The opening of the Democratic National Convention teemed with emotion. Sanders supporters were unable to hold back tears as the leader of their political revolution forcefully made a case
for a Clinton presidency. Americans of every stripe delivered moving speeches telling of struggle and hope. All underscored the same note: Even in adversity, Americans remain positive.
First Lady Michelle Obama's speech was extraordinary. Cory Booker's inspiring message introduced him as a rising star in the party.
Most poignant was the tangible break from the bleak outlook and angry tone that emanated from the Republican National Convention last week in Cleveland.
The American electorate is violently divided between Republicans and Democrats, who have seemingly irreconcilable differences about how our nation should deal with uncertainty at home and instability abroad. Exclusion versus inclusion, hate versus love, were among the thematic story lines of the night.
Other than a few interruptions from raucous Sanders supporters, the speeches and performances of the night ran smoothly.
There was a sense of optimism about the future and a synchronized push for unity against the recently crowned Republican nominee Donald Trump. The clear message: We can only defeat Trump together.
Democrats touted their multicultural and multiethnic party with speeches from Hispanic politicians, many of whom addressed the convention in both Spanish and English. Most impressive, the 11-year-old daughter of two undocumented Guatemalan immigrants appeared on stage with her mother and described her fear that at any moment, her parents might be deported, particularly in light of Trump's harsh rhetoric.
The hope and optimism of the night was most powerfully embodied by the rousing speech given by Anastasia Somoza, a disability-rights advocate diagnosed with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia at birth. Taking on Trump, Somoza showed pity for the GOP nominee, who has publicly made fun of disabled persons: “I honestly feel bad for someone with that much hate in their heart.”
The stimulus of the pre-prime time speeches made the keynotes ever more poignant. Michelle Obama spoke of the type of country she hopes her daughters will inhabit in the next four or eight years — and specifically, the role a president plays in shaping a generation of children.
Stalwart progressives Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders also made an impassioned bid to unify the moderate and progressive wings of the party.
Sen. Warren had a hard act to follow as Obama, in her disarming non-political style, electrified the Philadelphia crowd. Still, Warren, made a powerful case for why Hillary Clinton needs to be the next President of the United States: “This is about our shared values with our candidates Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.”
Bernie followed suit; there was no Ted Cruz repeat here.
The leader of the progressive revolution and lifelong Independent, who confounded pundits with his unexpected rise in the Democratic Party, put all questions to rest about his direction moving forward. “Hillary Clinton must be the next president of the United States … I’m proud to stand with her.”
The Vermont Senator made a powerful argument about the importance of the race: “This election is about — and must be about — the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and grandchildren.”
We’ll see what transpires today during the roll call, as delegates cast their final votes for Democratic nominee for president of the United States. Fiery Sanders supporters may try something -- though it's clear their leader, Bernie Sanders, is now squarely in line behind Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.