On Monday night, almost eight years to the day since she suspended her campaign and threw her support behind then-senator Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton obtained the support of enough delegates and superdelegates — according to an Associated Press count — to clinch the Democratic nomination. “According to the news, we are on the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment,” Clinton told a crowd of supporters at a rally in Long Beach, California. “But we still have work to do, don’t we?”
Her campaign cautioned that voters in six states have yet to make their voices heard, but there’s no denying that, based on the numbers, Clinton is now her party’s presumptive nominee — when she formally accepts the nomination in July, she’ll be the first woman ever to head the ticket for a major U.S. political party.
Clinton has been gunning for this moment since 2008, when she conceded to Obama. In her 2008 speech, Clinton thanked her supporters for helping to break down the barriers that might forestall a woman one day presiding over the White House. “You can be so proud that, from now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories — unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the president of the United States,” she said. “And that is truly remarkable, my friends.”
She went on:
Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.
And no, the path to the presumptive nomination hasn’t exactly been easy for Clinton — she’s faced sexist attacks from the Trump campaign and the media and heightened levels of scrutiny over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of State. And Trump — the presumptive Republican nominee — is likely to continue both lines of attack for the next six months.
But as Clinton said in her graduation speech at Wellesley College in 1969, “We found — as all of us have found — that there was a gap between expectation and realities. But it wasn’t a discouraging gap, and it didn’t turn us into cynical, bitter old women … It just inspired us to do something about the gap.”