Did You Know
Did You Know
Democrats officially nominated Hillary Clinton as their standard-bearer in the presidential contest on Tuesday, sealing her position as the first female nominee of a major party in US history at the Democratic national convention in Philadelphia.
While Clinton had already met the threshold of the 2,383 delegates required to clinch the nomination and beat Bernie Sanders through her primary victories, the official vote was a significant moment in American political history despite lingering discord within the party.
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Follow live updates from the second night of the DNC with Bill Clinton speaking after Hillary Clinton is formally nominated in a historic roll call
Although Clinton finished the Democratic primary with 2,807 delegates, compared with Sanders’ 1,894, a faction of the Vermont senator’s supporters arrived at the convention threatening a floor fight – or contested vote on the floor – over the nomination. They were further emboldened by leaked emails showing personal bias toward Clinton among officials at the Democratic National Committee, a controversy that culminated on Sunday in the resignation of party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
But in a bid for party unity, the campaigns of both Clinton and Sanders agreed to hold a vote that allowed Sanders delegates to show their support for the progressive senator, who defied all expectations by creating a grassroots movement across the country.
In another symbolic gesture, it was Sanders who called for the party to unanimously nominate Clinton when the roll call vote reached its completion with the Vermont delegation. The moment echoed the 2008 Democratic convention, when Clinton ended the roll call vote with a similar call for acclamation for Barack Obama from the New York delegation.
“Madam chair, I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules,” said Sanders. “I move that Hillary Clinton be elected as the nominee of the Democratic party.”
Suspense mounted across the giant Philadelphia arena as state delegates took to turn to declare votes and announce Clinton’s lead with growing solemnity.
Many seemed swept up in a sense of history in the making as they pointed out again and again that she was the first female nominee of any major American party.
“Tonight we will shatter that glass ceiling again,” said civil rights leader John Lewis as he seconded Clinton’s nomination and heralded her as a fitting successor to Obama.
“It’s a day you will be able to say I was there when we nominated Hillary Clinton as the first president,” added Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe as he spoke immediately after Clinton crossed the line.
South Dakota, the state of Mount Rushmore, with its monumental carving of our great American presidents, was enough to put her “over the top” – providing enough delegates to ensure a majority for Clinton around 6.30pm – but unlike Republicans last week, there was no marking of the moment inside the hall.
Instead, the momentum was allowed to build throughout the roll call until at least it was left to Sanders’ home state of Vermont to read the final results.
A sea of multi-coloured Hillary placards fluttered across the floor of the hall, testimony to a sense that Democrats had at last united after a bitterly-fought battle between Clinton and Sanders that was still overshadowing proceedings the day before. Happy by Pharrell Williams boomed across the arena.
Hundreds of disgruntled Sanders supporters stormed the media tents after Clinton officially clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, immediately staging a sit-in in the central media filing center as local and state law-enforcement officials appeared unsure what to do.
There was still heavy emotion among Sanders supporters, particularly when the senator’s older brother Larry emerged to read the results from the Democratic primary abroad. Larry Sanders, who lives in the UK, was in tears as he described how proud their parents would have been to see his brother come so far with such a radical agenda.
Yet the overwhelming sense that a bigger glass ceiling was being shattered on Tuesday with the first steps down the path toward putting a woman in the White was on everyone’s lips in the Philadelphia hall.
Speaking from the floor of the arena as Clinton’s historic moment was announced, Grindly Johnson, a Virginia delegate from Richmond who is supporting Clinton, said: “I’m ecstatic. I don’t even have the words. I grew up in segregated America and now a woman might follow a black man in the White House. I wish my parents were alive to see this.”
“This is Democracy at its best,” said Sibal Holt, a Louisiana delegate from Alexandria, after Sanders nominated his 2016 rival.
Davante Lewis, a delegate from Louisiana who supported Sanders, said he had mixed emotions after the roll call.
“I’m proud of our party that we have nominated a woman and have broken that glass ceiling,” he said. But Lewis said he would follow Sanders’ example and support Clinton in November.
“We cannot let Donald Trump be president,” Lewis said. “And right now Bernie Sanders’ supporters are [the] biggest threat to [Trump’s] becoming president of the United States.”
Jerrold Nadler, a New York congressman who has known both Clinton and Sanders for decades, said he was confident the party would now come together.
“I think Bernie has done an excellent job of bringing the party in the right direction and I’m glad to see the two of them [Sanders and Clinton] are unified,” he said.
“We essentially have an authoritarian, racist catastrophe waiting on one side. Hillary gives us the ability to have a forward-looking, progressive administration to make prosperity more widely available.”
Nadler, a vocal progressive on Capitol Hill, also said the vast majority of Sanders’ supporters would ultimately rally behind Clinton when faced with the reality of a potential Trump presidency.
“He certainly does not represent any kind of modern or progressive politics,” Nadler said of the Republican nominee.
“Every couple of generation we get this kind of poison in our politics. We have to get it through our system and we usually end up apologizing for it 20 years later.”
Earlier the Clinton campaign said it hoped that as the enormity of the gender breakthrough sunk in, it would to eclipse the troubled path to victory that has led up to this moment.
Democrats were hopeful that Tuesday’s proceedings might prove the rallying cry the party needs as it prepares for a general election battle with Republican nominee Donald Trump, who was formally nominated at his party’s convention in Cleveland last week.
A faction of Sanders’ supporters have maintained they will not back Clinton, and even booed at the mention of her name throughout the convention’s first day of proceedings. Their defiance remained even as Sanders, who endorsed his former rival earlier this month, delivered an impassioned plea for her candidacy during a primetime speech on Monday.
After running through the many of the issues he has advocated for in his campaign, Sanders insisted it was only through Clinton that the agenda shared by him and his supporters would be achievable.
“By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” Sanders said.
The senator subsequently faced backlash from disappointed supporters during a surprise appearance at a breakfast meeting of the California delegation on Tuesday. As some jeered upon his arrival, Sanders urged them to keep the election in perspective.
“It is easy to boo,” he said. “But it is harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under a Donald Trump presidency.”