Leave a comment, and send us questions @FiveThirtyEight.
Convention season is over! Donald Trump became the official nominee of the Republican Party last week. Hillary Clinton became the official nominee of the Democratic Party this week, accepting that nomination tonight. Now, the U.S. has just over 100 days to decide who should be the next president. (And I’m going to watch these balloons fall — my favorite thing about conventions.)
In lieu of the normal live-blog highlights I typically put here — you can still start at the bottom and scroll up to experience all the excitement chronologically — here’s a look back at how Clinton became the first woman to win a major U.S. party’s nomination:
I’ll just say this about Clinton’s speech: I’d written up a long item about my sense of where we stood after the convention, and I didn’t have to change very much at all after Clinton’s speech. It was about what we should have expected based on the themes of the convention overall and tonight specifically.
Clinton seems to be closing out her speech with personal stories and a smile. This is the best chance she’ll have to bring her slumping favorable rating up. If this doesn’t work, nothing probably will.
Clinton promised “common-sense reforms” to keep guns out of the hands of “criminals, terrorists” and others who’d harm us — a clear reference to gun homicides. But two out of three gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides. Read more about gun deaths in the U.S., and efforts to prevent them, in our special report from earlier this month.
Our big project on gun deaths earlier this month found that typical “gun control” policies probably wouldn’t do much to reduce the more than 33,000 American gun deaths each year. But background checks, which are meant to keep guns away from people already prohibited from owning them, are a rare policy that research suggests might make a real difference. Research on background-check policies in Missouri and Connecticut found that the policies helped reduce domestic violence and certain other types of gun homicide.
After Trump’s speech last week, I said Clinton could respond by with a 1964 strategy — playing to the center, and touting her fitness for office as compared with her opponent — or a 2012 strategy, playing more to her base. There’s more 1964 than 2012 in this speech so far.
Clinton continued to attack, first turning to Trump’s business record, including his not paying small business owners and not making goods in the U.S. By moving on to his foreign policy statements — including “I know more about ISIS than the generals do” — she cycled back to her credentials on foreign policy. Earlier in the speech, Clinton mentioned that as secretary of state she had been to 111 countries, that covers half the countries in the world … even including a few regions that proclaim national status but are not recognized by the U.N. or U.S. But most interestingly, Clinton painted Trump as unstable, something Bloomberg did on Wednesday night. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” she said.
Clinton said, “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” She might have been referring to this exchange last month:
I still am trying to figure out how being anti-free trade became such an important position to hold this election. Clinton just spoke about fair trade deals. In an April Gallup poll, 43 percent of Americans admitted they didn’t know enough to say whether they wanted to get rid of NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The other 57 percent of people were split evenly on keeping or leaving the deals. This might be an example of where activists, not voters, are driving the political conversation.
As with Obama’s speech, there’s been almost no criticism of Republicans. Just criticism of Trump.
Just so readers have a sense of the room, most of the crowd is cheering at all the right applause lines but for the upper section of the California delegation, where the state’s Sanders caucus is sitting. I talked to them earlier today to find out why they’ve been so unruly, and as promised, they have been on the protest beat tonight, starting a couple chants. They cheered for one of the first times tonight when Clinton mentioned Sanders and free college — while some held up a “WikiLeaks” banner.
In the podcast we recorded today, Nate said that convention speeches are pretty un-memorable. So far, I think this fits that mold. It’s solid, but it feels like it’s checking boxes. Closer to her stump speech than to a set of themes and big ideas. Which may be fine — again, this is table-setting. The next few months are about homing in on what’s resonating.
“He spoke for 70-odds minutes — and I do mean odd — and he offered zero solutions,” Clinton said of Trump’s speech at the Republican convention last week. Trump hastened to point out on Twitter the day after his speech that the audience was applauding during 24 of the 75 minutes of his speech. And then he — or his Twitter account’s handler — either botched the math or stretched the truth, calculating the applause as 33 percent of the speech’s time when 24 is 32 percent of 75.
Clinton’s speech polls pretty well for the most part. Raising the minimum wage, higher taxes on corporations and doing more than just building a wall as part of immigration reform are all things that the American public is in favor of.
Well into her speech, Clinton pivoted to creating jobs in the United States, “especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind.” But her pivot then to appointing Supreme Court justices to get money out of politics was not the granular plan one might have expected next. And her line about Wall Street not taking precedence over Main Street, for me at least, called up the controversy over her own high-paid financial industry speeches. While this speech certainly has more specifics than Trump’s did, it still feels a bit amorphous in places.
There’s no question the economy is much, much better than when Obama took office, and it’s probably true that some of his policies, especially early in his term, played a role in that. Whether he deserves credit, though, depends on the counterfactual. The economy almost certainly performed better than it would have if Obama had done nothing — but it’s unlikely that any president would have done nothing. John McCain ended up opposing Obama’s stimulus package, but he supported an alternative version (and might well have proposed one similar to Obama’s had he become president). Economists variously criticize Obama for not pushing for a bigger stimulus, for not tackling the foreclosure crisis earlier or aggressively enough, and for favoring particular industries in his stimulus efforts.
Clinton said, “I believe in science.” Our colleague Anna Maria Barry-Jester recounted two times Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence rejected science.
I wonder how much this speech is with the BernieBooers in mind. There aren’t a lot of long, quiet, drawn-out sections — instead an applause line every 15 seconds — which robs it of a little dynamism.
Clinton is not ending this thing on the woman note — she’s ending it on the note that I think the Sanders people want her too, talking about the working class in America, sustainable American jobs. She’s ending on an economic message.
Clinton seems to recognize that her fate is probably tied to President Obama, and she’s better off for it. If Clinton is able to win the vote of every person who approves of Obama’s job performance, she will win. That’s why she’s mentioning him a number of times in this speech.
She will never be the equal of her husband at the microphone, and she knows it. But it’s worth remembering that Bill Clinton got away with so much because he dazzled the public so easily. She will never have that luxury, and it may be that she has had to work harder because of it. Did Bill sweat the details, in the phrase she just used, over every piece of policy? I don’t think history bears that out — he was a politician, and a natural one; she is a policy wonk, and a natural one, and we may get to find out which personality type makes a more effective president.
“Standing here as my mother’s daughter and my daughter’s mother” — these lines about the historic nature of Clinton’s nomination are lighting up the room.
Clinton spoke about her family’s roots, including a grandfather who worked in a Scranton lace mill. (That’s Biden territory.) Clinton also, as expected, spoke about her mother. I interviewed Clinton in 2008 for NPR, and she told me that her work with the Children’s Defense Fund was inspired by her mother:
I think that it initially was important because my mother had such a very difficult life, and if she had been born at a later time, I believe that she probably would have been put into the foster care system, because her parents essentially abandoned her and her grandparents were very unwelcoming. Basically, she had to leave their home when she was 13 to go to work in someone else’s home just to be able to have a safe place to live and to try to be able to make some way in her life. They let her take care of their children, but she had to get up and get the other children off to school, and they let her go to high school. So I really saw at a very early age that, despite my comfortable, secure upbringing in my family, that wasn’t the case for so many children. It just became the cause of my passionate commitment here in public service to do what I can to give every child the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.
Hillary Clinton was born in 1947. In late 1945, a Gallup poll found that just 33 percent of Americans would vote for a woman president. Just a few minutes ago, Clinton became the first woman to accept a major party’s nomination to be president. Pretty amazing.
Clinton repeated the now-ubiquitous phrase “love trumps hate.” Sure, it’s a play on her opponent’s last name, but she has been invoking love more since talking to Ruby Cramer of BuzzFeed about the importance to her of love for a January profile.
But if we’re being literal, Clare, then everyone knows what to make of Clinton. Almost everyone has an opinion about her in those polls, and almost nobody has a neutral one.
“Some people just don’t know what to make of me,” Clinton said. In polling terms: Clinton addresses her low favorability numbers.