Perhaps that’s why the news that, for the first time, a woman will be the nominee for a major American political party was overshadowed by two men behaving less than gallantly.
Hillary Clinton’s wins in the presidential primaries in California and New Jersey merely confirmed what has been the reality for some time.
She will be the Democratic Party’s candidate for president.
Her victory has been a woman’s triumph – one born of resilience and quiet resolve. Her unflinching determination to keep moving forward, regardless of the obstacles before her, has been a marvel.
Clinton has been in public life for more than 40 years. For much of that time, she has been a lightning rod, catching and grounding the bolts of political and cultural electricity accompanying the emergence of women as significant players in public policy debates and more equal partners in American life.
She has been called everything but a child of God. She’s had her private life made public in the most embarrassing and humiliating ways. She’s been assaulted for being too pushy in public life and too deferential to her husband in private.
Through it all, though, she’s soldiered on – and now she stands as perhaps the frontrunner to become the next leader of the free world.
Even at what should have been a moment of triumph for her, she found herself having to fight for the spotlight with two men.
The first was her borderline delusional Democratic opponent, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.
Sanders said in his concession speech after his thumping in the California primary that his math skills are pretty good, but there’s not much evidence of that.
The argument Sanders and his surrogates have been advancing for weeks now is that Clinton is winning only because of super delegates and other manifestations of a rigged system. That argument neatly overlooks the fact that Clinton has amassed several million more popular votes than he has in the marathon nominating process – that, in fact, she has collected more votes than any other candidate, Republican or Democrat, on the hustings right now.
The super delegates have made her win more decisive than it otherwise might have been, but she was winning – and was going to win – without them.
Sanders’ other contention has been that his campaign has been about inclusion, about making sure that all Americans have a voice in the process.
Yet when one of America’s greatest historic barriers to full participation fell as Clinton captured the votes necessary to claim the nomination, Sanders and his team didn’t stop to take note of the milestone.
No, they tried to deny the moment even had taken place.
About the best that could be said of Sanders’ conduct is that it was better than presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s, but that’s a bit like saying a cold is better than the plague.
Trump has spent recent days fulminating about the supposed unfairness shown by an Indiana-born judge presiding over litigation involving Trump University.
(An aside: Has anyone else ever noticed how often self-proclaimed tough guys like Trump whine about how “mean” people are to them? In their world, when the going gets tough, the tough apparently start crying.)
Trump has demanded the judge recuse himself because he is of Hispanic descent and that creates a conflict of interest.
Forget for the moment Trump’s tacit admission here that any American of Hispanic descent would be crazy to vote for him and instead focus on the narrowness of his vision.
He is the leader of a great party and under consideration to be the world’s most powerful leader and he meets those responsibilities by striving to rip apart the country on ethnic, racial and gender lines just to avoid some personal embarrassment.
Perhaps that’s to be expected. This is, after all, the same guy who complained Clinton was playing the “woman card” after he demeaned women in public statements and then touted his endorsement by a convicted rapist, Mike Tyson.
The fact that Hillary Clinton shattered the next-to-highest glass ceiling in America while two guys did their best to remind everyone that the story really should be all about them somehow is fitting.
History has a cruel sense of humor.
History has a cruel sense of humor.