The protagonists are set: Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump. The battleground? Fifty states. Voters will now be treated to a historic, bruising spectacle as two of America’s most polarizing figures wage war for the White House.
On the Democratic side is a candidate rich with political experience, a pioneering if controversial stateswoman embracing her chance to become the nation’s first female commander-in-chief. The Republican standing in her way is the brash billionaire businessman and political neophyte who rewrote the campaign playbook as he vanquished his many rivals for the nomination with a mudslinging unparalleled in modern American politics.
The ferocity of the primaries — Americans and many around the world had never seen a modern US presidential race play out with such insulting and denigrating attacks — promises to be just a preview of what is in store for the general election.
Clinton, the former secretary of state, euphorically seized the Democratic Party mantle Tuesday, seizing the nomination in dramatic fashion with primary wins in four of six states including the grand prize, California.
On perhaps the biggest night of her political career, as she declared a historic milestone for women, she assailed Trump for his divisiveness and his trademark slogan, “Make America Great Again.” “That’s code for let’s take America backward,” she said, “back to a time when opportunity and dignity were reserved for some, not all.” “Don’t let anyone tell you that great things can’t happen in America,” she said.
Trump was pledging a tough fight, choosing to lay into Clinton in his own presumptive victory speech and accusing her and her former president husband Bill of enriching themselves by “selling access, selling favors, selling government contracts.”
And he signaled there would be no honeymoon, announcing a “major speech” for early next week in which he will address “all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.”