Clinton becomes first woman by major US party to run for White House

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Philadelphia
  • Updated: Jul 27, 2016 22:24 IST
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in Entertainment Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. (AP File Photo)

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday became the first woman nominated by a a major US party to run for the White House, after her rival Bernie Sanders called for an end to formalities and vote her through.

“I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States,” Sanders said during a roll call of votes, by acclamation, at the Democratic National Convention.

Some of his supporters left the floor, unmoved by his appeal to rally around Clinton, but most others stayed back, as their party made history by nominating a woman.

“It’s an incredible honour you have given me,” Clinton said later in a video link from New York. “I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet.”

They had indeed. And it took a very different America to do that than the one that gathered last week to anoint her Republican rival Donald Trump. It looked and sounded different.

As it turned out, it even made peace between its warring sections differently and, in an incontrovertible move sealing the contrast, picked its presidential nominee differently.

Rewind to Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement of Trump amid boos and catcalls at the Republican convention, and then the nominee lashing back at his critics, threatening to destroy them politically.

That was only one of the many differences that manifested themselves at the convention here — most remarkable of them was the demographic diversity of the Democratic party.

There were more African Americans in any of the restrooms at the Democratic convention venue — a stadium — than there were in all of the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

And Spanish, the language of Hispanics, the second largest demographic, rang out loud and clear from the stage, the floor and even among the people protesting outside.

Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, set to accept the nomination on Wednesday, was expected to switch to Spanish during his speech as he has done on the campaign trail with Clinton.

“The Democratic party represents the real America you see out there on the streets,” said Aftab Siddiqui, a Pakistani-American from Texas, who wore a button stamped “TrumpBusters”.

The Republican nominee has alienated and frightened America’s Muslims with a string of statements calling for keeping them out of the US, and surveilling them and their mosques.

He has offended other minorities as well — Hispanics and African Americans - and that reflected in the Republican convention in Cleveland, which looked “mostly white, and more white”.

That’s not by design, though. It’s just how the party has evolved and come to look like, a problem that's worried its leaders whose attempts to fix it have been upended by Trump’s rhetoric.

Murat Taner, also from Texas, said the Republican party looked like what it is — “a party of wealthy people, elites, above a certain social strata — you won’t see food-stamps people there”.

It seemed light years away from shattering glass ceilings as the Democrats did on Tuesday, dancing to African American singer Alicia Keys’s “Superwoman” and “In Common”, a new single.

Rapper Snoop Dogg is headlining a “unity party” for Democratic donors on Thursday, when Clinton will accept the nomination, delivering that glass ceiling one more blow.

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