Civil rights, feminist icons formally nominate Clinton

Civil rights, feminist icons formally nominate Clinton
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A powerful duo of civil rights icon John Lewis and ground-breaking senator Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiLobbying World Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Raskin embraces role as constitutional scholar MORE formally nominated Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates MORE to become the Democratic presidential nominee Tuesday.

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The tributes from both congressional leaders, which were met by thunderous applause, kicked off the official nominating process, known as the roll call of the states. 

The Clinton campaign announced just before the speeches that Lewis, a congressman from Georgia, and Mikulski, a senator from Maryland, would perform the ceremonial nominating duties. Hours earlier, the Clinton team was reportedly in talks to have her former rival, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Overnight Health Care: Top health official defends contract payments to Trump allies | Vaping advocates confident Trump will turn from flavor ban | Sanders gets endorsement from nurses union Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment MORE (I-Vt.), nominate her on the floor.

The move could have helped show party unity and given Sanders a larger role in this week's Democratic National Convention, though the talks apparently failed. Instead, Sanders announced his home state’s roll call, handing over votes for Clinton. Clinton is expected to easily clear the 2,383-delegate threshold needed to win the nomination. 

Lewis, a 15-term congressman who played an important role in the civil rights movement, called Clinton “one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for president.” 

He also offered a stark warning against electing GOP nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE

“There are forces in America that want to take us backwards,” he said, his voice booming in the packed Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

“We've made too much progress, and we're not going back, we're going forward. That’s why we must all go to the polls in November and vote like we never ever voted before,” Lewis roared. 

Lewis was joined on stage by Mikulski, the first woman to win a U.S. Senate seat not held by her husband or father. 

Mikulski is retiring after a groundbreaking career that includes being the first longest-serving female lawmaker, the first woman to chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, and the first female lawmaker to wear pants on the Senate floor.

“On behalf of all the women who've broken down barriers for others, and with an eye toward the barriers still ahead, I proudly place Hillary Clinton’s name in nomination to be the next president of the United States of America,” Mikulski said.