The Primary season has finally come to a close. No more speaches, no more talking heads, no more tortured math about the popular vote. Barack Obama collected enough delegates yesterday to clinch the nomination. He WILL be the nominee for the Democratic Party in the fall.
There will be the desperate naysayers. There will be those hanging on to the notion that enough superdelegates could be persuaded to change their minds to deliver the nomination to Senator Clinton. Despite their pleas, despite their rationalization, despite their fuzzy math, it will not happen. The Clintons are a powerful political force, but the electorate is more so, and the electorate has spoken.
There was hope and there were expectations that Clinton would concede the victory last night, but she did not. Her motivations for not exiting gracefully when it's clear that she's lost the race may never be known for sure. Is she hoping to change the minds of the superdelegates?... Does she think that not conceding will give her more leverage for a veep slot?... Does she hope that more people will contribute to her campaign to help her retire her debt?
The reality is that she still wields a tremendous amount of power in this election. She has a huge number of supporters, some of them quite rabid. She can control whether Obama or McCain wins in the fall. She cannot, however, control whether she gets the top slot, something that she must come to terms with. If she were to tell all of her supporters "I want you to vote for Obama in November", I suspect a large number that are saying they'd vote for McCain over Obama would heed her words. The threatened migration of Hillary supports across party lines would not happen.
She won't do that until the last night of the convention. That is her biggest ace in the hole, and she is smart not to play it until she gets whatever she can at the convention. I just hope she puts country and party above herself when it comes down to it.
For now we can breathe again, and put our support behind Obama. This is an historic moment. He has done what has only been attempted by others in the past like Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton. He is the other bookend that began in 1872 with John Roy Lynch and Frederick Douglass (whose running mate was a woman!).
More importanly though, he is our candidate, an erudite man that cares about ALL Americans, and will lead our country the way he ran his primary campaign: with grace, humility, and a velvet hammer when needed. He is a man for the people, of the people, and selected by the people.
Today is day 1. It's time to focus on McCain and November.