History in the making
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton clinched the Democratic
presidential nomination Tuesday night, making American history as the
first woman to lead the ticket of a major political party in a national
Clinton's rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is however
nowhere near to capitulating, even though he finally lost the California
primary after what was, admittedly a very tough fight.
Speaking to supporters in Santa Monica towards the end of the evening
while still waiting for final primary results Sanders said in a cracked
voice from the podium: "The struggle continues. Next Tuesday we continue
the fight in the last primary in Washington DC!" (He is under pressure
from the Democratic Party leadership to 'let go, already,' so they can
pull together the delegates for the fight against Donald Trump.)
In response to his fiery passion, the packed house roared, shaking
and waving blue-and-white signs that read, "A Future to Believe In."
"We are going ...we are going ...we are going to fight hard ...,"
Sanders went on, his weakening voice making it clear that his campaign
has already been anything but easy.
"We are going to fight hard to win the primary in Washington DC..."
he said stubbornly, his voice hoarse from shouting, "and then we take
our fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice to
But even Sanders knows the fight is almost over. His campaign
managers and strategists have been discussing this issue for weeks. And
he didn't survive the U.S. Senate with a halo of white locks by ignoring
reality, either. He told his supporters he had called Clinton to
congratulate her on her victories. Although he won the primaries in
Montana and North Dakota, the California loss made it clear that time is
"I am ... I am pretty good in arithmetic and I know that the fight in
front of us is a very, very steep fight," he added, "but we will
continue to fight for every vote and every delegate we can get," he told
supporters. Both he and Hillary Clinton received calls from President
Barack Obama, with congratulations to the two of them on their
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was raring to go as she addressed
her backers in Brooklyn, New York.
She clearly had much preparation ranging from a raft of speech
writers, handlers, beauticians, hair and fashion stylists, makeup
artists, media coach and PR advisers. All had coalesced for this moment.
"Thanks to you, we've reached a milestone," Clinton began in warm,
"The first time ... the first time in our nation's history that a
woman will be a major party's nominee," she said, nodding her head, eyes
shining with just a slight glimmer of tears, hair carefully,
conservatively coifed for the occasion.
Presidentially. Wisely, she wore understated makeup - for once, even
her lipstick wasn't loud.
"Tonight's ... (here she hesitated to give the audience more time to
applaud longer - and they obliged, of course) tonight's victory is not
about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who
struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.
"In our country (ed.- an unstated reference to the fact that in many
other countries there have already been female heads of state) it
started right here in New York, in a place called Seneca Falls, in 1824
when a small but determined group of women and men came together with
the idea that women deserve equal rights and they set it forth in
something called the Declaration of Sentiments - and it was the first
time in human history that that kind of declaration occurred."So we all
owe so much to those who came before. And tonight belongs to all of
you," she smiled.
Then she raised her voice, calling for unity within the party - and
yes, from Bernie Sanders too, aiming straight for the jugular.
"I want to congratulate Senator Sanders for the extraordinary
campaign that he ran," she said.
Her next compliment was a direct shot designed to remind voters that
he is probably too old to have really been considered a serious
contender for a presidential run. It was also a quick slap at his
largest support base, discrediting the youth of America with an emphasis
on their lack of experience. But with all of that, she tried to heal the
breach as well.
"He has spent his long career in public service fighting for
progressive causes and principles and he has excited millions of voters,
especially young people, and let there be no mistake - Senator Sanders,
his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we've had about how to raise
incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility, have been very
good for the Democratic Party and for America.
Then Clinton addressed "America" - hoping to grab at least some of
the disillusioned GOP voters who are still praying for a reasonable
alternative to the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Donald
"This has been a hard-fought, deeply felt campaign. But whether you
supported me, or Senator Sanders, or one of the Republicans, we all need
to keep working toward a better, fairer, stronger America.
"Now, I know it never feels good to put your heart into a cause or a
candidate you believe in and to come up short. I know that feeling
Lots of laughter greeted that remark.
"But as we look ahead.... as we look ahead to the battle that awaits,
let's remember all that unites us.
"We are all standing under a glass ceiling right now," she said. The
words were aimed right at the female voters she is hoping to grab -
including those who voted for Bernie Sanders and especially those who
feel disenfranchised by Donald Trump and the truncated Republican party.
"Barriers can come down. Justice and equality can win... This
campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of
us. This is our moment to come together."