History was made today at 3:39 PM PT when South Dakota put Hillary Clinton over the 2,382 delegates needed to make her the first woman to head a major political party’s presidential ticket.
Inside the convention hall, the tally was not put on a screen, to make sure all of Bernie Sanders’ delegates would get to be counted, though Clinton snagged it well before they plowed through the roll call, state-by-state, in alphabetical order.
When it came Vermont’s time to announce how its delegates were to be parsed out, the state passed, so that its senator, party disruptor Sanders, could have the final word.
The final state to deliver its delegates, Vermont cast 22 for Sanders, four for Clinton. After which Sanders took the microphone and, in a show of unity, moved that the convention suspend the rules and nominate Clinton by voice vote. It was adopted resoundingly.
The dramatic slow-motion history-making also had included Sanders’ brother. Larry Sanders spoke for the “Democrats Abroad” delegation, moving the senator to tears when he told the hall: “I want to read, before this convention, the names of our parents: Eli Sanders and Dorothy Glassberg Sanders. They did not have easy lives, and they died young. They would be immensely proud of their son and his accomplishments. They loved him.”
Also speaking was a female delegate from Arizona who, at more than 100 years old, was born before women had the right to vote in this country.
Sanders’ motion was an effort to help unify the party, after his supporters disrupted the first day of the convention, booing even their candidate when he mentioned Clinton. The DNC kicked off with tensions high, after a weekend Wikileaks dump of DNC emails confirmed Sanders’ long-held belief that DNC officials were working against him. DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz stunningly thought she’d still get to speak at the convention, announcing she’d step down when it wrapped. The two candidates were having none of that and she was ousted before it began.
The Sanders and Clinton campaigns worked overtime to try to ease tension inside the convention hall. And, by Monday night, things seemed to have calmed down a tad with speeches by First Lady Michelle Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who both backed Clinton emphatically, after which Sanders, who’d been moved to the keynote slot, told his delegates nobody was more disappointed than he, but they should consider how much more palatable it will be to support Clinton than to have to explain to their children how they let Donald Trump became POTUS.
The nomination ceremony began around 2 PM PT with three nominating speeches for Sanders — also carefully orchestrated. Nominating Sanders, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, explained “how a somewhat frumpy and even sometimes grumpy 70-year-old guy could become the voice for millions” with his “movement of love.”
Then, Maryland’s Sen. Barbara Mukulski gave the no-nonsense speech that nominated Clinton, “on behalf of all the women who’ve broken down barriers for others, and with an eye toward the barriers ahead.”
Here’s a DNC-produced montage of the historic night: