Philadelphia—Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination for president of the United States Thursday by thanking her supporters, as nominees invariably do, and by thanking her primary challenger, as this nominee needed to do.
“I want to thank Bernie Sanders,” Clinton declared at the opening of her address to a Democratic National Convention crowd that included almost 1,900 Sanders delegates, many of whom wore fluorescent green T-shirts to the hall as an indication that they remained loyal to the senator and to his promise of a “political revolution.”
Linking her campaign’s vision with proposals made by Sanders during the long nomination race was an essential signal from Clinton at the close of a contentious convention.
The nominee sent that signal by speaking directly to her challenger and to his supporters:
Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary.
You’ve put economic and social-justice issues front and center, where they belong.
And to all of your supporters here and around the country:
I want you to know, I’ve heard you.
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.
The cheers were loud, and sustained—from Clinton backers, of course, but also from a good many Sanders backers.
“It was as close to pitch-perfect as she could get,” said Javier Anderson, a Sanders delegate from the Bronx. “She said a lot of what she needed to say to Bernie Sanders supporters like me. She said she had heard us. She said she was invested in our ideas.”
That does not mean that every difference was settled. There are still “Bernie or Bust” Sanders backers who expressed frustration with Clinton and the Democratic National Committee; some walked out of the hall Thursday night, while others shouted objections. But most listened as Clinton delivered a speech that often echoed Sanders—with promises that “Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes,” that “we should say ‘no’ to unfair trade deals,’ that “the minimum wage should be a living wage,” and that “we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!”
By suggesting that Sanders backers have been heard, and by declaring that it will be her goal to “turn our progressive platform into real change for America” at the start of her speech, Clinton eased lingering tensions and claimed a space to tell her own story (“I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me. So let me tell you…).