Aug 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden offers himself as an "ally of the light"

Photo: Olivier Douilery/AFP via Getty Images

In last night's acceptance speech, Joe Biden never said President Trump's name. The former vice president used the biggest stage of his 50 years in politics to humanize himself, with the intended subtext: "I am you. You are me."

If you didn’t know anything about Biden before last night, you’d remember four things: He conquered a childhood stutter, he lost his wife and daughter, found redemption and joy in Jill, then encountered grief again when Beau died.

Why it matters: A country burying its dead is being offered a chance to hire someone who knows how to grieve.

  • The Biden campaign thinks the election will hinge on the coronavirus response.

Biden set his priorities — as well as expectations — by saying he would do on the coronavirus "what we should have done from the very beginning."

  • "We'll put the politics aside and take the muzzle off our experts so the public gets the information they need and deserve. The honest, unvarnished truth. They can deal with that."
  • "We'll have a national mandate to wear a mask — not as a burden, but to protect each other. It's a patriotic duty."

Between the lines: From the perspective of Trump aides, Biden did everything they wish he wouldn't.

  • He didn’t stumble or jumble, making it more difficult for Republicans to attack him as unfit.
  • "Morning" Joe Scarborough called Biden's tone "Reaganesque."

Biden said he "will be an ally of the light":

The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division. ...
May history be able to say that the end of this chapter of American darkness began here tonight as love and hope and light joined in the battle for the soul of the nation.

Grace note ... Setting the fireworks after the speech to a song by Beau's favorite band, Coldplay, was a way for Biden to share the milestone with a child he had hoped might ascend to the presidency himself.

Go deeper: Video and more quotes from Biden's speech

  • Axios' David Nather and Alexi McCammond contributed reporting.
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