In a historic moment at last night’s conclusion to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination. The first woman for any major political party to do so, she will now begin her campaign against Republican nominee Donald J. Trump for President of the United States.
For its duration, the convention was full of celebrities, political heavyweights and everyday Americans, all seeking to unify the party. The last night was no exception. Among the evening’s speakers was Khizr Khan, the immigrant father of a Muslim American soldier. He revealed that Clinton had praised his late son, calling him “the best of America.” In a dig at Clinton’s opponent, Khan went on to offer Trump his personal copy of the United States Constitution, believing that the Republican might not familiar with it.
Katy Perry, a strong supporter of Clinton, performed her songs “Rise” and “Roar” and told the audience that “on November 8th, you’ll be just as powerful as any NRA lobbyist.” Clinton’s daughter Chelsea also took the stage, lauding her mother’s attentiveness to her grandchildren, highlighting the nominee’s tendency towards compassion, and echoing the family theme of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Clinton-supporting speech from Tuesday night.
To further augment the notion that Clinton is family-oriented above all else, a reference of Clinton’s work with the Children’s Defense Fund was included in a video introduction. Narrated by actor Morgan Freeman and produced by the highly lauded television writer Shonda Rhimes, it outlined Clinton’s life as both a family woman and a politician. Interviews with her friends, husband, President Obama, a 9/11 first responder, and Clinton herself made attempts to humanize the nominee, which, by the crowd’s reaction, was successful.
Clinton took the stage to a standing ovation on Thursday night. She began her speech by emphasizing the significance of the support of her family, but then, in a moment of grace and humbleness Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters were not expecting, she turned to her former competitor. Clinton thanked Sanders for beginning a dialogue with his supporters—primarily the nation’s youngest voters—about the “economic and social justice issues” that the Democratic party has determined should be at the forefront of its platform. She also thanked him for running a campaign that “inspired millions of Americans” to take a stance on these political issues that will be critical to the party going into the November election. “Your cause is our cause,” she told Sanders backers.
Throughout her speech, Clinton touched upon issues ranging from gun control laws to climate change to foreign policy and trade. Her commentary on each took an unsurprising liberal view, but also addressed moderates and conservatives. Clinton spent an hour reminding the nation of its “E Pluribus Unum” motto, condemning Trump for his attempts to divide the country and asserting that her policies favor the citizens as a single body of people.
Prior to Thursday’s conclusion, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Clinton’s running mate Senator Tim Kaine spoke on her behalf, agreeing about the potential of America as a body of people. Together, they urged pro-Sanders Democrats that Clinton is the right person to face off against Trump in this election.
With a party-wide concern of the Republican nominee hovering over the crowd, Obama secured his position as a key member in Clinton’s campaign, enthusiastically backing Clinton. Kaine once again took the opportunity to introduce himself in a large public setting, much needed since he’s led a moderately quite political career thus far. Unlike Obama and Kaine, Biden had a more virulent approach, accusing Trump of using “a bunch of malarkey” to manipulate the country to favor the white elite. Biden’s use of that term summarized the impact of this year’s DNC in particular: people of all races, ages and genders unifying around inspiring words, not ones filled with hate.
There certainly was no shortage of uplifting moments throughout the DNC, though it was sprinkled with its share of mire. Clinton will now try to carry that unifying spirit, which was solidified significantly in Philadelphia, through the coming months.