Democratic strategists predict policy-focused acceptance speech from Biden
© Greg Nash

Democratic strategists are expecting the party's newly minted presidential nominee, Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE, to present an optimistic, policy-focused plan for the country when he gives his speech Thursday evening on the final night of the party's virtual convention.

Patti Solis Doyle, a partner at strategy firm The Brunswick Group and a former campaign chief of staff to Biden during the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, said that while voting President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE out of office is the unifying “North Star” for Democrats, Biden will take center stage tonight promoting his policy proposals rather than just presenting himself as the anti-Trump option.

“What you’re going to see from Joe is a true vision for the future,” Solis Doyle told The Hill's Steve Clemons at an event sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute. “It’s going to be hopeful.”


While Biden’s campaign had struggled to build enthusiasm among younger voters and progressives, Solis Doyle said the selection of Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Watch live: Biden participates in HBCU homecoming Jennifer Aniston: 'It's not funny to vote for Kanye' MORE (D-Calif.) as Biden's running mate has breathed new life into the campaign.

Democratic pollster Joel Benenson, who also spoke at Thursday's event, said voter turnout for a presidential reelection year is generated either through passion for the challenger or against the incumbent — and as long as Democrats are enthused about something, it bodes well for Biden’s chances, he added.

Benenson blamed Trump’s surprising 2016 win on antipathy for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBon Jovi to campaign with Biden in Pennsylvania The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in Biden gets late boost with key union endorsement MORE rather than excitement for Trump, and said strong anti-Trump sentiment among Democrats and independents, particularly in suburban areas, should similarly drive turnout for Biden in November at even higher levels than Trump’s supporters four years ago.

“The polling I’ve seen shows that the enthusiasm for voting against Donald Trump is extremely high and extremely intense,” Benenson said. “As long as you’re enthusiastic about voting for some reason that’s going to put you in my candidate’s camp, I’m going to take it.”

But Solis Doyle and Janet Murguía, the president of UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino advocacy group, said Democrats need to go further than anti-Trump sentiment to make long-term inroads with Latino voters, echoing a point made this week by former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who ran against Biden during the 2020 primary but has since endorsed the former vice president.

What Latinos want to see from Biden on Thursday night, Murguía said, is policy commitments. They are looking for Biden to successfully interweave discussing his values and character with his proposals, she added.

“We’ll be looking for specifics around health care, the economy, housing and education ... and of course immigration reform,” Murguía said. “All of these are issues that we care about as Latino voters, and we’ll want to see his commitment to a plan to put America back on track.”