With historic vote, Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton for president

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, addressing delegates Tuesday night: “We just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet.”

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday became the first woman nominated for the U.S. presidency by a major political party, her moment in history sealed by thunderous cheers from exuberant Democrats gathered in Philadelphia.

The vote by delegates came on the second day of a Democratic National Convention that threatened to again become a test of party unity. But just after Clinton reached the 2,382 ballots she needed to win the nomination, her onetime rival took a symbolic yet significant step to end the discord.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had teared up as many of his 1,800 delegates pledged their votes for him, moved to suspend the rules tallying the count. Instead, Sanders asked to let the packed arena nominate Clinton by a consensus voice vote.

"Is there a second?" the acting convention chair, North Carolina Rep. Marcia Fudge, said.

"Yes!" the crowd roared in affirmation.

The moment moved delegates into the aisles of the convention floor, hugging, crying, jumping up on chairs, and dancing to music in an emotional outpouring after seeing Clinton shatter a glass ceiling in politics that many believed they would never see.

"Wow! What a beautiful day!" shouted Shelly Rahman, 64, a lifelong Democrat from Newtown Square, moments after the vote. "This is called democracy!"

Clinton, scheduled to accept the nomination in an acceptance speech Thursday, briefly thanked them in a video message.

"I can't believe we just put that biggest crack in that ceiling yet," she said. And to any little girls who might have stayed awake to hear her, Clinton said: "I may become the first woman president - but one of you is next."

Organizers had tailored the convention's second day to highlight her life and accomplishments, under the banner of "Fighting for Children and Families."

Speakers included mothers of young blacks who died in encounters with police or other violence. Addresses also touched on the Sept. 11 attacks, organized labor, and human trafficking, capped by a 40-minute keynote address during which Bill Clinton, in his famously folksy way, related the story of their courtship, marriage, family, and careers.

"She is still the best darn change maker I have ever known," the former president said. "You could drop her into any trouble spot, pick one, come back in a month, and somehow, some way, she will have made it better. That is just who she is."

Throughout it all ran the underlying theme of history in the making, for a 68-year-old candidate whose path to the nomination - from first lady to U.S. senator to secretary of state - was derailed eight years ago, and once seemed to have been lost.

The day also brought a sense of harmony that was a marked contrast from the day and night before, when thousands of Sanders protesters marched through the city streets and chanted his name throughout the night's proceedings. Protests continued in the streets, but Kathy Boockvar, a delegate from Bucks County, described a growing understanding between Clinton and Sanders supporters, and she and others said they felt the rancor from Monday was easing.

Boockvar focused instead on the significance of the night. She recalled how she once had tried to explain to her then-5-year-old daughter why there had never been a woman president.

"No mother's going to have to have those conversations with their daughters again," she said.

But the good vibe was not unanimous.

No sooner had the roll-call vote ended then a parade of delegates for Sanders staged what one called a "peaceful, quiet, decisive" action, marching from the convention hall to several tents for the press corps around the perimeter of the Wells Fargo Center.

The spontaneous gathering of Sanders supporters reflected a lingering sense of being disenfranchised by the party establishment. The cluster, some of whom wore tape across their mouths that read "No Voice," believed that the election had been rigged from the outset by party leaders and rules favoring Clinton, said Shayla Nelson, a delegate from Vermont.

Connor Callahan, 24, a Sanders delegate from Cecil County, Md., was among a few who went outside to try to persuade the group to disband.

"We should be inside listening to Mothers of the Movement," Callahan said. "It's drawing attention away from the convention itself. If we are to provide a united front in November, we need to stand together through this convention."

Others echoed the message.

"This is a chance to see history being made," New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a high-profile Clinton supporter, told reporters after his state's delegation cast its votes. "There are little girls back in New Jersey who after tonight will know that there is no job in this entire country that they cannot do."

The historical implications were felt intimately by Clinton delegate George Wallace of Virginia. In 2008, he was a delegate who helped make Barack Obama the first black nominee for president.

"That was one of the proudest moments of my life," Wallace said.

With Clinton's nomination, he said, the country will go a long way toward living up to its promise in the constitution that "all men are created equal."

"When she's ratified, we're going to again take another step toward the creed in the Constitution. All men - meaning all people," Wallace said.

Kat Richter of Philadelphia was among those who thought the party divisions would continue to ease.

Richter said she believed Clinton supporters were growing more understanding about the Sanders backers' positions on issues such as trade and the minimum wage. She even secured a Clinton sign, saying it's something she'll want for her grandchildren one day.

"I will do whatever it takes to defeat Trump. I will be happy to vote for a woman - I wish it was a different woman, but I will definitely be showing up to the polls in November," Richter said.

acouloumbis@phillynews.com

717-787-5934@AngelasInk

Staff writer Andrew Seidman contributed to this article.


Convention Schedule

For a complete schedule of today's events, including speakers and protests, go to philly.com/dnc