Politics 2016: Hillary Clinton’s Triumphant Acceptance Speech

dnc_2016_barack_obama_hillary_clinton_2The entire week of Democratic National Convention stood in contrast to the Republican gathering in Cleveland: steady stream of top-notch speakers, showbiz interludes, moments of unexpected impact–above all, effective presentations of general plans and specific ideas of how to make America greater, better, stronger, and safer.

That was especially apparent in the hour before Clinton took the stage, when Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim Army officer killed in Iraq, held up a copy of the Constitution and asked Trump, “Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you a copy.”

 

 

The emotion of Clinton’s speech came in the moment, as she noted, of the first female nominated to lead a major party ticket in the history of the U.S.

Her speech included many surprises and high points:

Wonkishness:

Clinton acknowledged the trouble she has connecting with voters — her speeches are not very often that memorable. But she did so by making the case for being more fixated on policy than the flashier aspects of politics. “It’s not just a detail if it’s your kid, if it’s your family. It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president,” she said.

Likability:

Clinton acknowledged her problems connecting with certain groups of voters, including those who are openly hostile to her. She did so in a way that was somewhat amusing.

“The truth is, through all these years of public service, the ‘service’ part has always come easier to me than the ‘public’ part,” she said. “I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me.”

Trump attacks:

Clinton didn’t pass up the opportunity to tease, mock and warn of Donald Trump. “He spoke for 70-odd minutes – and I do mean odd,” she said.  She went after him, this time about she his propensity to refuse to pay his bills and for exporting Trump-label merchandise to other countries. Her speech seemed aim more at winning over disaffected Republicans and conservatives rather than die-hard Trump backers.

Witty lines.

“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” she said. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

The press:

Clinton also hammered Trump for not being able to handle the rigors of a presidential campaign, including questions from the press.

“He loses his cool at the slightest provocation,” she said. “When he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter. When he’s challenged in a debate. When he sees a protestor at a rally.”

It was a curious line given Trump’s frequent press conferences and the very few that Clinton has had.

Quoting Hamilton Show:

Clinton held a fundraiser at a performance of “Hamilton,” when she made it clear how much she was of a fan of the show.

There were some reports that the convention planners sought out an appearance by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who just left the show after playing the lead for nearly a year.

Instead, she gave the show even more of a profile — in the final paragraphs of her speech, when she quoted some of its lyrics.

In her speech, she said, “Though ‘we may not live to see the glory,’ as the song from the musical ‘Hamilton’ goes, ‘let us gladly join the fight.’”

“Let our legacy be about ‘planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.’”