Just as the Democratic convention in Philadelphia seemed to have passed the point of generating any more fervour, the video screens above the throng showed the visage of Hillary Clinton, appearing, not in person, but via satellite to put the icing on their cake.
It was an appearance, if not exactly in person, that seemed not inappropriate. Much had come before. Live appearances by Meryl Streep and the singer Alicia Keys. A primetime address to the convention by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, that was a love letter to her and a grateful appreciation of their lives together and her public service over decades.
Most of all, of course, she was dropping into the proceedings because a few hours before the convention had formally anointed her as the party’s nominee for president in 2016, the candidate they believe can most surely defeat Donald Trump, take the White House and keep alive the eight years of progressive priorities pursued by outgoing President Barack Obama.
“What an incredible honour you have given me,” Ms Clinton told a thrilled gathering in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. “I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in the glass ceiling yet.”
Moments before, the thrill of being part of a night where a major party in the United States was for the first time nominating a woman for president, Ms Streep, in a tie-dye stars and stripes blouse, added her own observations. “What does it take to be the first female anything? It takes grit, and it takes grace,” the Oscar-winning actor said.
All this was a culmination of night two of the Democratic Convention, which, if nothing else, stood out for its sheer effusion of energy compared with the Republican confab in Cleveland a week before, that was almost cowed by the endless calls for Ms Clinton’s incarceration.
“This is really your victory, this is really your night,” intoned Ms Clinton, who will come to Philadelphia in person on Thursday night to accept the party’s nomination and make her case to the nation why she and not Mr Trump would best serve the interests of the nation by taking residence on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.
Picking up on a theme that her husband had dwelt on - her record of defending the rights of children - Ms Clinton also addressed young girls everywhere in America. “If there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say: I may become the first woman president, but one of you is next!”
In the same vein, it was the joint experience of raising Chelsea, their daughter, that Mr Clinton had expanded on in his speech. And the key task of introducing Ms Clinton to the convention on Thursday has thus been handed to the younger Ms Clinton.
While Ms Clinton was following the example of Mr Trump by showing up remotely at her party’s convention in the wake of her nomination being confirmed, she has otherwise, unlike him, resisted the temptation to spend time in Philadelphia while the convention has unfolded and Thursday night is expected to the first time she visits the city in person.
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