Editorial: Democrats' convention challenge is to show Hillary Clinton can be trusted

Democrats will gather in Philadelphia with a sense of history this week. On Tuesday, they will be the first major party to nominate a woman for president in the 240 years of the republic.

Whether the week becomes just a salient footnote or sets the stage for electing her will depend largely on how well Hillary Rodham Clinton and the party actively listen to the mood of the country and reflect its yearnings.

A week ago in this space, we prefaced the Republican National Convention in Cleveland by advising that the GOP faced a momentous task of demonstrating that it can govern responsibly.

We offer the same advice to Democrats on the eve of their national convention.

Like Republican standard-bearer Donald J. Trump, Clinton presents herself to an electorate that is greatly skeptical and in fact even critical of her candidacy.

In Trump's case, the question is one largely of competence, whether his unprecedented candidacy is thoughtful enough to govern.

In Clinton's case, the overriding question is one of trustworthiness. Is she her own person, will she keep her word and can we believe what she has to say?

Those are the doubts that provide this week's challenge to Clinton and to Democrats who too often seem to allow political strategy to reflexively dictate an agenda that should be based on public service.

From our onetime Park Ridge neighbor and her colleagues, we wish for this out of the week's convention:

Show that you know what you are doing. Show that you understand your mistakes and can learn from them. Show that you're listening to all Americans, not just special interests. Show that you can solve problems.

Don't promise everything to everybody. Be real. Be practical. Get beyond platitudes and talking points and provide us with a real conversation that offers substance and concrete answers.

Don't harden divisions. Bring us together.

Above all, uplift us.

In his acceptance speech on Thursday, Trump painted a dark picture of America, one we believe plays to our prejudices and exaggerates our fears.

This provides Clinton and the Democrats with both an opportunity and an obligation.

Inspire our hopes. Strengthen our courage. Call on our better angels. Provide a vision of a better America and how we all get to it.

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