Hillary Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday, July 28, 2016. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)
Hillary Clinton accepted her party’s nomination on Thursday night, officially becoming the first woman nominee of a major American political party.
“It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for President of the United States,” Clinton said to an electrified arena.
The historic milestone did not go unmarked, with Clinton casting it as a key moment for women and men.
“Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come,” Clinton said. “Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. Happy for boys and men, too – because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone.”
“When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit,” Clinton said.
Clinton laid out her vision for the country and her assessment of its current state. She described a country that is unmatched in its diversity, its tolerance, it ingenuity, and its freedom.
“So don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak— we’re not,” Clinton said. “Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes.”
But she painted the election as a dire moment for the country, and the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency as a “moment of reckoning.”
“Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart,” Clinton said. “Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.”
“It’s truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we’re going to work together so we can all rise together,” Clinton said.
She added: “Yes, the world is watching what we do.”
Alluding to Republican President Ronald Reagan, Clinton said that Trump is taking the country and his party away from from “Morning in America” to “Midnight in America.”
“He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise,” Clinton said.
She accused Trump of lacking the “temperament” to be commander-in-chief.”
“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” Clinton said. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”
She made an explicit plea that Americans who shared her vision for the country should “join us.”
Clinton’s speech caps a week that featured speakers who helped to tell the story of Clinton’s biography — beginning with former President Bill Clinton and on Thursday night, her daughter Chelsea Clinton.
Building off of their stories, Clinton told the story of her mother, Dorothy Rodham, who had been abandoned as a young girl but worked to pay her way through school and raised her children in a middle class suburban Chicago neighborhood.
“The lesson she passed on to me years later stuck with me: No one gets through life alone,” Clinton said.
Citing Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week, Clinton denounced his claim that “I alone can fix it.”
“Don’t believe anyone who says: “I alone can fix it,” Clinton said. “Those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland. And they should set off alarm bells for all of us.
“Remember: Our Founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power,” she added.
As Clinton spoke, she was confronted with the tensions that have been apparent in the arena all week. Supporters of her Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders booed loudly from their seats, sometimes chanting “No More Wars.”
They waved signs opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and citing the WikiLeaks hack that revealed thousands of embarrassing emails from Democratic Party officials who were critical of Sanders and his campaign.
Throughout the night, Clinton’s backers attempted to drown them out with chants of “Hillary! Hillary!”
Still, in the midst of persistent heckling, Clinton thanked Sanders and pledged to continue his cause.
“To all of your supporters here and around the country: I want you to know, I’ve heard you,” she told them. “Your cause is our cause.’
Clinton faces the challenge of both acknowledging the economic and social anxiety in the country, while also presenting a positive outlook for the country’s future that contrasts with the more dire predictions that have been recently made by many republicans.
“We are clear-eyed about what our country is up against,” Clinton said. “But we are not afraid.”
“We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have,” she added.