"This can’t be another woulda-coulda-shoulda election," the former secretary of state and Donald Trump rival said at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday

By Adam Carlson
August 19, 2020 10:47 PM
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Hillary Clinton speaks Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention
| Credit: Democtratic National Convention

Appearing Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton stressed that, in her view, the lessons of the last four years had been too painful to keep learning.

"Remember in 2016 when Trump asked: 'What do you have to lose?' Well, now we know," the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee said before referencing President Donald Trump's much scrutinized response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"As Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders warned us on Monday," Clinton, 72, continued, "if Trump is re-elected, it will get even worse. My friends, we need unity now more than ever."

Speaking to the all-virtual DNC, Clinton, who narrowly lost to Trump in the 2016 presidential election, struck a disappointed tone with her onetime rival. (Trump, for his part, has been responding to this week's DNC criticism on Twitter.)

"After the last election, I said, 'We owe Donald Trump an open mind and the chance to lead.' I really meant it," Clinton said Wednesday. "Every president deserves that. And Trump walked into the Oval Office with so much set up for him: A strong economy. Plans for managing crises — like a pandemic."

"I wish Donald Trump had been a better president, because America needs a better president than this," she said.

Hillary Clinton
| Credit: Paul Morigi/WireImage

She went on to urge voters to support the Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, citing Biden's "thoughtfulness and empathy" and Harris' kindness and righteousness. She said they needed a victory so large it could leave no room for error.

She had learned, too well, that the Electoral College meant a candidate could earn many more votes and not be elected. And in an election year overshadowed by a pandemic that made casting a ballot even more complicated, Clinton said voters needed to be extra mindful.

"For four years, people have said to me, 'I didn’t realize how dangerous he was. I wish I could go back and do it over. I should have voted.' This can’t be another woulda-coulda-shoulda election," she said. "If you’re voting by mail, request your ballot now, and send it back as soon as you can. If you vote in person, do it early. Bring a friend and wear a mask. Become a poll worker."

"Most of all, no matter what, vote," she added. "And convince everyone you know to vote."

She went on, with perhaps a sting of resigned wisdom: "Remember: Joe and Kamala can win 3 million more votes and still lose. Take. It. From. Me. We need numbers so overwhelming Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory."

President Donald Trump
| Credit: Gustavo Caballero/Getty

At the end of her speech, Clinton paid tribute to both women's activists before her — citing the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment this week — and the leaders of the civil rights movement such as the late Rep. John Lewis.

"So to all the young people: Don’t give up on America," she said. "Despite our flaws and problems, we have come so far."

"There’s a lot of heartbreak in America right now — and the truth is, many things were broken before the pandemic," she said. "But, as the saying goes, the world breaks everyone at one point or another, and afterward, many are stronger in the broken places."