- As President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris delivered their victory speeches in Wilmington, Delaware, their overarching theme for the country was hope.
- Biden and Harris will be tasked with governing a fractured nation, inflamed by the culture wars of the Trump years and divisions over how to control the coronavirus pandemic.
- Biden played up the role as a steady hand who would govern as a consensus-builder.
- Harris, who will make history as the first female, first Black, and first Indian-American vice president in January, sought to reassure the American public that their best days were ahead of them.
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As President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris emerged onstage to deliver their victory speeches in Wilmington, Delaware, their overarching theme for the country was hope and unity.
After four years of consternation and soul-searching within the Democratic Party, Biden and Harris assembled a coalition of urban, moderate, and suburban voters, mixed in with political independents and even some disaffected Republicans. They amassed the votes of millions of younger voters, many of whom initially backed Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Democratic primaries, along with legions of senior voters who abandoned President Donald Trump, and every demographic in between.
On the day where most major news networks finally called the race for the Democratic ticket, Biden, long a fixture in American politics, sought to unite a country that often seemed like it was tearing apart over the past four years.
“The people of this nation have spoken,” Biden said. “They’ve delivered us a clear victory. A victory for ‘We the people.’ Tonight, we’re seeing all over this nation an outpouring of hope and renewed faith that tomorrow will bring a better day.”
Biden, hoping to turn a page from the political disorientation that has often defined the Trump years, was consistent in his victory speech Saturday night, framing his remarks around a nation that has endured a year of crisis, anchored by a coronavirus pandemic, and that has impacted every facet of American life.
“America is all about people,” he said. “I sought this office to restore the soul of America…to restore the backbone of America…the middle class.”
Part of that restoration involves what Biden believes is the much-needed unification of the country, which was all too present on Election night, when the country seemed bitterly divided between red and blue.
“Let’s give each other a chance,” he emphasized. “It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric. See each other again. Listen to each other again. We have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. They’re Americans. This is the time to heal in America.”
For her part, Harris delivered a buoyant speech, rooted in the struggles of both the women’s suffrage movement and the fight for equality led by Black Americans.
“We the people have the power to build a better future,” she said. “When our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America.”
She made note of the struggles that Americans have endured during the coronavirus pandemic that has infected nearly 10 million citizens and caused over 237,000 deaths.
“I know times have been challenging, especially the last seven months,” she said. “We’ve also witnessed your courage, resilience, and the generous ity of your spirit.”
Harris thanked voters for the confidence that they’ve placed in the historic ticket. In January, she will be the first female, first Black, and first Indian American vice president in American history.
“You delivered a clear message,” she said. “You chose hope and unity, decency, science and yes, truth.”
Before Harris departed the stage, her closing message emphasized the challenges that were ahead, but with the spirit of unity in mind.
“The road ahead will not be easy,” she said. “But America is ready, and so are Joe and I.”
WATCH: Highlights from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris victory speeches