Five observations of the historic night in fewer than 500 words:
1) Hillary Clinton is officially the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. Here are two competing interpretations of last night’s development:
- Mainstream Democrats’ Interpretation) Amazing! What a proud moment in American history. For the first time, a woman is the nominee of a major American party. Sixty-three other nations have had a female as head of state, and perhaps the United States can finally join them.
- Conservative And Extreme Liberal Interpretation) Yeah, but did it have to be THIS woman?
2) My gut is telling me Bernie Sanders concedes the race after this Tuesday’s Washington DC Primary. Last night, he vowed that, “We are going to fight hard. We are going to fight hard to win the primary in Washington D.C. And then we take our fight for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!”
The first two sentences state he’s staying in through DC. At that point, he’ll have given every citizen the chance to vote for his brand of liberalism. That can be a selfless explanation as to why he stayed in so long, and from there it’s a smooth pivot to announce that he won’t challenge Clinton’s nomination.
That next promise — the one about fighting for justice — can be done without the hopeless and degrading quest to win over superdelegates between Tuesday and the convention.
Therefore, my money is on Sanders bowing out on the night of June 14th. If I had to pick a time: 9:04 PM.
3) On the other side, Donald Trump’s numbers in his uncontested primaries were remarkably low. Only 81 percent in his quasi-home state of New Jersey, 75 percent in California, 74 in Montana, 71 in New Mexico (kiss that swing state goodbye?), and just 67 in South Dakota. And again, this was uncontested, and with just party voting. These are warning signs for Trump.
4) His speech last night seemed to recognize the rut he’s in, though just in tone and temperament if not content and policy. He read off the prompter and seemed focused, contained, and intelligent. (Although, whenever he ad-libbed, he resorted back into sophomoric fillers: “Better hope I’m president.” and “Because let me tell you, our jobs are being stripped from our country like we’re babies.” Indeed, historically speaking, babies lose their jobs far too frequently.)
Most importantly, after a week that forced Republican leadership to publicly question his behavior and ramifications on their party, he had a strong anti-Clinton message on which all Republicans can agree and around which Republicans can rally. It speaks to the GOP’s hatred and fear of Clinton that they stand by this nominee even after some of the awful things each of them said about him during the contested part of the primary and since.
I do wonder if there can ever be a straw that breaks the elephant’s back.
5) Fortunately for Trump, last night signified a moment where the general election can begin anew. We’ll see if he seizes the opportunity to transition into a general election campaign and look like he’s, you know, trying to win.