After clinching enough delegates with her win in the Tuesday New Jersey primary, Hillary Clinton is poised to claim the Democratic nomination in July. Last night was a significant moment in American history, marking the first time a woman clinched the popular vote necessary for a presidential nomination from a major political party. Although there was pushback from the Bernie Sanders camp, there was no doubt that Clinton — former first lady, New York senator, and secretary of state — finally shattered the "highest, hardest glass ceiling" in the country, if not perhaps the world.
"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," Clinton said in her victory speech in Brooklyn, New York, on Tuesday. "Tonight belongs to all of you."
For Clinton herself, her presumptive nomination was a vindication of sorts. After decades of gendered criticisms — from her controversial involvement in policy issues as first lady to pundits today disparaging her for being too "shrill" and not likable enough — Clinton beat all systemic and historical odds.
In 2008, when she conceded the nomination to Barack Obama, Clinton acknowledged how important her candidacy was for young girls and women. "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," she said at the time.
For a woman to come within inches of the United States presidency is no small feat, and many parents — even those who did not necessarily support her as a candidate — recognized the magnitude of the moment.
Many people shared on Twitter that they were watching Clinton's speech with their daughters, or what it meant to them to have their daughters witness this in their lifetime.
Clinton's victory is particularly bittersweet considering a personal anecdote that she's often told in the past: In the '60s when President John Kennedy launched the moon exploration program, a 14-year-old Hillary wrote to NASA inquiring how she could become an astronaut, only to be told, "We are not accepting girls as astronauts."
Today, that same woman may be on the verge of being elected to the most powerful political office in the world.
Cover image via Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com