‘History made’: Clinton claims nomination

clinton cali

 

Hillary Clinton triumphantly claimed the Democratic nomination for president on Tuesday, calling for party unity to stop Donald Trump as she became the first woman in U.S. history to lead a major-party ticket.

“Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone, the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee,” she announced to thunderous applause at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The victory puts Clinton, a former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady, on a collision course with Trump, the unlikely and outspoken outsider who claimed the Republican nomination last month. It is a fall match-up of stunning contrasts, and one that’s expected to be nasty, brutish and long — a five-month slog of personal attacks and invective that has already begun.

Trump had a month headstart, but he mostly squandered his chance to unify the GOP ahead of the general election, spending recent days fending off charges of racism from some of the highest-ranking Republican in the country, including Speaker Paul Ryan.

Clinton is moving to consolidate Democratic support, with the notable help of President Barack Obama, who congratulated Clinton on her victory and spoke with her primary rival Bernie Sanders on Tuesday as the party leadership tries to nudge the Vermont senator to the exits.

But Sanders showed no sign of dropping out. “The struggle continues,” he said in Santa Monica, promising to fight until the Democratic convention.

The Clinton-Trump general election is expected to be a brawl with the pair each saddled with historically high disapproval ratings.

The two candidates are as far apart stylistically as they are politically. She is steeped in experience; he is an unabashed newcomer. She is politically cautious; he is politically incorrect. She has hammered his temperament; he has attacked her judgment.

The broadsides began immediately.

Moments after claiming the mantle as the first female nominee, Clinton proceeded to rip into Trump for his recent attacks on a judge’s ethnicity, his mocking of a disabled reporter and past comments about women.

“He wants to win by stoking fear and rubbing salt in wounds and reminding us daily just how great he is,” she mocked.

Then Clinton delivered both a challenge and a warning to the public: “We are better than this. We won’t let this happen in America.”

Trump, who spoke earlier in the evening, announced an event next week, likely on Monday, dedicated entirely to flaying “all the things taking place with the Clintons.”

He offered an early taste. “The Clintons have turned the politics of personal enrichment into an artform for themselves,” he said.

“Hillary Clinton turned the State Department into her private hedge fund,” Trump continued. “The Russians, the Saudis, the Chinese all gave money to Bill and Hillary and got favorable treatment in return.”

Clinton officially crossed the 2,383 delegate threshold to clinch the nomination in anti-climactic fashion on Monday, with the Associated Press announcing its canvass of superdelegates revealed she had hit the magic number.

She partied anyway on Tuesday as she won New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico and the evening’s biggest prize, California. Sanders took North Dakota and Montana.

As the polls closed, Clinton changed her Twitter avatar to include a declaration: “History made.”

“To every little girl who dreams big: Yes, you can be anything you want—even president. Tonight is for you,” she personally signed a tweet with a picture of her with a female toddler.

Clinton’s victory address occurred on exactly the eight-year anniversary of her concession to then-Sen. Barack Obama. “It may be hard to see tonight, but we are all standing under a glass ceiling right now. But don’t worry, we’re not smashing this one,” she said Tuesday in a nod to her famous 2008 concession speech, in which she declared that she had failed to “shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling” but that her voters had created “18 million cracks” in it.

That 2008 speech represented her call for party unity. Now she turns to the urgent task of bringing together a Democratic Party whose progressive wing has resisted her ascent to the White House for almost a decade, first backing Obama in 2008 and then Sanders in 2016.

Sanders has rejected calls to quit, even as Clinton has mathematically claimed the nomination. He has argued that superdelegates included in her count are not legally bound to support her and could still change their minds. In modern history there is no precedent for superdelegates disagreeing with the will of the voters; Sanders trails Clinton badly in votes, states and pledged delegates won.

Saying “I’m pretty good at arithmetic,” Sanders said he recognized it was a “very, very steep fight.”

On Thursday, Obama and Sanders are set to meet at the White House, at Sanders’ request, according to the White House press secretary.

Even as Sanders has refused to line up behind Clinton, he has embraced his potential role as a prominent surrogate to whack Trump. “The American people will never support a candidate whose major theme is bigotry,” he said.

Trump has been embroiled in drama over his repeated accusations that the Hispanic-American judge overseeing the lawsuit against Trump University could not be impartial because of his Mexican heritage. Speaker Paul Ryan called those comments “the textbook definition of a racist comment” on Tuesday, and Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois became the most prominent Republican to withdraw his endorsement of Trump, saying, “I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee.”

Trump issued a lengthy and lawyerly statement Tuesday saying his comments had been “misconstrued” and said he would speak no more on the matter. But he later went on Fox News with Sean Hannity to talk more about the topic, telling his GOP critics, “They have to get over it, ideally.”

Trump dropped the usual bombast in a subdued election night speech delivered via teleprompter on Tuesday that won plaudits from GOP leaders who have been calling on him to pivot, change and evolve for months.

“Exactly the right approach and perfectly delivered,” praised Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Twitter.

Trump himself, without apologies, signaled he’s ready to take on the role of Republican standard-bearer. “I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle, and I will never, ever let you down,” he said. “Too much work, too many people, blood, sweat and tears.”

“Never gonna let you down,” he pledged.

 

Comments are closed.