- Views & Opinions
Madame secretary accepted the presidential nomination from the Democratic Party July 28, putting the deepest, widest crack in the glass ceiling yet. Driving roar after roar from the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton forcefully explained why she is the best candidate for the White House and how she will become madame president.
Clinton, the first female nominee for president from a major U.S. party, had a lot of support from family — daughter Chelsea and husband Bill — and many friends, a solid contingent of progressive activists and political powerhouses, rising political stars and even entertainment stars.
On the fourth and final night of the convention, Katy Perry and Carole King performed for an audience in the center and millions in TV-land.
King performed “You’ve Got a Friend.” The song she wrote in 1971 echoed what so many of Clinton’s friends and colleagues said about the candidate from the podium:
“When you’re down and troubled
And you need some love and care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend.
Perry performed “Roar,” the pre-anthem to Clinton’s anthemic address, and, “oh, oh, oh,” did the crowd roar: “I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter/Dancing through the fire/ ‘Cause I am the champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar.”
The pop star, who has been campaigning with Clinton since the primary start in Iowa, urged people to vote. “On Nov. 8, you’ll be just as powerful as any NRA lobbyist,” Perry said. “You’ll have as much say as any billionaire. Or you can cancel out your weird cousin’s vote.”
Chelsea Clinton followed Perry to the stage to talk about a caring, compassionate woman with steely resolve to help people.
“People ask me all the time how she does it,” Chelsea Clinton said. “How she keeps going amid the sound and fury of politics. Here’s how. It’s because she never forgets who she’s fighting for.”
She left the stage while a video told the story of Hillary Clinton’s life and then the daughter returned to welcome her mother to the stage. To borrow from another Carole King song, the earth moved — or at least the arena rocked.
“Thank you! Thank you for that amazing welcome,” Clinton said.
She called for unity, because the nation is “stronger together” and the party is “stronger together.”
“America is once again at a moment of reckoning,” Clinton said. “Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together.”
She recited the national motto, e pluribus unum, out of many, we are one.
“Will we stay true to that motto?” Clinton said and then referred directly to general election opponent Donald Trump, who defeated a crowded field of candidates, including Scott Walker, for the GOP nomination.
“Well, we heard Donald Trump’s answer last week at his convention,” Clinton said. “He wants to divide us — from the rest of the world and from each other. He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise. He’s taken the Republican Party a long way, from ‘Morning in America’ to ‘Midnight in America.’ He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.
“Well,” Clinton continued, “a great Democratic president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than 80 years ago, during a much more perilous time. ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.'”
Aides said Clinton worked weeks on the speech, in which she had to tell the American people she is not the cartoon that the far left and the right has drawn.
Clinton made a direct appeal to independents, whose choice is a longtime Democratic leader or a Republican who’s abandoned traditional Republican values.
And she made a direct appeal to supporters of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who waged a hard-fought primary campaign with his progressive, political revolution.
“I’ve heard you,” she said to Sanders supporters. “Your cause is our cause.”
Still, in the arena, there were occasional boos from Sanders supporters, who wore neon shirts to stand out in the crowd and held signs that read “Get it done,” “Walk the walk” and “Keep your promises.”
Clinton supporters drowned every “boo” with rousing chants of “Hillary.”
After the convention, hard feelings remained evident between Sanders and Clinton supporters in the corridors of the Wells Fargo.
But when the red, white and blue balloons and confetti came down and golden fireworks shot up, there seemed to be only joy in the hall.
The Democrats ended their convention with polls showing Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine locked in a tight contest with Trump and running mate Mike Pence. Trump has no record in public office, but Pence is known nationwide for his anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT efforts as Indiana’s governor and a U.S. senator.
Trump had received a slight bump in his poll numbers after the GOP convention in Cleveland. But after a multitude of speeches and videos at the Democratic convention, the numbers already were shifting more in Clinton’s favor before she took the stage July 28.
“I’m an independent and I’ve heard what I needed to hear. I’m an independent for Hillary,” said convention-goer Mary Plumber of Camden, New Jersey. She had arrived hours early to the Wells Fargo Center to claim a seat for the historic night and was entertained with King’s soundcheck.
Plumber’s friend, Chrissy Nikomi of Philadelphia, also attended. She’s a longtime Clinton devotee who hoped her candidate could bring in more people to the campaign.
“It’s really hard out there, with all the false information and this myth created by the right and perpetuated by some on the left that she’s not trustworthy,” Nikomi said.
By the time Clinton took the stage to accept the nomination, dozens of speakers had declared their support and explained why she is the best-qualified person for the presidency.
First lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey delivered emotional and rousing speeches the first night of a convention that offered sunny optimism about America’s future but also much sadness about division in the United States.
The next night, Bill Clinton painted a loving portrait of the woman, wife, mother and advocate he admires.
On the third night, Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama and Kaine championed Clinton’s candidacy.
“She’s been there for us, even if we haven’t always noticed,” Obama said.
And those are just the biggest names to make the case.
Many others talked about Clinton and her years of dedication as activist, attorney, first lady, senator and secretary of state.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin joined other Democratic women of the U.S. Senate at the podiums on July 28.
“I entered public service to fight for health coverage for all, especially children and young adults. Hillary Clinton has led that fight for decades,” Baldwin said. “With the help of her relentless advocacy, 8 million children are insured and their families more secure. …That’s Hillary. As president, she’ll fight for healthier families and a fair shot for all.”
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin also addressed the convention on the fourth night, sketching contrasts between Clinton, who famously went to China decades ago to declare women’s rights are human rights, and Trump, who infamously has called women “pigs” and “dogs.”
“Pigs? Dogs? Disgusting? Too many women know where this toxic language leads,” said Moore. “Too many women have experienced sexual violence and abuse. And I’m one of them. But we are not victims. We are survivors. We have been bullied, beaten and berated. Told to sit down and to shut up. Well, my voice matters, and I won’t shut up.
“Our voices matter, and we won’t shut up. Women make our communities better — stronger each and every day. That’s why Hillary Clinton has spent her life fighting for us.”
Others spoke about Clinton’s work and policies on jobs and industry, civil rights and equality, immigration reform and the environment, diplomacy and national security. They also spoke of Trump’s lack of experience, as well as the Republican’s disinterest in national issues and disrespect for many people.
Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar introduced a film about Capt. Humayun Khan, one of 14 U.S. Muslim soldiers to die in the service since Sept. 11, 2001. In an unscripted moment, Abdul-Jabbar introduced himself as Michael Jordan because, he said, Trump can’t tell the difference.
Sarah McBride, the first transgender person to address a major party’s political convention, said, “Today in America, LGBTQ people are targeted by hate that lives in both laws and hearts. Many still struggle just to get by. But I believe tomorrow can be different. Tomorrow, we can be respected and protected — especially if Hillary Clinton is our president. And that’s why I’m proud to say that I’m with her.”
Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, introduced McBride with a high-energy speech that paid tribute to the victims of the massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June.
“While the nation mourned, Donald Trump strutted before the cameras and exploited a national tragedy,” Griffin said. “He had the audacity to tell the American public he was the true champion for LGBTQ people in this race and that our community would be better off with him in the White House. He even challenged his skeptics to ‘ask the gays.'”
Griffin, met Clinton as a closeted kid growing up in Arkansas. He said, “Long before Donald Trump struggled to read the letters ‘LGBTQ’ off a teleprompter, Hillary Clinton stood before the United Nations and boldly declared that gay rights are human rights.”
Twenty years before Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination for president in Philadelphia, Bill Clinton accepted the nomination for his re-election in Chicago.
At that convention, LGBT people anxiously waited to hear whether and how Bill Clinton would refer to gays in his acceptance speech.
At the Philadelphia convention, there was no question. Speaker after speaker spoke about equality and justice as delegates waved “Love trumps hate” signs and rainbow flags.
Hillary Clinton told them, “We will defend all our rights – civil rights, human rights and voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights, LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities! And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from.”
There was little rest for the candidate who, following the convention, was embarking on a bus tour of Pennsylvania and Ohio, crucial states in the general election. The tour was to begin with a rally at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Read Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech online.