The Democratic Party has made history by nominating Kamala Harris as its vice presidential candidate, as an array of party leaders laid out their case for Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States and urged people to organise and vote.
Democrats must defeat President Donald Trump in the November election or face a chaotic, destructive future amid a deadly pandemic and a rising climate crisis, Harris and a parade of Democrats including women, immigrants and young people warned on the third night of the virtual Democratic National Convention.
“We’re at an inflexion point,” Harris said in her acceptance speech on Wednesday in a direct attack on Trump.
“Right now we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons,” Harris said. “Constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing – we can do better and deserve so much more,” Harris said.
“We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work – a president who will bring all of us together – Black, white, Latino, Asian, Indigenous – to achieve the future we collectively want,” Harris said.
The daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, Harris is the first woman of colour to be nominated as a candidate for vice president by a major US party – Republican or Democrat. Harris’s remarks capped a night of appearances by big-name Democratic politicians in support of Biden’s candidacy.
Harris spoke passionately about the strength of her late mother Shyamala who conveyed values of activism to her and she testified about her love of family.
“She came across as really genuine. There was a warmth to it that counterbalances her image as a tough person,” Courtney Burns, an associate professor of political science at Bucknell University, told Al Jazeera.
Harris’s selection as vice president “showed diversity and connection”, Burns said.
Party stars make the case for Biden
Former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared by satellite feed on the penultimate night of the virtual convention.
“Tonight, I am asking you to believe in Joe and Kamala’s ability to lead this country out of dark times and build it back better,” Obama said in a speech that recounted his time in the White House with Biden as his number two.
“Over eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision. He made me a better president. He’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country,” Obama said, lauding Biden’s humility and resilience.