The Democratic National Convention is well underway in Philadelphia and has brought a mix of the brightest and brashest to the forefront of American politics. With the party gathered, it has set the stage for Hillary Clinton to begin campaigning as the party’s official nominee for President of the United States.
In the midst of protests representing a sharp divide among Democrats—namely the vocal supporters of once-hopeful candidate Bernie Sanders—Clinton has made history, securing the position as first woman to be chosen by a major party to run for the position. Tuesday night’s events kicked off with a pro-feminist introduction by actress Meryl Streep, and performance by singer/songwriter Alicia Keys, after which Clinton appeared via satellite. She cheered alongside her supporters and decreed that Democrats “just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling.”
Prior to her appearance, Clinton’s husband, President Bill Clinton, exalted her in his address, outlining the raw passion for good that has driven Clinton for decades. “In my experience, it’s a pretty good idea to follow her advice,” he said. The former president chronicled his wife’s history as a family woman and as a relentless force in politics, evidenced by her progressive record.
President Clinton’s speech might have taken an unusual tack, but its mission was clear: to portray Hillary Clinton as a real woman. Using his trademark simple language, his speech was interwoven with poignant details of their family lives. The unusually intimate and romantic angle allowed President Clinton to portray his wife as a relatable American with true “change maker” qualities. “A real change maker represents a real threat,” he said, defending the potential of the former First Lady to apply herself as wholly to the presidency as she has to other positions in politics and personal life.
The anecdotal approach allowed President Clinton to traverse his family’s life outside the White House. President Clinton’s lengthy address to the crowd, whose sea of signs reading “America” and “Change Maker,” included a subtle-but-not-unheard declare that “Hillary will make us stronger together.”
His words echoed that of Michelle Obama’s address the previous night, in which the First Lady emphasized the importance of family and children as the country enters into a modern, aggressive future. Using personal pronouns “I” and “our,” she discussed generational impact on violence, bigotry, and international relations more than party-specific impact. Ultimately, she endorsed Clinton as the best woman for the job, one that requires being “steady and measured and well-informed.” The First Lady added, quite simply, “I’m with her.”
Yesterday’s formal nomination set the former Senator and Secretary of State up to campaign on behalf of the Democratic party, which is seeking to placate the angered supporters of Sanders. Unwilling to cede their ideals in favor of Clinton’s, the protestors have been crowding Independence Mall, City Hall and in front of the Wells Fargo Center. Their actions have called for celebrities, such as comedienne Sarah Silverman, an ardent supporter of Sanders, to request protestors calm their rowdiness and back the party’s choice.
Adding to the growing frustration within the party is DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who, along with her team, has been allegedly skewing the Democrats’ stance. Over the weekend, hackers shared on Wikileaks a slew of emails revealing an effort by Wasserman Schultz and several of her colleagues to undermine Sanders’ campaign. While it is unclear who the hackers are—some on Clinton’s staff have suggested it was a Russian group hoping to support Republican nominee Donald J. Trump—it has forced an early exit for Wasserman Schultz, who was originally set to leave her position come January.
Clinton’s nomination, however significant, comes on shaky ground, within a divided party. Still, she has a strong legion of supporters hoping to propel her all the way through the glass ceiling, not just cracking it, but shattering it. The coming days will include speeches—and likely an endorsement—from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Clinton’s VP-elect Tim Kaine.