It’s her party now; Ex-presidents handoff to Hillary Clinton

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — It’s her party now.

The Democrats’ historic handoff to Hillary Clinton has arrived with affection from one ex-president and an endorsement from an outgoing one. But it’s also come with a warning: That last glass ceiling isn’t shattered yet and Republican Donald Trump is a formidable foe.

Clinton formally captured the Democratic nomination Tuesday night and declared the barrier keeping women from the presidency nearly broken. Her husband, Bill Clinton, closed the historic night with an expansive and passionate testimonial, offering a deeply personal — though scandal-free — account of their relationship.

Email newsletter signup

It also was a policy-driven ode to the “best darn change-maker I have ever met.”

On Wednesday night, President Barack Obama will make his case for electing the former first lady, senator and secretary of state as the first woman to occupy the Oval Office. But he will also tell Democrats to get serious.

“Anything is possible,” Obama said, of the potential for America electing GOP nominee Trump, in an interview aired Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show. Democrats shouldn’t take anything for granted, he said.

“Anybody who goes into campaigns not running scared can end up losing.”

The night will include a nod to the past and the possible future. Vice President Joe Biden will deliver his valedictory. Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, gets his turn in the spotlight.

Hillary Clinton was affirmed as the party’s nominee Tuesday night at a convention that appeared to be finding its stride as it focused on appealing to the coalition Clinton will need to win — blacks, Hispanics, women and young people — and putting to bed the drama of formally defeating liberal challenger Bernie Sanders.

The base-boosting strategy has some Democrats worried Clinton is ceding too much ground to her opponent. Her convention has made little mention of the economic insecurity and anxiety that has, in part, fueled Trump’s rise with white, working-class voters. Trump has cast himself as the “law-and-order” candidate and promised to get tough on terrorists. Democrats have little noted the threat of terrorism or the Islamic State group.

Speaking on MSNBC Wednesday morning, Biden said his party has failed to talk enough about the concerns of white, working-class voters.

The party has “done the right thing” for those voters, said Biden, but it hasn’t “spoken to them.”

“We’ve been consumed with crisis after crisis after crisis,” he said.

Democrats celebrated Clinton’s landmark achievement. Tuesday night’s roll call vote sealed her nomination without trouble inside the hall and Sanders himself stepped up in the name of unity to ask that her nomination be approved by acclamation.

The unhappiest among his followers filed out, occupied a media tent and staged a sit-in, some with tape on their mouths to signify their silencing by the party. But a teary Sanders acknowledged the end. Obama was “kind enough to call,” he said Wednesday in a meeting with New England delegates. “As of yesterday, I guess, officially our campaign ended.”

The roll call vote was laden with emotion and symbols of women’s long struggle to break through political barriers. Holding a sign saying “Centenarian for Hillary,” 102-year-old Jerry Emmett of Prescott, Arizona, cast her state delegation’s vote. She was born before women won the right to vote in 1920, and remembered her mother casting a ballot for the first time.