For the first time, the nominee is a woman.
The Democratic Party on Tuesday temporarily put aside the divisions that had riven it only a day earlier to select its candidate for the presidency of the United States.
Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee for the White House after a boisterous roll-call vote of states that embraced the historic nature of her candidacy while also recognizing the passion that abounded for her runner-up, Bernie Sanders.
South Dakota put Clinton over the top. She needed 2,382 and got 2,842. But the vote didn’t feel official until Sanders himself asked that she be nominated by acclamation.
“I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States,” Sanders said to wild applause.
Vermont had postponed its turn so it could go last — a symbolic move in deference to Sanders, one of its U.S. senators. Once he was seated with his home-state delegates, Sanders took the microphone and used his surprise appearance to push for unity that was absent from the convention floor for much of Monday.
The joint celebration of Clinton and Sanders appeared to heal, at least for a little more than an hour, the suppurating wound exposed when Sanders devotees incessantly heckled Clinton’s name on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
On Tuesday, Chris Riker and Dr. Leonarda Duran, a pair of Miami-Dade County delegates sitting on the second row, held hands and cheered. Riker wore Sanders garb. Duran’s silver-sequined hat sported a big “H” for “Hillary.”
“Juntos somos más,” they chanted. Together, we’re more.
“We love each other,” Duran declared. “This is how unity is done,” Riker agreed.
Last week, Republicans also found some peace during Donald Trump’s nomination — though that process featured more overt signs of disunion, such as states less keen on Trump taking a pass on casting their votes. Only Vermont did so Tuesday.
After Clinton’s nomination became official, however, scores of Sanders delegates walked off the convention hall in protest and staged an impromptu sit-in on the floor of the news media’s tents next to the Wells Fargo Center. Police rushed in to surround them.
Despite the demonstration, some delegates admitted they had softened their opposition to Clinton after Sanders’ rousing prime-time speech Monday night, and his unexpected visits Tuesday morning to the breakfasts of major delegations, including Florida’s.
“Most likely, I will go for her. I’m about 99 percent there,” said John Archer, a 59-year-old Sanders delegate from Davie who a day earlier had insisted he would likely make his decision “in the voting booth on Election Day.”
Clinton is a former secretary of state, U.S. senator from New York and first lady. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was Tuesday night’s headliner, following a group of mothers who lost their children to gun violence — including Sybrina Fulton, mom of Trayvon Martin, the Miami Gardens 17-year-old shot and killed in Sanford in 2012.
“I am an unwilling participant in this movement,” Fulton said. “But I am here today for my son, Trayvon Martin, who is in heaven. And for my other son, Jahvaris, who is still here on earth.”
She and eight other “Mothers of the Movement” — including Lucy McBath, whose 17-year-old son Jordan Davis was gunned down outside a Jacksonville gas station over a dispute about loud music — stood in a somber semi-circle. Each wore a big red flower brooch. “Black lives matter,” thousands of delegates yelled.
“Hillary Clinton has the compassion and understanding to comfort a grieving mother,” Fulton said. “She has the courage to lead the fight for common-sense gun legislation. And she has a plan to repair the divide that so often exists between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
As on Monday, Tuesday night also showed off the sort of A-list celebrities missing from last week’s GOP convention. Actors Lena Dunham, America Ferrera and Tony Goldwyn made political appeals to the audience in the hall —and watching on television. Actress Elizabeth Banks, of “The Hunger Games” fame, unexpectedly mocked Trump by appearing in silhouette, with stage smoke, as “We Are The Champions” played.
Earlier during the roll-call vote, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant, hobbled by a boot on her left leg protecting an injured calf, cast 72 votes for Sanders —and 163 votes “for the first woman president of the United States of America, Hillary Clinton.”
“I feel a little giddy,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, a superdelegate, “because it’s so validating to see that we as a country acknowledge that a woman who’s qualified, credible and experienced can be president.”
Many other states also alluded to history. Arizona’s Clinton votes came from a 102-year-old woman. Oklahoma’s came from a woman who noted she was born in 1929, only nine years after women earned the right to vote. “I never thought I would live to see this day,” she said.
“Our founding fathers gave us a great start,” said U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate, who submitted Clinton’s nomination. “But it was the founding mothers who said, ‘Do not forget the ladies, or we will foment our own revolution.’”
Seconding the nomination was U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a civil-rights icon who rescinded his Clinton endorsement in 2008 to give it to Barack Obama instead.
“Eight years ago, our party, the Democratic Party, nominated and elected the first person of color to ever serve in the White House,” he said. “We are the party of tomorrow.”
The state-by-state vote, always the most colorful part of the convention, featured light-hearted moments (New Mexico dropped a mention of the TV show “Breaking Bad,” and Puerto Rico gave a shout-out to “Hamilton” musical creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda). Then there were the tear-jerking ones.
Larry Sanders voted for his younger brother, whom he called “Bernard,” reciting the names of their late parents, Eli Sanders and Dorothy Glassberg Sanders.
“They did not have easy lives, and they died young,” said an emotional Sanders, who lives in England and was a delegate for Democrats Abroad. “They would be immensely proud of their son and his accomplishments. They loved him.”
Betsy Ebeling, Clinton’s childhood best friend from Illinois, referred to “Dorothy and Hugh’s daughter, and my sweet friend.”
“I know you’re watching,” a choked-up Ebeling said, referring to Clinton, who was home in Chappaqua, New York. “This one’s for you, Hill.”