It took a half-hour, but Hillary Clinton seemed to hit her stride Thursday night in accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president when she started talking about the economy and contrasting her campaign with the one being run by her Republican opponent.
“We are clear eyed about what our country is up against, but we are not afraid,” Clinton said contrasting her campaign with that of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. “We will not build a wall. Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good job will get one.”
The economy has been a topic that was missing from most of the speeches during the four-day Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Clinton went on to say that the “economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should.”
She said that’s because they need to appoint Supreme Court justices “who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!”
In a plea to voters to join her, Clinton said she believes companies should share profits with their workers and that the minimum wage should be a living wage and that everyone should have affordable health care.
“In my first 100 days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II,” Clinton said.
She said she’s going to invest in infrastructure because it creates jobs and work to make college tuition-free — a nod to her Democratic primary opponent, Bernie Sanders.
How is she going to pay for these investments?
“Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes,” Clinton said. “Not because we resent success. Because when more than 90 percent of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent, that’s where the money is.”
Clinton’s speech highlighted many of the themes in the Democratic platform, which seemed to move the party further to left and further toward the policies embraced by Sanders’ supporters.
Clinton also got a few digs in at Trump.
“Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again — well, he could start by actually making things in America again,” Clinton said after naming all the different countries where Trump suits, Trump ties, and Trump furniture are made. She mentioned the contractors he “stiffed” when he filed for bankruptcy in New Jersey.
She also chided the billionaire businessman for his temperament.
“A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” Clinton said.
She reminded her audience that Trump said, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. . .”
Clinton, the former U.S. Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, paused and then she shook her head and said, “No, Donald, you don’t.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Renice Priebus said Clinton “dodged a serious discussion of our slumping economy and our diminished standing in the world.”
Priebus added: “Now is the time to break from a left-wing agenda which has shrank paychecks, left America more ripe for terrorist attacks, and reduced our freedoms.”
Meanwhile, there were concerns early in the evening that Sanders supporters would disrupt Clinton’s acceptance speech, but the Clinton campaign and Democratic operatives were able to make sure they were outnumbered.
The Sanders supporters had put down their signs and were wearing yellow T-shirts Thursday that said, “Enough is Enough.” The yellow, glow-in-the-dark T-shirts were sprinkled throughout the convention floor and Democratic staffers running the convention expected there to be one more attempt to draw attention to Sanders.
Sanders delegates were mum about their plans, but they reminded the news media Thursday afternoon that they weren’t going away.
“We are concerned with the manufactured ‘unity’ narrative in the media and are fighting for the soul of the Democratic Party and Democracy,” representatives of an independent group of national Sanders delegates said in a press release.
Progressive activists have no vertical command structure so it was difficult for Clinton supporters to anticipate what was going to happen. There were pockets of protesters and some were escorted out of the arena, but there was no large scale demonstration, according to members of the Connecticut delegation.