Tying the knot in a process that began in Iowa, Joe Biden accepts Democratic nomination for president

Joe Biden accepted the Democratic nomination for president Thursday night, after a long campaign cycle that began with a less than ideal showing at the Iowa caucuses.


Julia Shanahan and Caleb McCullough

Joe Biden’s Iowa caucus performance was a “gut punch,” in his own words. Biden had an underwhelming showing at what’s seen as the litmus test for the national primary cycle, but he wrapped up that road Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention accepting the nomination for president.

“While I will be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president,” the former vice president said. “I will work as hard for those who didn’t support me as I will for those who did. That’s the job of a president. To represent all of us, not just our base or our party. This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment.”

Unable to gain much traction with Iowans ahead of the Feb. 3 caucuses, Biden came in fourth place once the final results had been tallied, taking 340 state delegate equivalents. 

Since Biden’s swing through Iowa, the country has undergone a global pandemic, economic crisis, and a cry for racial justice — crises that Biden highlighted during his speech Thursday night, along with the looming threat of climate change.

While Biden did often talk about helping working class families and addressing climate change in his Iowa stump speeches, the coronavirus pandemic has made the stakes even higher for creating a national plan to help those in traditionally underserved communities. 

“Our economy is in tatters, with Black, Latino, Asian American, and Native American communities bearing the brunt of it,” Biden said. “And after all this time, the president still does not have a plan.”

Following Biden’s fourth-place finish in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, he went on to place fifth in the New Hampshire and second in the Nevada caucuses. It wasn’t until South Carolina, and then eventually Super Tuesday, where Biden began to pick up steam — and delegates.  

In Biden’s acceptance speech, he stayed true to many of the policies he touted in Iowa, such as an economic plan centered around creating jobs in renewable energy and building on the Affordable Care Act. 

RELATED: Kamala Harris hits on themes familiar to Iowans in DNC speech

Throughout the four-day long convention, Biden and other guest speakers have said “we’re in a battle for the soul of the nation” — a sentiment Biden frequently referenced on the campaign trail. 

Biden called out for Trump for not having a plan to address the coronavirus pandemic. He pointed to the fact that the U.S. has seen more than 5 million coronavirus cases and historic unemployment rates, calling Trump’s handling of the virus the worst performance of any country.

Biden said he’s been planning a national coronavirus mitigation strategy, and that on day one of his presidency, he would implement mass rapid testing, a national mask mandate, promote American-manufactured PPE, and ensure schools have proper resources to protect against the virus. Biden added that as president, he would make sure the White House is delivering honest and complete information to the public about the state of the pandemic.

“We’ll put the politics aside and take the muzzle off our experts so the public gets the information they need and deserve,” Biden said. “The honest, unvarnished truth. They can deal with that.”

A focal point of Thursday night’s convention was Biden’s family history, featuring biographical videos with former U.S. Senate colleagues, constituents from his hometown in Delaware, and his children and grandchildren. While Biden’s Iowa speeches were policy heavy, diving into the nominee’s personal history is typically expected at any national nominating convention. 

Biden is no stranger to tragedy, losing his first wife and youngest daughter in a car accident and then later losing his son Beau to brain cancer. Biden did often talk about Beau on the campaign trail to emphasize the need to find a cure for cancer and expand access to affordable health care.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and winner of the Iowa caucuses, gave remarks tonight where he honored Beau for his time in the military. Buttigieg, also a veteran, dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination before the South Carolina primary.

“I trust Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to guide this nation toward that better future, because I have seen their commitment, and their empathy, up close. And I trust the capacity of America to grow more inclusive, because I have lived it,” said Buttigieg, also commending Biden for his record supporting gay marriage. 

Thursday marked the end of the Democratic National Convention, and the Republican National Convention will begin on Aug. 24, where Trump will likely accept the Republican re-nomination for president.

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