The 2016 presidential campaign has been a long and arduous one, but on Tuesday night, things inched ever closer to the finish line. Before an emotional crowd inside campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, New York on Tuesday night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted that she was the Democratic nominee, telling supporters that she owed "so much to those who came before [her]" and that "the night belong[ed] to to [them]." The moment came on the heels of a report by the Associated Press on Monday that claimed Clinton had secured the required number of delegates and pledged superdelegates to take the nomination in an official capacity.
While supporters had been eagerly awaiting Clinton's official nod, the former Secretary herself was quick to remind voters that there was still work to be done and a handful of major primaries to overcome first.
"According to the news, we are on the brink of a historic, unprecedented moment, but we still have work to do, don't we?" Clinton said to a crowd of supporters in Long Beach, California on Monday night. "We have six elections tomorrow, and we're going to fight hard for every single vote — especially here in California."
Of course, despite the tough competition being waged by rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Golden State and a minuscule poll spread of just 2 percentage points according to RealClearPolitics, no one doubted that Clinton would be able to secure the nomination within the week (Sanders has promised to press on to the July convention, no matter what).
On Tuesday night, a visibly relaxed Clinton took to the lectern inside the Brooklyn auditorium to address supporters and finally revel in that victory:
This has been a [inaudible] journey — one that you have taken with me. I am so grateful to you. It is wonderful to be back in Brooklyn, here in this beautiful building. And 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.
It's the first time in U.S. history that a woman will be a major party's nominee. Tonight's victory is not about one person: It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed, and made this moment possible. In our country, it started right here in New York, in a place called Seneca Falls, when a small but determined group of women and men came together with the idea that women deserved equal rights. And they set it forth in something called The Declaration of Sentiments. And it was the first time in human history that that kind of declaration occurred.
So we all owe so much to those who came before. And tonight belongs to all of you.
I want to thank all the volunteers, community leaders, activists and organizers who supported our campaign in every state and territory. And thanks especially to our friends in New Jersey for such a resounding victory tonight. Thanks for talking to your neighbors, for making contributions. Your efforts have produced a strong majority of the popular vote, victories in a majority of the contests, and after tonight, a majority of pledged delegates.
I want to thank all the people across our country who have taken the time to talk with me. I've learned a lot about you and I've learned about those persistent problems and the unfinished promise of America that you are living with. So many of you feel like you're out there on your own. That no one has your back. Well, I do. I hear you. I see you. And as your president, I will always have your back.
I want to congratulate Sen. Sanders for the extraordinary campaign he has run. He has spent his long career in public service fighting for progressive causes and principles, and he's excited millions of voters — especially young people. And let there be no mistake: Sen. Sanders, his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we've had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility have been very good for the Democratic Party, and for America.
This has been a hard-fought, deeply felt campaign. But whether you supported me or Sen. Sanders, or one of the Republicans, we all need to keep working toward a better, fairer, stronger America.
Now, I know — it never feels good to put your heart into a cause or a candidate you believe in and to come up short. I know that feeling well. But as we look ahead to the battle that awaits, let's remember all that unites us.
We all want an economy with more opportunity and less inequality, where Wall Street can never wreck main street again. We all want a government that listens to the people, not that power brokers — which means getting unaccountable money out of politics. And we all want a society that is tolerant, inclusive, and fair.
We all believe that America's succeeds when more people share in our prosperity. When more people have a voice in our political system. When more people can contribute to their communities. We believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better than division, empowerment is better than resentment, and bridges are better than walls.
It's a simple, but powerful idea. We believe that we are stronger together. And the stakes in this election are high. And the choice is clear: Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president and Commander-in-Chief.
And he's not just trying to build a wall between America and Mexico — he's trying to wall off Americans from each other. When he says "Let's make America great again," that is code for "Let's take America backwards." Back to a time when opportunity and dignity were reserved for some, not all., promising his supporters an economy he cannot recreate.
We, however, we want to write the next chapter in American greatness with a 21st century prosperity that lifts everyone who's been left out and left behind, including those who may not vote for us, but who deserve a chance to make a new beginning.
When Donald Trump says a distinguished judge, born in Indiana, can't do his job because of his Mexican heritage, or he mocks a reporter with disabilities, or calls women "pigs," it goes against everything we stand for. Because we want an America where everyone is treated with respect, and where their work is valued.
It's clear that Donald Trump doesn't believe we're stronger together. He has abused his primary opponents and their families, attacked the press for asking tough questions, denigrated Muslims and immigrants. He wants to win by stoking fears and rubbing salt in wounds, and reminding us daily just how great he is.
Well, we believe we should lift each other up, not tear each other down. We believe we need to give Americans a raise, not complain that hardworking people's wages are too high. We believe we need to help young people struggling with student debt, not pile more on our national debt with giveaways to the super wealthy. We believe we need to make America the clean-energy superpower of the 21st century, not insist that climate change is a hoax.
To be great, we can't be small. We have to be as big as the values that define America. And we are a big-hearted, fair-minded country. We teach our children that this is one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all — not just for people who look a certain way, or worship a certain way, or love a certain way. For all, indivisible.
This election is not, however, about the same old fights between Democrats and Republicans. This election is different. It really is about who we are as a nation. It's about millions of Americans coming together to say, "We are better than this. We won't let this happen in America." And if you agree, whether you're a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, I hope you will join us.
In just a few weeks, we will meet in Philadelphia, which gave birth to our nation back in that hot summer of 1776. Those early patriots knew they would all rise or fall together. Well today, that's more true than ever.
Our campaign will take this message to every corner of our country. We're stronger when our economy works for everyone, not just the ones at the top, with good paying jobs and good schools in every zip code, and a real commitment to all families and all regions of our nation.
We are stronger when we work with our allies around the world to keep us safe, and we are stronger when we respect each other, listen to each other, and act with a sense of common purpose. We're stronger when every family and every community knows they're not on their own. Because we are in this together. It really does "take a village to raise a child" and to build a stronger future for us all.
I learned this a long time ago from the biggest influence in my life: my mother. She was my rock, from the day I was born to the day she left us. She overcame a childhood marked by abandonment and mistreatment, and somehow managed not to become bitter or broken. My mother believed that life is about serving others. And she taught me never to back down from a bully, which, it turns out, was pretty good advice.
This past Saturday would have been her 97th birthday, because she was born on June 4, 1919. And some of you may know the significance of that date: On the very day my mother was born in Chicago, Congress was passing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. That amendment finally gave women the right to vote.
And I really wish my mother could be here tonight. I wish she could see what a wonderful mother Chelsea has become and could meet our beautiful granddaughter, Charlotte. And of course, I wish she could see her daughter become the Democratic Party's nominee.
So, yes. Yes, there are still ceilings to break for women, for men — for all of us. But don't let anyone tell you that great things can't happen in America.
Barriers can come down. Justice and equality can win. Our history has moved in that direction — slowly at times, but unmistakably, thanks to generations of Americans who refused to give up or back down.
Now, you are writing a new chapter in that story. This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of us. And this is our moment to come together. So please, join our campaign. Go to HillaryClinton.com. Contribute what you can. Text JOIN to to 47246. Help us organize in all 50 states. Every phone call you make, every door you knock on will move us forward.
Now I'm going to take a moment later tonight and in the days ahead to fully absorb the history we've made here. But what I care about most is the history our country has yet to write. Our children and grandchildren will look back at this time, at the choices we're about to make, the goals we will strive for, the principles we will live by, and we need to make sure that they can be proud of us.
The end of the primaries is only the beginning of the work we're called to do. But if we stand together, we will rise together. Because we are stronger together. Let's go out and make that case to America.
Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America.
As Vox so deftly described it following her victory speech, "It’s time to admit Hillary Clinton is an extraordinarily talented politician." Indeed, with all the odds against her, including the recent discord within her own party, she most certainly proved as much on Tuesday night.