Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed a virtual crowd of Florida Democrats Saturday night at the party’s Leadership Blue gala.
Speaking remotely from his home in Delaware, Biden offered familiar lines in what was a four-minute speech, a brief oration nonetheless brimming with recycled bromides.
“We need real leadership, we need it now,” Biden said.
Said leadership does not involve, he added, “waving the white flag of surrender” on “the real and present danger of COVID-19.”
The virtual convention, which was scheduled to last two hours but wrapped up within an hour, featured video clips of state and national party leaders, including Biden and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.
In a short video introducing the former Vice President, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn stressed the significance of Florida — a battleground state whose 29 electoral votes are considered critical for a White House win by Republicans and Democrats — in the upcoming presidential election.
“If he wins Florida, he becomes the next president of the United States, and we will move just a few steps closer to making the country’s greatness accessible and affordable for all,” Clyburn said.
Biden also stressed Florida as “incredibly important.”
“The stakes in this election have never been higher, they’ve never been higher in our history,” he noted, urging all communities to come together as “one America delivering justice for all Americans.”
“If we stand together, we’ll win the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden noted.
There were no technical difficulties in Saturday night’s speech, a deviation from a virtual rally back in May, where Biden and other notables addressed the crowd amid a cacophony of glitches, goofs, and gaffes.
Back in May, Biden’s message was obscured, at numerous points, due to the technical issues that precluded clear transmission of his words at that event.
The online convention robbed Democratic grassroots supporters of an opportunity to mingle with Biden, lesser-known candidates and one another.
Perhaps more important, the absence of a face-to-face fete prevented lesser-known candidates running for local or legislative seats from attending after-parties where critical connections are established and contributors stroke checks to candidates and political committees.
“Do you want to go see Billy Joel in concert or at a Zoom concert? There’s no way to describe both, except one is great and one is sorry,” John Morgan, an Orlando trial lawyer who hosted a fundraiser for Biden at one of his homes last year, told The News Service of Florida in a telephone interview.
The virtual convention — which cost $50 to attend and drew about 1,000 viewers — deprives people of “all that fellowship and all that goes with it,” including photos, said Morgan.
“People love pictures with other people. So they don’t get to take a selfie. They don’t get that. But at the end of the day, these conventions are really just about raising money. I’ve been to them, and they’re horrible,” he said.
Democrats on Saturday evening jabbed at Trump, DeSantis and other Republicans, who are holding their national convention next month in Jacksonville.
GOP leaders decided to move key parts of the convention from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville after Trump expressed displeasure that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, was “unable to guarantee” that coronavirus social-distancing requirements would be lifted before the event.
But as the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida continues to mount, Republican National Committee officials on Wednesday announced they were scaling back the convention.
Only regular delegates will be allowed to attend the first three days of the GOP convention, while they will be able to bring guests to hear Trump publicly accept the party’s nomination on Aug. 27.
Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.