Watch live as Hillary Clinton officially accepts the Democratic nomination

The former first lady will speak tonight at the DNC and make history by becoming the first woman to top a major party ticket.

by Brendan James
Jul 28 2016, 9:45pm

Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

To suggest even a year ago that Republican politicians and pundits would appear via jumbotron at the Democratic National Convention to make a tacit case for Hillary Clinton's presidency would have broken Rush Limbaugh's brain. But that was before the rise of Donald Trump.

On Thursday night, the former first lady will take the stage to speak at the DNC and make history by becoming the first woman to top a major party ticket. Her speech follows a week of support not only from President Barack Obama and lefty darlings like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but also archived clips of Mitt Romney and other prominent GOPers trashing Trump.

It's part of a Democratic strategy to paint the election not as regular contest between two political parties, but as choice between — as former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg put it on Wednesday — a "sane, competent person" and a maniac.

In fact, Clinton, who will be introduced by her daughter Chelsea, reportedly plans to use the notion that this is a "moment of reckoning" for America as the theme for her speech tonight.

Related: The best moments from Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic convention

So how will Clinton, a right-wing bogeywoman for three decades, address the country tonight? Will she thank her Republican colleagues, rattle off some bipartisan bromides, and stress national unity?

If the strategy going forward is to cull disaffected whites from Trump's coalition, sticking to persona rather than policy would make sense.

That, however, would leave little room to promise a new progressive agenda for America as she's been doing the entire Democratic primary. With a small insurgency of Sanders delegates still present, heckling every speaker from Warren to the current president, they may not go over well, either.

But the Sanders backers — very few of which are actually "Bernie-or-Bust" — have largely been neutralized, with one prominent delegate, Nina Turner, reportedly ejected from the speaking program. Barring a surprise protest on the floor, which could totally happen,Clinton will be speaking to a friendly audience.

And so after last night's parade of GOP voices, Clinton's speech will likely aim for something beyond mere "party unity" — it will be a "reckoning" for anyone who doesn't wish to be ruled by President Trump.

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