PHILADELPHIA – Hillary Clinton took a historic step closer Tuesday to fulfilling her dream of shattering what she once called “that highest, hardest glass ceiling” when Democratic delegates at the party's national convention in Philadelphia officially nominated her as their candidate for president – making the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state the first woman to top a major party presidential ticket.
South Dakota’s delegation put her over the top in the tally, but it was ex-primary foe Bernie Sanders who closed out the roll call and made her nomination official after his home state of Vermont cast its votes.
“I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States,” Sanders said, as the crowd erupted in cheers and waved Clinton signs.
The nomination was affirmed by acclamation moments later; the final delegate tally was 2,842-1,865.
The high-profile show of unity on the floor, at a convention marked from the start by discord, followed speculation about what role Sanders might play in formally anointing Clinton the nominee.
The night before, the Vermont senator tried to restore order in the hall by urging his supporters – many of whom booed Monday night at the mere mention of Clinton’s name – to get behind her campaign. Those supporters loudly cheered and chanted his name as Sanders was put in for nomination Tuesday afternoon.
Some antics popped up during the roll call itself. While the Nevada delegation was casting its votes, Sanders supporters held signs behind the speaker's head saying “Rigged” and “I was leaked.” Large pro-Sanders banners practically covered the Oklahoma delegation speakers from the view of some media cameras.
Some Sanders supporters also walked out at the end, chanting, “This is what democracy looks like,” as a couple-hundred protesters chanted “shame” outside the complex.
But the rancor in the hall may be subsiding in the wake of the opening day’s street protests and disruptions inside the convention arena.
Longtime Clinton ally and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., touted her qualifications as he delivered one of the nominating speeches on her behalf.
“She is one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for president,” he bellowed.
In a moment of poetic justice, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard delivered one of the nominating speeches for Sanders moments earlier, describing his cause as a “movement fueled by love” that “can never be stopped or defeated.”
Gabbard had resigned in protest from the DNC amid complaints over how Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz had treated Sanders; Wasserman Schultz over the weekend was forced to resign following leaked emails that bolstered those claims of anti-Sanders bias.
The roll call preceded another stacked night of speeches, headlined by former President Bill Clinton, the latest party elder to attempt to get the base to close ranks behind his wife and direct its energy toward defeating Republican nominee Donald Trump in November.
Sanders made a similar case the night before.
“Based on her ideas and her leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” he told the audience Monday, with many of his supporters visibly crying during his remarks.
The frustration among his base had been inflamed in the run-up to the convention, when the leaked Democratic National Committee emails appeared to show top party officials criticizing him and discussing ways to undermine him. While Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign in the wake of the leak, that alone did not quell the unrest.
The party is eager to bring all factions together, though, in preparation for the general election battle officially joined Tuesday against Trump, who was formally nominated by the Republicans last week in Cleveland.
On the sidelines, Trump was hammering Democrats Tuesday for all but omitting reference to the Islamic State terror network on their opening night.
“Dems don't want to talk ISIS b/c Hillary's foreign interventions unleashed ISIS & her refugee plans make it easier for them to come here,” he tweeted Tuesday.