Hillary Clinton embraced her moment in history Tuesday, becoming the first woman in the 240-year life of the United States to lead the presidential ticket of a major political party.
“Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone,” she said during a speech in Brooklyn. “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.”
After three decades at the center of American politics as a pioneering — and deeply controversial — feminist icon, the victory brings Clinton, 68, within reach of finally cracking the “highest, hardest glass ceiling” she lamented eight years ago when she conceded the Democratic race to Barack Obama. The former first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state will now face presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in a general election battle that is already shaping up as one of the nastiest campaigns in modern U.S. history.
Clinton has pounced on Trump’s business record, character and tendency to use his platform to wage personal grudge matches to try to define him early on in the minds of voters as unfit for the presidency. Trump, for his part, is aiming to portray Clinton as a consistent liar who can’t be trusted.
Though Clinton already has Trump in her sights, she has work to do to unify her own party after a grueling battle against Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator spoke before a roaring crowd of his own in California to declare “the struggle continues.” The Vermont senator pledged to stay in the race through next week’s primary in Washington, D.C., and to fight on for social, economic, racial and environmental justice at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.