LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — On Wednesday, former President Barack Obama unleashed on President Donald Trump, warning that the current administration would have no trouble tearing down America’s democracy in order to win.
And, also on Wednesday, history was made as Sen. Kamala Harris officially became the Democratic vice presidential nominee — the first Black and South Asian woman to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination. In her speech, she offered an optimistic view of the future, but also emphasized the country’s need to strive for racial justice.
“We’re at an inflection point,” she said. “The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: We can do better and deserve so much more.
“We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work,” she continued. “We must elect Joe Biden.”
As Harris delivered her vision for the future, she also delivered blow after blow against Trump.
“Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” she said. “If you’re a parent struggling with your child’s remote learning, or you’re a teacher struggling on the other side of that screen, you know that what we’re doing right now isn’t working.
“And we are a nation that’s grieving. Grieving the loss of life, the loss of jobs, the loss of opportunities, the loss of normalcy. And yes, the loss of certainty,” she continued. “This virus touches us all. We gotta be honest, it is not an equal opportunity offender. Black, Latino and Indigenous people are suffering and dying disproportionately. … And let’s be clear — there is no vaccine for racism. We’ve gotta do the work.”
Harris was not the only star on the virtual stage Wednesday night, as Obama spoke out in support of the newly-minted ticket.
“For eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision,” he said. “He made me a better president – and he’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country.”
The former president also unloaded on what he said was a lack of leadership from Trump.
“I have sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president,” Obama said. “I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care.
“But he never did,” he continued. “For close to four years now, he’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends.”
It was a night of Democratic leadership, including a speech from 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Remember in 2016 when Trump asked: ‘What do you have to lose?’ Well, now we know: our health care, our jobs, our loved ones, our leadership in the world and even our post office,” the former secretary of state said. “But let’s set our sights higher than getting one man out of the White House.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are going to give us so much to vote for,” she continued. “Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose — take it from me. So we need numbers overwhelming so Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”
Also speaking Wednesday night was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
“As Speaker of the House, I’ve seen firsthand Donald Trump’s disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular — disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct,” she said. “Joe Biden is the president we need right now.”
Earlier in the program, Democrats also took on hot-button policy issues such as climate change, gun violence and immigration while Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis and Mayor Eric Garcetti participated in a segment of the evening titled, “A More Perfect Economy,” featuring conversations with Biden and union workers as well as small business owners.
Other speakers included Sen. Elizabeth Warren, actresses Kerry Washington and Mariksa Hargitay, and performances by Billie Eilish, Prince Royce and Jennifer Hudson.
Another big theme of the evening was making a plan to vote — whether in person or by mail.
On Thursday, Biden will take center stage to lay out his vision for the future.