6 More “Hamilton” References Hillary Clinton Should Have Worked Into Her Acceptance Speech

Feature image via Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Twitter

Hillary Clinton accepted her party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention last night, and near the end of her speech, she gave a very important shoutout to one of our nation’s greatest accomplishments: the musical Hamilton. “And though ‘we may not live to see the glory,’ as the song from the musical Hamilton goes, ‘let us gladly join the fight.’ Let our legacy be about ‘planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.’” Hillary Clinton knows what the people want. The people want Hamilton.

But I couldn’t help but notice that there were many other opportunities for Hillary Clinton to work Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece into her acceptance speech. One Hamilton reference is good, but wouldn’t A BUNCH OF Hamilton references be even better?

What she said: “We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together.”
What she should have said: “We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise up! Time to take a shot!”

Um, hello, this one is easy, Hillary. “Rise up” is repeated so much in Hamilton that it’s hard for me to hear the worse “rise” without expecting an “up” to follow. At this point of the speech, Hillary was actually talking about the founding fathers, so a Hamilton reference would have been especially apt.

What she said: “Because when more than 90% of the gains have gone to the top 1%, that’s where the money is. And we are going to follow the money.”
What she should have said: “Because when more than 90% of the gains have gone to the top 1%, that’s where the money is. And we are going to follow the money and see where it goes. Because every second, the 1% grows!”

Again, this one is so obvious. Interestingly, the “follow the money” line wasn’t in the transcript of the speech that was released ahead of time, so Hillary ad-libbed it. Maybe she had “Washington On Your Side” stuck in her head at the podium? If so, she should have committed more to the reference.

What she said: “People who did the work and needed the money, and didn’t get it—not because he couldn’t pay them, but because he wouldn’t pay them. He just stiffed them. That sales pitch he’s making to be your president? Put your faith in him—and you’ll win big? That’s the same sales pitch he made to all those small businesses.”
What she should have said: “Your debts are paid, cuz you don’t pay for labor.”

Borrowing from “Cabinet Battle #1” would have been a more succinct way to point out that Donald Trump straight-up didn’t pay a bunch of contractors and small businesses in Atlantic City.

What she said: “Freedom and equality, justice and opportunity. We should be so proud that these words are associated with us.”
What she should have said: “Raise a glass to freedom! Something they can never take away!”

This is essentially the same sentiment.

What she said: “Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.”

What she should have said: “I hate to admit it, but President Obama and Vice President Biden don’t get enough credit for all the credit they gave us.”

Hillary doesn’t exactly have a grudge against Obama and Biden in the same way James Madison did with Hamilton. And Obama and Biden didn’t exactly save this country from its staggering debt. Okay, stop poking holes in my Hamilton connections. I never said they would all be perfect.

What she said: “And so it is with humility. . .determination. . .and boundless confidence in America’s promise…that I accept your nomination for President of the United States!”
What she should have said: “Oh, let me be a part of the narrative, in the story they will write someday.”

I’m just saying, Eliza’s words to Hamilton would also be a dope way for Hillary to say she wants to run for President of the United States.

Someone please hire me as a speechwriter so I can work a million musical references into coherent political speeches.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 817 articles for us.


  1. The fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda didn’t give a speech and/or perform with th cast of Hamilton is the biggest missed opportunity of this convention. Yes Yes Yes I know Lin is on a much-deserved vacation, but you’d you’d you’d think he’d come back f something that important.

  2. How about:
    “You must be out of your God damn mind if you think the DNC will let Trump bring the nation to the brink of meddling in the middle of a politician’s mess, a game of chess, where Trump is spleen and brainless?”

    I’m not sure if it would actually have fit well in any parts of her speech, though. She could have just sort of thrown it on the end somewhere?

  3. Gosh, the “let me be part of the narrative” got me in the gut. This is article is perf.

    Also, team, where was the photo of Trump with the lines, “/He’s never gonna be president now (ain’t never gonna be president now)/” playing in the background at the DNC?!

    • Oh my god yes please.

      Especially after Trump completely disrespected the parents of the Muslim soldier who gave his life serving his country. Geez.

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