Five key moments at the Democratic convention

July 29, 2016 9:53 am
Balloons come down on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine at the end of the Democratic National Convention © AFP / Saul Loeb

, Philadelphia, United States, Jul 29 – The Democratic Party gathered in sweltering Philadelphia for four days this week to nominate Hillary Clinton as their presidential nominee and catapult themselves toward November’s election.

Here are five key moments from the convention:

– Living history –

Standing before thousands of delegates and tens of millions of Americans watching at home, Clinton made history by becoming the first female nominee of a major political party.

“I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, and independents” Clinton declared to deafening cheers Thursday, as she made the case that America’s first black president should be followed by America’s first female president.

– The long goodbye –

If the convention was a coronation for Clinton, it was also the beginning of a long farewell to Barack and Michelle Obama as they prepare to leave the White House.

On Monday, the First Lady electrified the audience with a brief but deeply personal speech that heaped praise on Clinton and poured scorn on her rival.

“Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all of our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States,” she said.

On Wednesday, the penultimate night of the convention, Barack Obama showed why he is still considered one of the most talented orators of any political stripe.

In a sweeping address, he burnished his legacy, framed the election — not as a choice between Democrats and Republicans but between democrats and an authoritarian — and passed the torch to Clinton.

“Time and again, you’ve picked me up,” he told the crowd. “And I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too.”

“Thank you for this incredible journey.”

– Viva la revolucion! –

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Team Clinton.

The first days of the convention were plagued by sustained dissent from supporters of Clinton’s failed primary challenger Bernie Sanders who booed the very mention of Clinton’s name — including in an opening prayer.

Their anger was only made worse by the release of emails showing the supposedly neutral members of the Democratic National Committee pulling for Clinton.

– Summer of ’71 –

On Tuesday night, Bill Clinton took to the stage. But this was not an appearance by the fabled “big dog” of politics — it was Bill Clinton playing first gentleman.

He tried to soften his wife’s public image through a very personal story interweaving her story and his.

“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” he began.

Picking up the baton on Thursday, Chelsea Clinton described Hillary as a mother who read her “Goodnight Moon” and a grandmother who took breaks from politics to read “Chugga Chugga Choo Choo” to Chelsea’s daughter.

– Country first –

Perhaps the most emotional moment in the four-day convention came from Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim US soldier killed in Iraq.

His steely admonishment of Clinton’s Republican adversary Donald Trump at once electrified the convention and brought many to tears.

“If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America,” Khan said, describing his family as “patriotic American Muslims.”

“Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with their future, let me ask you — have you even read the United States Constitution?” he said, brandishing a copy.

“I will gladly lend you my copy!” Khan said, insisting Trump look for the word “liberty” and consult the 14th amendment, which guarantees equal protection before the law.

“Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery?” he demanded. “Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities.”

“You have sacrificed nothing, and no one!” he said.


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