1. It’s Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
Yesterday, I lamented the early declaration of Hillary Clinton’s becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee. I thought the Clinton people would have the steam taken out of a planned celebration that would come after New Jersey’s voters put her over the top in the state’s primary.
Instead, it was some superdelegate that the AP and other news organizations called Monday and found out how he or she was voting at the July convention.
So the early declaration was going to spoil what should have been a momentous occasion for the Democrats and the nation, right?
Hillary Clinton and her people did their darnedest to capture the moment. There was the video putting the accomplishment in historical perspective. The huge flag-waving crowd at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The dramatic entrance of the candidate. The technical glitches (all right, they’re not something the Clinton people wanted).
And the speech.
It was a good combination of exhorting her supporters, reaching out to Bernie Sanders and his supporters, excoriating her opponent, telling listeners what she stands for.
And reminding folks of the history. It was especially touching that she mentioned her mother, who had a difficult start in life and who she wished could have seen the moment.
3. It was a great moment for our country that this step forward finally came to pass.
And it’s testimony to the candidate, who is at the same time the most hated and most respected woman in this country. Which, when you think about it, seems about right. Because this a very deeply divided country, and it’s changing in ways that make a good portion of it extremely unhappy.
The next president is going to have been as tough as the problems that are coming our way. Hillary Clinton is.
4. By the way, let me repeat my one criticism of Hillary Clinton’s speaking style.
I know she’s not the orator President Obama is. Who is?
And I don’t have any use for the criticism of her that she shouts. That’s stupid.
No, what drives me crazy about a Hillary Clinton speech is how she tends to step on her applause lines. She has little concept of letting her supporters contribute to the moment.
One of these days, I’m going to take the time to show this on a clip. Because she can sometimes kill a big moment for her by plodding away at the speech. It’s as if she feels as though she has to complete the speech in a certain amount of time or else she loses points or something.
Clinton doesn’t have to watch Barack Obama to see what I mean. She used an Ann Richards clip in her introductory video. Ann Richards knew not to say anything after she delivered a great line. It’s not a big flaw, but I wish she’d solve it.
5. As for Sanders, it really isn’t as hard as pundits make it seem. He’s lost and, since he’s not an idiot, he knows it.
The question is how to end this in the best way possible. It is in his interest to take his time. It is in his interest to say that he wants his delegates to the convention to represent his positions on the platform.
It is also in his interest to say that he is unequivocally backing Hillary Clinton for President and wants his supporters to join him.
I expect him to do that sometime next week, if not sooner. It’s the only way he maintains the victory he’s won by exceeding expectations and raising the importance of issues such as income inequality and campaign finance reform.
And if, as former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin predicts, Sanders delivers a stemwinder in Philadelphia in support of Clinton, that will be a sweet, sweet moment for the Democratic Party.
6. Sanders can be part of a dream team of powerful advocates for Clinton. Besides him, it’ll include President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Not to mention whoever she picks as a running mate and her husband, who’s done this before.
Clinton’s victory speech was delivered in the place where the U.S.S. Missouri, the ship on which Japan surrendered to end World War II, was built. With Sanders on board, she’d take a pretty powerful battleship of a campaign into the fall contest.