Hillary Clinton displayed the gamut of emotion, celebrating her New York State primary victory, April 19, trouncing Democratic rival Bernie Sanders 57-43, exceeding expectations of what had been a projected win.
With 98% of the votes counted, Clinton had won 1,037,344 (57.9%) and Sanders 752,739 (42.1); Clinton chalked up 139 delegates to Sanders’ 106, according to the New York Times’ tally, putting the nomination that much further from his reach.
“There’s no place like home,” she said putting her hands to her chest. “You know, in this campaign we have won in every region of the country. From the north, to the south, to the east, to the west. But this one’s personal. New Yorkers, you have always — you have always had my back, and I have always tried to have yours.
Clearly breathing easier after Bernie Sanders seemed on a roll, winning the last 7 of 8 races and amassing massive rallies throughout New York, she told the cheering audience, “The race for the nomination is in the home stretch, and victory is in sight. I want to say to all of my supporters … you have carried us every step of the way, with passion and determination that some critics tried to dismiss. Because of you, this campaign is the only one, Democrat or Republican, [which has] won more than 10 million votes.”
She reached out to Sanders supporters, many of whom were grousing over not being able to vote under New York State rules requiring being registered in the party last October, and citing problems, especially in Brooklyn, where Bernie was touting his boyhood roots, of voters being inexplicably purged from the rolls. (New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer was vowing to investigate.)
“There is much more that unites us than divides us,” she said directly to Sanders’ supporters, while reminding that she is the pragmatic progressive. “Under the bright lights of New York, we have seen that it’s not enough to diagnose problems. You have to explain how you actually solve the problems.”
Indeed, her agenda which she has touted throughout the campaign are close to Sanders’:
“So I want you, with me, to imagine a tomorrow where no barriers hold you back — and all of our people can share in the promise of America. Imagine a tomorrow where every parent can find a good job and every grandparent can enjoy a secure retirement. Where no child grows up in the shadow of discrimination or under the specter of deportation. Where hard work is honored, families are supported, and communities are strong. A tomorrow where we trust and respect each other despite our differences. Because we’re going to make positive differences in people’s lives. That is what this is supposed to be about. Actually helping people and each other.
“We all know too many people who are still hurting. I see it everywhere I go. The great recession wiped out jobs, homes, and savings, and a lot of Americans haven’t yet recovered. But I still believe, with all my heart, that as another great Democratic president once said: ‘There’s nothing wrong with America that can’t be cured by what’s right with America.’ That is after all what we have always done. It’s who we are.
“America is a problem-solver nation. And in this campaign we are setting bold, progressive goals backed up by real plans that will improve lives, creating more good jobs that provide dignity and pride in a middle class life, raising wages and reducing inequality. Making sure all our kids get a good education no matter what zip code they live in. Building ladders of opportunity and empowerment so all of our people can go as far as their hard work and talent will take them. Let’s revitalize places that have been left out and left behind — from inner cities to coal country to Indian country. And let’s put Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, including our failing water systems like the one in Flint, Michigan.
“There are many places across our country where children and families are at risk from the water they drink and the air they breathe. Let’s combat climate change and make America the clean energy super power of the 21st Century. Let’s take on the challenge of systematic racism and invest in communities of color, and finally pass comprehensive immigration reform. And once and for all, let’s (have) equal pay for women.
“And we are going to keep our families safe and our country strong, and we’re going to defend our rights — civil rights, voting rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and rights for people with disabilities. Those are, after all, New York values and they are American values. And just as we did in this primary campaign, we need to stand up for them, through the general election and every day after that.”
She reminded how this election is truly a transformative one, especially with the stakes on the other side, with each of the Republican candidates vowing to end a woman’s right to choose, in their approach to foreign affairs and the fight against terrorism which would overturn American values of inclusion and respect for differences.
“This may be one of the most consequential elections of our lifetime,” she declared. “Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are pushing a vision for America that’s divisive and frankly dangerous: returning to trickle down economics, opposing any increase in the minimum wage, restricting a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, promising to round up millions of immigrants, threatening to ban all Muslims from entering the country, planning to treat American Muslims like criminals.
“These things go against everything America stands for. And we have a very different vision. It’s about lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. Instead of building walls we are going to break down barriers. And in this campaign I have seen again our remarkable diversity and determination. This is a state and a country of big-hearted, open-minded, straight-talking, hard-working people.”
She added, “You know, New Yorkers and Americans speak every language, follow every faith, hail from every continent. Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths in the 21st Century. Not a weakness.”
And in a swipe at Trump, whose campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again,” she said, “America is great and we can do great things if we do them together.”
The crowd, squeezed in to the ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel, where the Clinton Global Initiative regularly meets each year, was wildly enthusiastic, and reflected New York’s diversity.
During her remarks, she spoke personally of people she has met in her campaign, and three of them were in the room. One was a woman named Maxine from Staten Island, who benefited from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which was the program that emerged after her first attempt at universal health care, “Hillarycare,” during her husband’s administration, failed. 8 million children are covered with health insurance under the program.
Another was a fellow named Mikey, who had been jailed at Riker’s for six months for a low-level nonviolent drug offense and now has opened an ice cream shop which she visited (he devised an ice cream named for her, “Victory”).
“Mikey is one of the many reasons why we have to reform our criminal justice system and “ban the box” so others have a fair chance to succeed.
She also singled out from the crowd Erica Smegielski, whose mother was the Principal murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, emblematic of her strong stand in favor of commonsense gun regulation, including holding gun manufacturers and sellers accountable – the issue that is most starkly in contrast to Sanders. “ Like the mothers of Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin and so many others, Erica has turned her sorrow into a strategy and her mourning into a movement,” Clinton said. “It isn’t easy. But as Erika said the other day: ‘what if everyone who faced tough odds said, ‘It’s hard? So I’m going to walk away. That’s not the type of world I want to live in.’
“Erica, it’s not the type of world we want to live in and we refuse to live in that [world]. To my friends, that’s the spirit that makes this country great. It’s how New Yorkers pulled together and rebuilt our city after the worst terrorist attack in our history. It’s how Americans worked our way back from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes. And it is how we’re going to break down all the barriers holding us back.
“The motto of this state is Excelsior — ever upwards — so let’s go out and win this election, and all rise together.”
Among those who spoke for Hillary were David Dinkins, the 106th mayor of the City of New York who proudly said he voted for her 4 times over her career in political life, and knew her from her time, just after graduating law school, when she worked for the Children’s Defense Fund; Mayor Bill DiBlasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, both of whom had worked for President Clinton’s Administration.
New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio called her a progressive who can get things done, and Governor Andrew Cuomo said she epitomizes how government can and should work for the people, and cited the accomplishments in New York State in being one of the first to legislate a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, marriage equality and the strongest gun safety laws in the country.
They spoke flanked by supporters holding letters that spelled out #IMWITHHER, and banners displaying Clinton’s campaign slogan, “Fighting for Us.” Others held up hand-drawn signs, “A Woman’s Place is in the White House” and “Hill Yes”
There was euphoria throughout the room and thunderous sustained cheering when the first word came that the race was called for Hillary Clinton.
Chants went back and forth: “I’m With Her” “She’s With Us”
Hillary Clinton took to the stage with her family, President Bill Clinton, (a very pregnant) Chelsea Clinton, and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky. They quickly left the stage and sat in chairs behind her as she addressed her enthusiastic followers, President Clinton looking on rapt and proud.
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