WASHINGTON: United States Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday, imploring the country to elect Joe Biden as president.
The first Black woman and Asian-American on a major US presidential ticket, Harris summarised her life story as emblematic of the American dream on the third day of the virtual Democratic National Convention.
“Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” Harris said, accusing the president of failed leadership that had cost lives and livelihoods.
Harris pressed the case against Trump, speaking directly to millions of women, young Americans and voters of colour that Democrats need if Biden is to defeat the Trump.
“The 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,” she said.
“Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose,” she said, speaking from an austere hotel ballroom in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
READ MORE: Democrats formally nominate Joe Biden as US presidential candidate
Former President Barack Obama told the convention that Trump’s failures had led to 170,000 people dead from the coronavirus, millions of lost jobs and America’s reputation badly diminished in the world.
Obama said he had hoped that Trump would take the job seriously, come to feel the weight of the office, and discover a reverence for American democracy. “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama said in unusually blunt criticism from an ex-president.
“Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before,” Obama said.
The choice of a running mate has added significance for Biden who would be the oldest person to become president if he is elected. His age has led to speculation he will serve only one term, making Harris a potential top contender for the nomination in 2024.
READ MORE: Biden picks Kamala Harris as presidential running mate
Biden named Harris as his running mate last week to face incumbent Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Former first lady and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the convention she constantly hears from voters who regret backing Trump or not voting at all.
“This can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election,” Clinton said. “No matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”
Clinton said Biden needs to win overwhelmingly, warning he could win the popular vote but still lose the White House. “Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose,” Clinton said. “Take it from me. So we need numbers overwhelming so Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”
Democrats also broadcast videos highlighting Trump’s crackdown on immigration, opposition to gun restrictions and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord. The Republican National Convention, also largely virtual, takes place next week.