As the Democratic National Convention reached its crescendo Thursday night, Maine delegates praised nominee Hillary Clinton as the candidate with the experience and temperament to lead the country.

“I’m thrilled our first female nominee for president is so unquestioningly competent and ready,” said Cynthia Dill, a Clinton delegate and a former Maine state senator.

Clinton’s vision for America is “optimistic” and “in stark contrast to the (Donald) Trump apocalypse,” she said in a text.

Clinton made history as the first woman to accept a major party nomination, but the tenor of the whole four-day convention seemed historic to Maine Delegate Nancy Wanderer, who was particularly struck by what President Obama said on Wednesday night.

“President Obama recognized that Hillary is the best qualified candidate ever, better than Bill Clinton and himself,” Wanderer said in an email. “Hearing the most powerful man in the world recognizing the strength and intelligence of a woman felt ground-breaking to me. I don’t think it has happened before, at least not in a non-patronizing or insincere way. Obama was dead honest. That really moved me.”

Frequently interrupted by cheers, Clinton gave a fierce speech, calling out Trump as unqualified and vowing to unify not just Democrats, but the nation.


“I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, independents, for the struggling, the striving and the successful. For those who vote for me and those who don’t,” she said.

Maine delegates said she made a powerful argument.

“I am ecstatic. That was a fabulous speech,” said Peggy Schaffer, the vice-chair of the Maine Democratic Party. “She’s got the plan, she’s got the strategy, she’s got the experience. She’s exactly what we need.”

Trevor Doiron, a 17-year-old Clinton delegate from Jay, was exhilarated after her speech.

“I’m honestly at a loss for words right now,” he said. “I kept thinking about how lucky I am to be witnessing history and how proud I am of my country.”

The mood at the Democratic National Convention has been “electrifying,” Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said Thursday.


“These last few days have allowed us to reflect on our shared values as a party,” he said in a text.

Although Clinton thanked Sen. Bernie Sanders in her speech, his supporters were still lukewarm in their support. In the audience several wore bright neon shirts as a silent protest to remind Clinton that she hasn’t brought them all on board yet.

“I’ve heard you,” Clinton said, addressing Sanders supporters directly. “Your cause is our cause.”

That appealed to Maine superdelegate Troy Jackson, a Sanders supporter. Clinton also referenced overturning Citizens United and paying for free college by “making Wall Street, corporations and the super-rich (pay) their fair share of taxes.”

Clinton also said “a lot of things I appreciated,” said Jackson, a former state senator from Allagash. “It’s time for me to give her a chance.”

But it may take some time.


“It would be hypocritical for me to say I’m all in (for Clinton) like I was for Sanders,” Jackson said.

“There’s a trust factor there for a lot of people. But she’s the nominee and Trump is awful for people like me. I’m really hopeful that she’ll do what she said tonight.”

Sanders delegate Seth Berner of Portland sat out Thursday’s speeches, saying he felt Sanders was “sanitized out of the convention completely.”

“I’m having a difficult time adjusting to Hillary Clinton as the candidate,” Berner said in a phone call from his hotel room. “It’s been not just emotionally, but physically, a very draining week.”

Berner hopes Sanders supporters will continue their collective momentum and elect progressive candidates at the state and local level.

“I want the movement to continue,” he said.

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