History, made. Hillary Clinton is such a familiar figure, and has been for so long, that it seems that the historic significance of her nomination has not won the notice that it deserves. Remember, women didn’t win the right to vote in America until 1920. No woman waged a serious challenge for a major-party presidential nomination until Clinton did it in 2008. And both then and in 2016, Clinton has had to endure fashion and voice reviews that no male candidate would ever be subjected to. So love her or loathe her – and most people do one or the other – give her credit. Clinton is close to shattering the highest glass ceiling in the land.
Bill Clinton, storyteller. The former president delivered a typically folksy, typically compelling speech Tuesday night, yet it may have been the most unusual speech he’s ever delivered. More than a speech, it was a biography – of his wife, the Democratic presidential nominee. Starting with the story of how they met, Clinton spun one anecdote after another that portrayed his wife as a can-do dynamo who would work hard for Americans from Appalachia to Alaska. Sure, Clinton left some of the racier chapters out of this biography, but listening to the hoarse but lilting cadence that served as the news soundtrack of the roaring ‘90s, maybe the voters won’t notice the omissions. Maybe they will once again buy what America’s greatest political salesman is hawking this time: his wife’s presidential candidacy.
Hillary, humanized. The great mystery of Hillary Clinton is why she can seem cold and remote on television yet warm and witty in person. Tuesday’s collection of videos and testimonials didn’t quite solve the mystery, but at least it portrayed Clinton as something of a real-life action figure – a first lady who fought for women’s rights, a senator who fought for the first responders of 9/11 and a secretary of state who traveled the globe to make peace and help the disadvantaged. Will it all help to restore America’s trust in a politician who many see as someone who works hard but doesn’t play by the rules? If fine video production and fine-tuned testimonials can make any difference at all, Tuesday's show will help.
Bernie goes gracefully, finally. It sure took long enough, but Sen. Bernie Sanders finally exited stage left with a graceful move. At the end of the roll call vote, he called for Clinton’s nomination by acclamation. From his standpoint, his delayed endorsement of Clinton – which came only two weeks ago – bore results: a left-leaning Democratic platform and new Democratic rules that will make it easier for insurgent candidates like Sanders to win the presidential nomination in the future. From Clinton’s standpoint, though, Sanders’ delayed embrace still means trouble: a fire to her left that will be hard to put out even if she wins the presidency.
The “Bro’s” mean business: It was hardly noticed amid the history and Big-Dog drama of the evening, but Bernie’s most boisterous supporters – be they bro’s or sisters in arms – aren’t going quietly. After the roll call vote, hundreds of them stormed out of Wells Fargo Center in protest – and, in apparent hope that the revolution will be televised, invaded the press filing center. Other protests flared further outside the arena and along Broad Street, and that could be just the start. With Sanders now officially shut out of the White House, Wednesday will offer more clarity as to how many Sanders supporters think they can burn their way to social progress.