Joseph R. Biden Jr. waited a long time to give the speech he gave in Delaware on Saturday night. Not only the five days since election day, but also the 48 years since his first election to the Senate, in which he ran three times for president. And at the age of 77, when Mr. Biden trotted up the runway to an explosion of car horns and cheers, beaming and looking almost surprised at the ovations, it was clear that his moment had come.
Here are five lessons learned from the president-elect’s victory speech.
A new tone from above.
The contrast between Mr Biden and President Trump was exciting and noteworthy in almost every passage as the president-elect invoked his own spirituality and for the moment shared appreciation with his followers and those around him.
He quoted from a hymn: “On Eagle’s Wings”. He thanked his supporters: “I owe you, I owe you, I owe you everything.” He warmly praised Kamala Harris, his runmate, and celebrated the fact that she would be the first woman, let alone a woman of color, to serve as vice president: “It is long overdue and we are reminded tonight of all those who fought so hard for so many years to make it happen.”
Most importantly, although the nation is facing one of the darkest periods in its history – a deadly pandemic, economic decline, political polarization – Mr Biden has been relentlessly optimistic, even cheerful. “We can do it,” he said. “I know we can.”
There were many notable passages in the speech, but one stood out. “Let this dark era of demonization in America end here and now,” he said. This is probably a line that people will talk about for a long time in the Biden presidency.
Mr Biden only mentioned Mr Trump’s name once during his 17-minute speech. He ignored the fact that the president had not conceded and that he had challenged with no evidence. the legitimacy of the choice. Nor did Mr Biden notice that many top Republican leaders, presumably after Mr Trump’s leadership, hadn’t offered him the usual congratulations.
But if Mr Biden has not addressed the President, he has certainly spoken to his supporters, a remarkable contrast to what Mr Trump said after his own victory in 2016. “For those who voted for President Trump, I understand yours Disappointment tonight. ” he said. “I lost a couple of elections myself. But now we’re giving each other a chance. “
And while ignoring Mr. Trump’s protests against the election, Mr. Biden made it clear that there should be no doubt about the legitimacy of the outcome. “The people of this nation have spoken,” he said. “You gave us a clear victory. A convincing victory. A win for “We the People”. We won by the most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket in the history of this nation – 74 million. “
Mr Biden’s strategy was clear here. He has exceeded the 270 electoral college votes required to become president and will potentially garner more than 300 votes. He is now passing the competition with Mr Trump and into the role of President-Elect. The transition is just around the corner, and the insignia of the presidency has begun to surround him – apparently in the size of the intelligence contingent that followed him to deliver his speech and in the manner in which each television station voted for him President spoke.
He is trying to marginalize Mr. Trump and move on to the urgent task of forming a new government and managing the crises he will face.
Priority one: the pandemic.
Mr Biden left no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic would, in some ways, be a priority for his administration it wasn’t under Mr. Trump.
Mr Biden announced that he would call senior science and health experts to a committee Monday to work out a pandemic control plan that is ready to be implemented when he and Ms. Harris take office in January. Mr Biden told the nation that controlling the coronavirus was vital to normalcy and economic prosperity.
“We cannot fix the economy, restore our vitality, or enjoy the most precious moments in life – hugging a grandchild, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us – until we have this virus under control,” said he.
Mr Trump took a completely different approach. During his campaign, he urged Americans not to fear the virus, claiming that the danger was being exaggerated by his political opponents. He defied the advice of health officials Precautions such as wearing a maskeven after he was diagnosed with the virus.
I am looking for “the trust of the whole people”.
Mr Trump defined the tone of his presidency on inauguration with a dark speech in which he specifically did not go beyond his support base. The strategy had led him to a narrow victory in 2016 – in the electoral college; he lost the referendum – and he tried to repeat it in his losing campaign this year.
Mr. Biden moved aggressively in the other direction.
“I promise to be a president who doesn’t want to divide but to unite – who doesn’t see red and blue states, but the United States,” he said on Saturday. “And who will work wholeheartedly to win the trust of all the people.”
To some extent this reflects what Mr Biden said during the campaign, but the approach will take on a new urgency when he becomes president. Until the result of two drains in GeorgiaThe Senate is controlled by Republicans, and it must turn to senators from the red states if it is to pass an agenda.
Their names in lights.
There was some formidable pyrotechnics during that campaign – those that come to mind over the Washington skyline the night Mr. Trump accepted the Republican nomination from the White House lawn.
However, this one set a bar that may be difficult to reach: fireworks and drones spelled the name of Mr. Biden, the name of Ms. Harris, and a map of the United States. Mr. Biden and Mrs. Harris, surrounded by their families, stood on the stage and stared at the Delaware sky. They lit up again and again the night that Mr. Biden had been waiting for most of his life.