Democrats formally nominated Joe Biden for president on Tuesday.
The messaging was implicit in the selection of 17 "rising star" Democrats to replace a traditional keynote address. It was reinforced by Biden's wife, who struck a poignant note in closing out the evening.
"The heart of this nation still beats with kindness and courage," Jill Biden said from a classroom in Delaware. "That's the soul of America Joe Biden is fighting for now."
The message was made more visual with the unusual but striking roll-call vote that took viewers to 57 states and territories to make Biden's nomination official. From farms to beaches to small businesses to an already-Internet-famous plate of calamari, mundane convention business became an uplifting virtual road tour for a cooped-up nation.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Biden said from a school library, surrounded by family members and some balloons and streamers, marking the most unusual moment.
The convention turned more serious quickly. Biden's reliance on and appeal to the concept of team governance was explicit in the testimonials offered by a wide range of Democrats and Republicans -- former presidents and secretaries of state on down to local elected officials.
They praised Biden -- mentioning friendships and partnerships along the way.
"It's Trump's 'us vs. them' America against Joe Biden's America, where we all live and work together," former president Bill Clinton said.
"In democracy, we do not elect saviors," said Stacey Abrams, a former Georgia lawmaker who rocketed into vice-presidential consideration this year. "We stand with Joe Biden."
The late Sen. John McCain's widow, Cindy, spoke of the friendship between the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and the 2020 Democratic candidate: "They would just sit and joke. It was like a comedy show sometimes to watch the two of them," McCain said in a recorded segment.
Colin Powell, who was chairman of the joint chiefs of staff for one Republican president and secretary of state for another: "Our country needs a commander in chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family."
John Kerry, a former Senate colleague who served as secretary of state in the Obama-Biden administration: "Joe's moral compass has always pointed in the right direction."
Biden has referred to himself as "transition candidate" and a "bridge" to a next generation of leaders. Trump, who famously declared "I alone can fix it" at his 2016 convention, has been attacking Biden as a vessel for the far left.
It won't always be easy to run the unruly team that is the Democratic Party. One brief reminder came when one of the most prominent young Democrats in the nation -- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. -- gave a nominating speech for Sen. Bernie Sanders praising his "historic grassroots campaign to reclaim our democracy."
She later clarified on Twitter that she is now supporting Biden.
Yet such moments have been brief at this convention. Controlling the microphones and speaking times is one upshot for a campaign running a convention in the age of COVID-19.
Emerging out of a jammed program -- compressed into fewer hours, though spread among far more places -- is a Biden vision that draws on personal tragedy as well as professional partnerships. It's decency vs. division and a measure of optimism in a time of despair.
"How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole -- with love and understanding, and with small acts of kindness," Jill Biden said.
This report was featured in the Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.
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