Friday, July 29, 2016

The Democratic Convention Day 1:
The dignified climbdown

PEOPLE HAD BEEN waiting for the closure that seemed like it’d never come. With the primaries done & dusted, with Hillary Clinton holding more than 2,800 delegates, and with the general consensus that she would gain the nomination, it was time for Bernie Sanders to make the dignified climbdown from a presidential campaign that, while spirited, passionate and even noble, had clearly run its course.

On July 12, the Vermont senator did just that. After way too much to-ing and fro-ing, the lightning rod of the left finally conceded the momentum that’s been a part of the Democratic race for months, and publicly endorsed Clinton for the presidency — and ending the perception of Sanders as the crotchedy neighbor who yells at people to get off a lawn that’s not his in the first place.

Voltaire cribbed it from Shakespeare, Shakespeare got it from God knows who, and I lifted it from both of them: we’re well-advised not to make the perfect the enemy of the good. It was that expression of practicality — don’t let a search for the ideal blind you to what’s achievable in the real world — that finally brought Sanders around.

On Tuesday, the roll-call vote would seal the deal. But first, on Monday, Bernie Sanders spoke to the crowd after an ovation almost three minutes long. One last shoutout. One last hurrah.

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“Let me begin by thanking the hundreds of thousands of Americans who actively participated in our campaign as volunteers. Let me thank the two and a half million Americans who helped fund our campaign with an unprecedented 8 million individual campaign contributions. Anyone know what that average contribution was? That's right — $27.

“And let me thank the 13 million Americans who voted for the political revolution, giving us the 1,846 pledged delegates here tonight. And delegates: thank you for being here, and thank you for all the work you have done. I look forward to your votes during the roll call on Tuesday tomorrow night. ...

"I understand that many people here in this convention hall and around the country are disappointed about the final results of the nominating process," he said. "I think it's fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I am. ..."

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BUT "[i]f you don't believe this election is important, if you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country.

“Any objective observer will conclude that -- based on her ideas and her leadership -- Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States," Sanders said. “The choice is not even close.”

“I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her, as you do, as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care. I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children, for women, and for the disabled.

“Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight. Thank you all, very much.”

Image credits: Sanders: Convention pool. 

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