Hillary Clinton declared victory in the Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday, marking the first time a woman will capture the nomination of a major political party in the United States’ 240-year history.
Clinton, taking the stage at the Brooklyn Navy Yard while on the cusp of winning a majority of pledged delegates, delivered a soaring speech that appealed for party unity against Donald Trump ahead of what she framed as a battle for America’s very identity as a nation.
Exulting under a glass ceiling before thousands of supporters, Clinton began by paying tribute to the history-making moment that precluded her eight years to the day when she conceded to Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.
“Tonight caps an amazing journey – a long, long journey,” Clinton said.
“It may be hard to see tonight but we are all standing under a glass ceiling right now. But don’t worry. We’re not smashing this one. Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone. The first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee.”
Upon accepting the mantle of party standard-bearer, Clinton then moved quickly to congratulate her rival Bernie Sanders while acknowledging the unlikely revolution that has routinely drawn crowds in the tens of thousands to the Vermont senator’s rallies.
“He has spent his long career in public service fighting for progressive causes and principles and excited millions of people, especially young people,” Clinton said.
The debates inspired by Sanders and his legion of supporters, she added, “have been very good for the Democratic party and for America”.
Clinton spoke shortly after she secured an overwhelming victory in New Jersey. Ballots had not yet been counted in five other states voting on Tuesday, including California, where the result still hangs in the balance.