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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, June 07, 2016

 
History Made

by digby























I wrote this back in November, 2014 for The Nation:


Even though lively primary campaigns often feel like bloody civil wars, they are among the few times that voters get a chance to express their wishes to party elites. Unfortunately, it looks as if that memorably tumultuous primary campaign of 2008 between Senators Clinton and Obama also determined the Democratic nominee through 2016, possibly 2020. This is regrettable. The voters deserve to have big national issues fully aired and argued before the campaign degenerates into the sickening partisan slime fest it’s destined to be. 
Many on the left end of the party would be happy to see Senator Bernie Sanders join the fray, and they’d be positively giddy if Senator Elizabeth Warren decided to give Clinton a run for her money. The more the merrier, in my book. 
With or without an energetic challenge, many liberals doubt that Hillary Clinton will be able to reassemble the Obama coalition if she is nominated, and they worry that she won’t turn out Democratic voters. I have to disagree: Clinton victories in deep-red states like Arkansas or Georgia may be a pipe dream, but there’s little reason to doubt that she will be able to kindle excitement among the Democratic faithful. Lest we forget, she would be the first woman nominated for president by a major political party in the United States. Half the population has never seen a president who looks like them—half 
On the night Clinton spoke to the Democratic convention in 2008, exhorting her followers to get behind Barack Obama, I found myself watching with a group of young African-American women who were strong Obama supporters. They were not exactly Hillary fans in that moment, but I felt a shift in the room’s mood as she started to speak eloquently and passionately about the long struggle for women’s rights. When she said, “My mother was born before women could vote—but in this election, my daughter got to vote for her mother for president,” those young Obama-supporting women next to me all spontaneously stood and cheered, one of them exclaiming, “There’s the Hillary I know! There she is!” I was reminded that both Clintons were always more popular among the rank and file than they were among the liberal cognoscenti. 
Democratic women will be excited to vote for Clinton in 2016, and I think the rest of the Obama coalition will be as well. All other considerations aside, the first woman president is a big deal. I plan to criticize her without restraint when she takes positions with which I disagree. I fully expect to be frustrated and often angry—as I have been with every president in my lifetime—and I’ll call it like I see it. But if she wins, I will also allow myself at least a few moments to feel the pleasure and pride of finally seeing a woman elected to the top job. It’s been a long time coming.
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