Progressive firebrands Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took the stage at the Democratic National Convention Monday evening to stump for their causes while calling on their supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton. Keynote speaker First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the night's most spellbinding speech in which she expressed her wish for Clinton to break through the ultimate glass ceiling to secure the presidency of the United States.
Among a roster of speakers that included A-list celebrities, the widow of a veteran who said she was defrauded by Trump University and an impassioned Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders supporters protested within the convention and outside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia where it was held.
Protesters' anger was stoked by a recent email leak exposing Democratic National Committee leaders favoritism toward Hillary Clinton, leading the Committee's chair to step down, only to be appointed honorary chair of Clinton's campaign team.
Michelle Obama's speech momentarily transcended the divisions among delegates and elevated Clinton by focusing on her accomplishments during her decades-long career. The "unforgettable" speech "brought down the house," according to some tweets that followed.
Speaking of the bullying to which her family has been subjected, Obama said, "Our motto is: when they go low, we go high" -- a quote already making the rounds on social media as a meme.
The first lady's speech focused on children, saying the presidency is only about leaving something better for future generations, and she tied her endorsement for Hillary to her service, saying "I trust her because I have seen her lifelong devotion to children."
Obama praised Clinton's perseverance after losing the nomination to the presidency in the 2008 election and noted that Clinton, "never buckles under pressure, she has never quit on anything in her life, she never takes the easy way out. When I think of the kind of president I want for my girls, that's what I want."
Taking an indirect swipe at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, she said the president must be "steady, metered and well-informed" when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and military in your command. "You can't make snap decisions, you can't have a thin skin or tendency to lash out." Trump has been criticized for his brash, impulsive manner, and many respected Republican leaders have refused to endorse him in this election.
Obama then told the rapt audience of the African Americans who toiled to build the United States and fought for civil rights, "so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves."
With a cracking voice, she added, "And I've watched my daughters... playing with their dogs on the White House lawn, and because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters -- and all our sons and daughters --now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States."
"So don't ever let anyone tell you that this country isn't great," she added. "This right now is the greatest country on earth."
Cory Booker also gave an impassioned speech that attendees punctuated with a "Black Lives Matter," chant as he spoke of the need to reform the criminal justice system.
While he endorsed Hillary, he also condemned divisive rhetoric. "We need each other. When we are divided we are weak. When we are indivisible, we are invincible," he said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) echoed that view, adding that the system is stacked against the middle class, and noting that the democratic party "fights those fights." Meanwhile, the noted progressive said, "Let's face it, Donald Trump has no real plans for jobs or for college kids or for seniors, no plan to make anything great for anyone except rich guys like Donald Trump."
Sen. Bernie Sanders' (D - Vt.) entrance onstage was greeted with thunderous applause that lasted so long it took several minutes for him to be begin speaking. Sanders thanked his supporters -- some of whom were in tears or had mouths taped over with the words "silenced" -- for voting for a "political revolution giving us the 1,846 pledged delegates here tonight."
Noting that President Barack Obama came into office after eight years of Republican "trickle down" economics, Sanders thanked the outgoing president for lifting the country out of the greatest downturn since the Great Depression, when 800,000 Americans a month were losing jobs and the world's financial system was on the verge of collapse.
"We've come a long way," he said, "but much, much more needs to be done."
He said Clinton is the candidate who understands the problems of Americans and said she can offer solutions to the problems of working people and the elderly -- not, he said, leadership that insults Latinos, women, people of color and veterans.
Calling Clinton a fierce advocate for women, children and the disabled, he said she "understands that if someone in this country works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty."
Meanwhile, he noted, as did Warren, that Trump does not believe in raising the minimum wage, and believes states should have the right to lower the minimum wage. He also called for overturning Citizens United, which he called "one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in the history of our country," that "allows the wealthiest to spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying elections and undermining American democracy."
Clinton, he added, will nominate Supreme Court justices who will overturn Citizens United and end the movement toward oligarchy in this country, and her appointments will defend a woman's right to choose, worker's rights, the rights of the LGBT community, and the ability to protect our environment.
"If you don't believe this election is important. If you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court Justices that Donald Trump would nominate," Sanders said, suggesting Trump's appointments would be retrograde civil liberties and equal rights.
Clinton, he said, understands that hundreds of thousands of jobs can be created from clean energy, while he said Trump is kowtowing to the fossil fuel industry by denying climate change science.
Sanders also noted that while Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, causing millions to lose health coverage, Clinton is moving toward universal healthcare and reducing drug costs.
Calling for unity, Sanders said prison reform, education investment and racial equality are other goals Clinton shares with him.
Although he and Clinton have been at odds on certain topics, Sanders said they've come together to create the most progressive platform in American history that includes provisions for breaking up the major financial institutions on Wall Street and passing a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act and also opposes "job-killing" trade agreements like the TPP -- a trade agreement which Sanders supporters believe Clinton favors and view as a key difference between Sanders and Clinton.
Sanders is still going to force a roll call, and asked his delegates to vote for him Tuesday, so all Sanders' delegates will be officially counted. Nonetheless, the former independent called for unity of the party and said he's "proud to stand with Clinton."