A poised Hillary Clinton officially accepted the Democratic nomination for president Thursday during a sprawling speech steeped in history, as she became the first woman from a major party to be nominated for the position.
Clinton shared an emotional embrace with her daughter Chelsea Clinton, whom introduced her to the crowd just after 10 p.m. In her remarks, Chelsea portrayed Clinton as a doting mother and grandmother who was always there for her in her time of need. It was the sort of personal touch some observers suggested had been missing from her campaign.
Clinton, the former first lady, U.S. Secretary of State, and U.S. Senator from New York, spoke for about an hour as she outlined why the American public should trust her to sit in the Oval Office. Her speech also served as a stinging rebuke of her Republican competitor Donald Trump, who she cast as woefully unfit to be president.
“America is once again at a moment of reckoning,” said Clinton, as she spoke about American patriots in Philadelphia more than 200 years ago, who, despite their differences, banded together to “stand up to a King.”
“Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart,” she added. “Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.”
Speaking of her rival, Clinton ridiculed the reality TV star and real estate tycoon for having thin skin when provoked.
“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” Clinton told the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”
Clinton also used the moment to reach out to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) supporters—saying, “Your cause is our cause”—and acknowledging that when it comes to public service, “the ‘service’ part has always come easier.”
That’s just a taste of what happened Thursday during the closing day at the DNC.
As we say goodbye—thankfully—to convention season, here are four takeaways from Day 4 at the DNC.
Breaking the glass ceiling
Clinton became the first woman from a major U.S. political party to be nominated for president, an achievement that wasn’t lost on her Thursday night.
“Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come,” she 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,” Clinton continued. “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit. So let’s keep going, until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves.”
Once criticized by Trump for using the “Woman Card,” Clinton embraced the comment.
“In America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it,” she said, while explaining that small businesses need a boost. “We’re going to help you balance family and work. And you know what, if fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the ‘Woman Card,’ then deal me in!”
Clinton is not the first woman to be a presidential nominee. Most recently, Green Party candidate Jill Stein ran in 2012 and is the party’s candidate again for this election.
Still, the former chief U.S. diplomat’s nomination has served as an inspiration for countless women.
Clinton accepts limitations
The Democratic nominee prodded Trump for suggesting during his convention speech that he alone would cure all of America’s ills.
One of his major claims last week in Cleveland was that he’d rid American streets of crime.
“Don’t believe anyone who says: ‘I alone can fix it,’” Clinton told the crowd Thursday.
“Really? I alone can fix it? Isn’t he forgetting troops on the front lines? Police officers and firefighters who run toward danger? Doctors and nurses who care for us? Teachers who change lives?”
Clinton was making the point that running a country isn’t a job for one person—even a president.
“None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community, or lift a country totally alone,” she said. “America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger.”
Khizr Khan steals the show
One of the most powerful moments of the convention did not belong to one of the A-list politicians that took the stage over the course of four days, but to Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen Muslim U.S. soldier.
Khan’s role was clear, given Trump’s proposals over the course of the primary and now the presidential campaign. Trump has called for foreign Muslims to be banned from the United States, suggested Muslims be placed in a database and tracked, and called for surveillance of mosques in the country.
Khan’s speech had the crowd in Philadelphia on its feet as he honored his son and lamented that his child would never be able to live out his dream of fighting for his country if policies Trump has proposed were in place when he emigrated here.
Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq in 2004 after he ordered his soldiers to back away from an oncoming vehicle filled with explosives. While they took cover, Khan approached the car and lost his life when it exploded.
“If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America,” Khan said. “Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges; even his own party leadership.”
“Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future,” an emotional Khan continued. “Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States constitution?” Khan then pulled out a pocket-sized copy from his suit jacket, prompting cheers from the crowd.
“I will gladly lend you my copy,” he told Trump.
Khan wasn’t done.
“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities.”
In his most stinging rebuke, Khan said: “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
The speech prompted enthusiastic cheers in the arena and online.
Khizr Khan's speech is so moving. Really the standout moment of the convention.
— emily nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) July 29, 2016
I just watched the Khizr Khan speech again & cried because we're having an election about whether we value people like him and his late son.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) July 29, 2016
#KhizrKhan's daughter in law told me he's kept that worn out copy of the Constitution in his coat pockets for as long as she's known him.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) July 29, 2016
Khizr Khan's speech is one of the most powerful I've seen during this election. Wow.
— Taegan Goddard (@politicalwire) July 29, 2016
In case anyone is wondering who #KhizrKhan's son is, here's who: pic.twitter.com/kWYtHpPUCk
— Jonah Blank (@JonahBlank) July 29, 2016
Conservatives also embraced Khan’s speech.
The Khizr Khan speech is just going to enrage Trumpkins because somewhere inside, it made them ashamed.
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) July 29, 2016
If you are a Republican, you should watch this and be ashamed of what you have done. https://t.co/08BPZU5G3R
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 29, 2016
Watch Khan’s full speech:
Reeling in Bernie Sanders’ supporters
It’s clear that after all the reconciliation, teaming with Sanders to pen a progressive Democratic platform and continuous nods to the Vermont Senator during the course of four days, Clinton is still trying to court his loyal supporters.
Clinton formally thanked Sanders for inspiring millions to get involved in the political process. And she wasn’t shy about appealing to those key voters, mostly young people, on a national stage.
“To all of your supporters here and around the country: I want you to know, I’ve heard you,” she claimed. “Your cause is our cause. Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion. That’s the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America. We wrote it together–now let’s go out there and make it happen together.”
There were reports of Sanders’ supporters openly protesting Clinton’s speech verbally or through silent demonstrations.
A Sanders supporter from Long Island who spoke to the Press following Day 2 of the convention said she wouldn’t vote for Clinton on Election Day. Why? The way she framed it, there are many people who still don’t trust her. She also met many protesters in Philadelphia who still can’t bring themselves to vote for her. But there are a large number of Sanders primary voters who have said they’ll be voting for Clinton, even if it’s simply an anti-Trump vote.
Clinton has 100 days left in the campaign to convince them to back her. That’s a lot of time. But that also gives Trump ample opportunity to reach out to Independents who voted for Sanders and try to sway them, too.
Whatever the case, Election Day can’t come soon enough.
(Featured photo: Adam Schultz for Hillary for America/flickr)