Former Vice President Joe Biden formally accepted the Democratic presidential nomination on the fourth and final night of the party's virtual convention Thursday, declaring in a speech from Wilmington, Delaware that "united, we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America."
"History has delivered us to one of the most difficult moments America's ever faced," Biden said, citing the coronavirus crisis, the "most compelling call for racial justice since the 60s" propelled by the police killing of George Floyd, and the existential threat posed by the climate crisis.
Another four years of President Donald Trump, Biden warned, would spell further disaster for a nation ravaged by the deadly Covid-19 pandemic and an economic collapse that—due to the inaction of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans—has shuttered millions of small businesses and left tens of millions of Americans jobless, hungry, and at risk of losing their homes.
"If I'm your president, we're going to protect Social Security and Medicare. You have my word."
—Joe Biden, Democratic presidential nominee
"Working families will struggle to get by" if Trump wins another term, said the former vice president. "And yet the wealthiest one percent will get tens of billions of dollars in new tax breaks. And the assault on the Affordable Care Act will continue until it's destroyed, taking insurance away from more than 20 million people, including more than 15 million people on Medicaid."
Biden went on to spotlight the president's vow earlier this month to "terminate" the funding mechanism for Social Security and Medicare if reelected in November, a threat Trump has made repeatedly during his tenure in the White House.
"I will not let that happen," said Biden, whose record on Social Security drew progressive criticism throughout the Democratic primary process. "If I'm your president, we're going to protect Social Security and Medicare. You have my word."
Offering a broad overview of his policy agenda, Biden vowed to repeal Trump's tax cuts for the rich and use the savings to fund investments in clean energy to combat the climate emergency and "create millions of new, good-paying jobs in the process."
"Together we can and will rebuild our economy," Biden said. "With modern roads, bridges, highways, broadband, ports and airports as a new foundation for economic growth, with pipes that transport clean water to every community. With a healthcare system that lowers premiums, deductibles, drug prices by building on the Affordable Care Act he's trying to rip away."
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"With an education system that trains our people for the best jobs of the 21st century," Biden continued. "With a child care and elder care system that makes it possible for parents to go to work and for the elderly to stay in their homes with dignity. With an immigration system that powers our economy and reflects our values. And with newly empowered labor unions. They're the ones that built the middle class. With equal pay for women, with rising wages you could raise a child on, a family on."
Progressive advocacy groups that were highly critical of Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), during the Democratic primary are mobilizing on their behalf in key swing states and across the nation, warning that the threat Trump poses to democracy, workers, and the planet is far too great to stay home.
"As progressives and leftists, we are not going to minimize our disagreements with Joe Biden," declares the mission statement of a Vote Trump Out initiative organized by RootsAction.org, a group that backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the primary. "But we're also clear-eyed about where things stand... We have a moral responsibility to defeat Trump."
Voting is only part of what we do as politically engaged people. The real work comes from why you are doing in your own community. Activism is real politics. #VoteTrumpOut in swing states and stay in the streets pic.twitter.com/0BbpClydsi
— #VoteTrumpOut (@Roots_Action) August 21, 2020
Sanders himself echoed that message in his primetime convention speech Monday night, calling the November election "the most important in the modern history of this country."
"We must come together, defeat Donald Trump, and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president," Sanders said. "The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake. We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president. My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine."