Call it Joe Biden’s “return to normalcy” speech.
That was Warren G Harding’s campaign slogan when he ran for president in 1920, with a campaign centred around healing and calming Americans after the trauma of World War One.
In his winning presidential bid, he preached healing, serenity and restoration. To put it in modern terms, an end to all the drama.
Mr Biden bills his campaign as a “battle for the soul of this nation”, but his message on Thursday night – the message of many of the Democratic speakers this week – was not so different from Harding’s.
Words kept recurring: Dignity. Normalcy. Decency. Integrity. Stability. Sanity. Family. Big-hearted. Justice. Respect. Faith. Hope. Love. There was little about policy from Biden, and certainly no laundry list of proposals and promises. There was no attempt to throw red meat to the political left. This was about healing and recovery.
As Joe Biden formally became the Democratic presidential nominee, a 13-year-old boy from New Hampshire emerged as the virtual convention’s highlight.
He closed his speech with a plea to US voters: “Kids like me are counting on you to elect someone we can all look up to, someone who cares, someone who will make our country and the world feel better.”