The Democratic National Convention ended on history.
Hillary Clinton became the first woman to lead a major American political party’s ticket as a presidential nominee. Now, to complete her game of ultimate women’s-history bingo—from Ivy leaguer to first lady of Arkansas to first lady of the United States to senator from New York to secretary of state—all Clinton has to do is become president of the United States.
She just has to beat neo-Mussolini, a protofascist riding a populist “destroy first, build later” wave, who resembles an orange construction-hazard cone.
She can do that, right? Right?
Clinton is a fascinating study. Her résumé is impeccable, but her untrustworthy ratings are impossibly high for a leading presidential candidate. She’s a hard worker who—as her longtime friend actress Mary Steenburgen said Thursday night—will get knocked down seven times and stand up eight. She also comes across as a political animal, someone who clearly wants power, both because she has a distinct vision for America (and the world) and because she has a more than healthy ego. You kind of have to in order to believe that you should be “leader of the free world.”
So she took her experience, credentials and work ethic and pulled together a workwoman’s speech that took to task her rival while expanding on the hope and optimism—the “stronger together” ethos —that was the theme of this convention. That America is better united than divided, heavy on the implication that it is newbie GOP leader Donald Trump doing the dividing.
“He wants to divide us—from the rest of the world and from each other. He's betting that the perils of today's world will blind us to its unlimited promise,” Clinton said. “He's taken the Republican Party a long way … from ‘morning in America’ to ‘midnight in America.’ He wants us to fear the future and fear each other. Well, a great Democratic president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than 80 years ago, during a much more perilous time: ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’”
Well, there is fear itself and fear of a Trump presidency, something that the Democrats were adamant about preventing. Delegates were verbally beaten about the head with the notion that the party must unite in order to defeat him in the fall or else Canada is going to face an influx of millions of new immigrants, if the internet is to be believed. (But packing up and skipping out on America is a bit harder than you’d think. And considering that most Americans don’t even have passports, it’s more fantasy than anything.) Protest chants of “No more wars” were drowned out by cries of “USA.” Delegates who were distinctly “Bernie or bust” announced that they were not “with her” this fall. But “fear of a Trump planet” continued.
Whatcha gonna do when the Trump comes for you? The Dems asked. With him wanting to deport millions of immigrants, block Muslims from entry and make “Blue lives matter” trump (no pun intended) “Black lives matter,” and the odd fact that he’s the presidential hopeful of choice for the Russians, the chaos candidate loomed over the convention.
Making history is fun. And when the balloons dropped, the Clintons seemed as mesmerized as anyone else, but skinning and grinning and ballooning aside, there’s a bigger hill left to climb. It’s not over, by a long shot. In fact, it’s just beginning.
Clinton may have cracked the highest glass ceiling, but she’s still got a few more flights of stairs to go if she wants to truly make history.