by Jill Biden.
AMY GOODMAN: We welcome everyone to our “Breaking with Convention” series, as we continue to cover the Democratic National Convention underway virtually this week. The Democratic Party has formally picked Joe Biden to be its 2020 presidential nominee to challenge President Trump. Biden was nominated Tuesday night by a security guard at The New York Times who met the former vice president in an elevator at the Times last year.
JACQUELYN BRITTANY: I take powerful people up on my elevator all the time. When they get off, they go to their important meetings. Me? I just head back to the lobby. 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. And I knew even when he went into his important meeting, he’d take my story in there with him. That’s because Joe Biden has room in his heart for more than just himself. We’ve been through a lot, and we have tough days ahead, but nominating someone like that to be in the White House is a good place to start. That’s why I nominate my friend Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.
AMY GOODMAN: While Joe Biden got Jacquelyn Brittany’s support, the security guard at The New York Times at the time, the Times did not endorse Joe Biden. This came just moments after New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez nominated Biden’s challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders, who had officially remained in the race despite suspending his campaign in April.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Good evening, bienvenidos and thank you to everyone here today endeavoring towards a better, more just future for our country and our world. In fidelity and gratitude to a mass people’s movement working to establish 21st century social, economic and human rights, including guaranteed healthcare, higher education, living wages and labor rights for all people in the United States; a movement striving to recognize and repair the wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny and homophobia and to propose and build reimagined systems of immigration and foreign policy that turn away from the violence and xenophobia of our past; a movement that realizes the unsustainable brutality of an economy that rewards explosive inequalities of wealth for the few at the expense of long-term stability for the many, and who organized a historic grassroots campaign to reclaim our democracy, in a time when millions of people in the United States are looking for deep, systemic solutions to our crises of mass evictions, unemployment, and lack of healthcare — en el espíritu del pueblo and out of a love for all people, I hereby second the nomination of Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America.
AMY GOODMAN: The Democratic Party then held a virtual roll-call vote. The process began in Selma, Alabama, in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge and continued across 56 other states and territories, showcasing Indigenous voices in Mexico and South Dakota, a meatpacking worker in Nebraska, a father in Florida whose daughter was killed in the Parkland school massacre, and the parents of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, a gay man brutally murdered there in 1998. The roll call ended in Biden’s home state of Delaware.
GOV. JOHN CARNEY: Delaware is proud to cast its 32 votes for our favorite son and our next president.
SEN. TOM CARPER: Our friend, Delaware’s Joe Biden.
AMY GOODMAN: The keynote address Tuesday night was given by 17 so-called rising stars in the Democratic Party, including Pennsylvania state Representative Malcolm Kenyatta.
REP. MALCOLM KENYATTA: When I wanted to marry the man I loved, Joe Biden was the first national figure to support me and my family.
DR. MATTHEW MILLER: Appreciate you, man.
AMY GOODMAN: Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in Georgia in 2018, also spoke as part of the joint keynote address.
STACEY ABRAMS: America faces a triple threat: a public health catastrophe, an economic collapse and a reckoning with racial justice and inequality. So, our choice is clear: a steady, experienced public servant who can lead us out of this crisis, just like he’s done before, or a man who only knows how to deny and distract; a leader who cares about our families or a president who only cares about himself. We know Joe Biden. America, we need Joe Biden. …
Faced with a president of cowardice, Joe Biden is a man of proven courage. He will restore our moral compass by confronting our challenges, not by hiding from them or undermining our elections to keep his job. In a time of voter suppression at home and authoritarians abroad, Joe Biden will be a champion for free and fair elections, for a public health system that keeps us safe, for an economy that we build back better than before, and for accountability and integrity in our system of justice.
AMY GOODMAN: Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton also spoke Tuesday night. Clinton slammed President Trump’s performance in the White House.
BILL CLINTON: Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple. At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos. Just one thing never changes: his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there.
AMY GOODMAN: For a second night in a row, the Democratic National Convention prominently featured the voices of Republicans and former Republicans backing Biden. John McCain’s widow Cindy McCain spoke in a video about the close friendship between her husband and Biden. Former defense secretary and Republican Senator Chuck Hagel joined a group of other former top national security officials praising Biden. A primetime speaking slot was also given to George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Colin Powell, who infamously helped make the case for invading Iraq by misleading the United Nations about Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.
COLIN POWELL: Today we are a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it 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.
AMY GOODMAN: General Powell would later call that speech a blot on his career. The second night of the Democratic National Convention ended with Dr. Jill Biden speaking in an empty classroom at Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Delaware, where she used to teach English.
JILL BIDEN: The rooms are dark, as the bright young faces that should fill them are now confined to boxes on a computer screen. I hear it from so many of you — the frustration of parents juggling work while they support their children’s learning, or afraid that their kids might get sick from school; the concern of every person working without enough protection; the despair in the lines that stretch out before food banks; and the indescribable sorrow that follows every lonely last breath when the ventilators turn off. As a mother and a grandmother, as an American, I am heartbroken by the magnitude of this loss, by the failure to protect our communities, by every precious and irreplaceable life gone.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Jill Biden, speaking at the Democratic National Convention last night.
When we come back, we’ll hear remarks by Medicare for All activist Ady Barkan, who suffers from ALS, and we’ll speak to economist Darrick Hamilton, who took part in the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force. Stay with us.