Hillary Clinton declared victory in the Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday, marking the first time a woman will capture the nomination of a major political party in the United States’ 240-year history.
According to TheGuardian, Clinton, taking the stage at the Brooklyn Navy Yard while on the cusp of winning a majority of pledged delegates, delivered a soaring speech that appealed for party unity against Donald Trump ahead of what she framed as a battle for America’s very identity as a nation.
Exulting under a glass ceiling before thousands of supporters, Clinton began by paying tribute to the history-making moment that precluded her eight years to the day when she conceded to Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.
“Tonight caps an amazing journey – a long, long journey,” Clinton said.
“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. 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.”
But on a night when it became clear that Clinton would secure a majority of pledged delegates, her rival, Bernie Sanders refused to bow out, telling supporters that their fight would continue to the Democratic National Convention in July.
The senator from Vermont, his voice hoarse, struggled to be heard above screaming supporters in Santa Monica. “We are going to fight hard to win the primary in Washington DC,” he said, referring to the tiny caucus that is last in line to vote next week.
Promising to continue all the way to the convention, he added: “And then we take our fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice to Philadelphia.”
Earlier, upon accepting the mantle of party standard-bearer, Clinton moved quickly to congratulate Sanders while acknowledging the unlikely revolution that has routinely drawn crowds in the tens of thousands to the senator’s rallies.
“He has spent his long career in public service fighting for progressive causes and principles and excited millions of people, especially young people,” Clinton said.
The debates inspired by Sanders and his legion of supporters, she added, “have been very good for the Democratic party and for America”.
Clinton spoke shortly after she secured an overwhelming victory in New Jersey. She would later secure victory in South Dakota and New Mexico, while Sanders clinched wins in Montana and South Dakota. The result of the California primary, the most delegate-rich on the calendar, had still not been called, but with close to half of precincts reporting Clinton held a strong lead.
Earlier, Clinton extended an olive branch to Sanders supporters with a dose of empathy – drawing upon her loss in 2008 to make clear her familiarity with pouring one’s heart into a cause and falling short. But she reminded them of the looming contest with Trump and the need to rally together.
“Whether you supported me or senator Sanders or one of the Republicans, we all need to keep working toward a better, fairer, stronger America … As we look ahead to the battle that awaits, let’s remember all that united us.”
Barack Obama, who is expected to endorse Clinton any day, called both Democratic contenders on Tuesday night.
The president congratulated Clinton on securing the nomination and separately thanked Sanders “for energizing millions of Americans”, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. Obama also accepted a meeting with Sanders, at the senator’s request, to be held at the White House on Thursday.
Although Clinton has in recent weeks run two races in parallel – pivoting to the general election while still fending off the challenge from Sanders – on Tuesday she placed a target squarely on Trump and what she decried as a campaign rooted in demagoguery.