Joe Biden has formally clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, setting him up for a bruising challenge to President Donald Trump that will play out against the unprecedented backdrop of a pandemic, economic collapse and civil unrest.
The former vice president has effectively been his party’s leader since his last challenger in the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders, ended his campaign in April. But Biden pulled together the 1,991 delegates needed to become the nominee after seven states and the District of Columbia held presidential primaries Tuesday.
Biden reached the threshold three days after the primaries because several states, overwhelmed by huge increases in mail ballots, took days to tabulate results.
Heading into Super Tuesday, Biden was the underdog. He lost contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada and was struggling to fundraise.
Then, Biden scored a huge win in South Carolina on February 29, thanks in large part to endorsements and support from prominent black Democrats in the state. Following the South Carolina race, opponents Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden.
Biden was able to parlay his success in South Carolina into a massive Super Tuesday which catapulted the former vice president from underdog to favorite overnight.
As the spread of COVID-19 forced Biden and opponent Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail, Sanders opted to drop out after the Wisconsin primary, leaving Biden standing alone.
Biden will formally be nominated in August at the Democratic National Convention. The convention is slated to be held in Milwaukee, but it’s unknown if the coronavirus could interfere with having an in-person event.
Biden issued the following statement late Friday:
A little more than three months ago I stood on stage in South Carolina and told the American people that ours was a campaign for everyone who has been knocked down, counted out, and left behind. Those words take on an ever greater resonance today, at a time when so many Americans are hurting and have suffered so much loss. So many feel knocked down by the public health and economic crisis we are weathering. So many feel counted out and left behind by a society that has for too long viewed them as less than equal, their lives as less than precious.
This is a difficult time in America’s history. And Donald Trump’s angry, divisive politics is no answer. The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us. Leadership that can bring us together. We need an economy that works for everyone — now. We need jobs that bring dignity — now. We need equal justice — and equal opportunities — for every American now. We need a president who cares about helping us heal — now.
It was an honor to compete alongside one of the most talented groups of candidates the Democratic party has ever fielded — and I am proud to say that we are going into this general election a united party. I am going to spend every day between now and November 3rd fighting to earn the votes of Americans all across this great country so that, together, we can win the battle for the soul of this nation, and make sure that as we rebuild our economy, everyone comes along.
Today, I’m once again asking every American who feels knocked down, counted out, and left behind, to join our campaign. Because we aren't just building the movement that will defeat Donald Trump, we are building the movement that will transform our nation. I truly believe that when we stand together, finally, as One America, we will rise stronger than before. This is the United States of America. There is nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.