I think something amazing is happening. There is a magnificent slow march to Washington happening before our eyes. This close it is hard to make out, and its exact description will take better writers working more skillfully than I to describe it. It will take a little remove, a little distance in time, to put it all in perspective. But some things are clear.
There is a march to Washington happening, and it is huge, massive beyond experience. In each state the totals are larger, the participants more varied and their choice amazingly clear. Last night Hawai'i voted in a landslide to send its delegates to Denver to make Barack Obama the Democratic Presidential Nominee. But it wasn't just a landslide for Obama, it was a landslide for Hawai'ians. The number of people voting in the Democratic Party caucus was seven fold the highest number ever to vote before. Seven fold. Seven
Wisconsin had I think if not the highest, among the highest turnout for a primary for any state ever. The highest. And HRC beat every Republican combined. If you add all the votes for all Republicans together, they do not come close to the number for HRC alone. An amazing achievement, were not for the fact that she also lost in a landslide to Barack Obama. The numbers of people coming forward to commit, to wait in lines, to brave weather to stand in cold rain to declare their democratic choice for Obama is simply unheard of. If there were drums beating and soaring inspirational music, and there will be in the historical drama that will be produced, it would not have been out of place at the schools and community centers of Honolulu and Madison. And this is not the first time. Obama has won states with 70% many times, with 60% many times. These are whole communities making up their minds at once.
And it is a diverse community, a community of communities. It is amazing to see (I)Independents and independents and uncommitted and youth all choosing Obama, it is amazing to see 12 year Republicans excited about being able to help and move Obama forward. Large portions of communities that are not known to be involved in politics are part of the march that is in progress. We have been watching the battle for delegates, so we haven't seen, or are just beginning to recognize, the juggernaut massing before us. It's growing, its getting more confident, and its reaching out.
I don't think this could have happened without Clinton. If HRC had conceded early Obama would not have grown so large, if HRC had not played her campaign the way she did, it would not have contrasted so well, shown why it was not just possible but necessary to stand and march with him. She has tested Obama, and honed his skills, she has pressed him, as did Edwards, and sharpened him. If there is one thing about her attacks and the results last night is that Obama knows now he cannot go negative and off his message of hope. Edwards chided him well in debates, but HRC proved it, voters proved it in Wisconsin and Hawai'i.
Part of what makes HRC admirable is her strength and grit. Make no mistake, this is a formidable woman. She has chosen in her life to work for us with her skills, she has learned how to fight with moneyed interests and the special interests and "those that have a strangle-hold on Democracy" as Edwards so aptly declared, and she can play them like nobody's business.
If hope was lower, if Obama and his message of change wasn't available and compelling, that might be what we needed. But that isn't what Americans want anymore, not now. They want it swept away. The corruption, the money, the "strangle hold on Democracy" -- all of it.
If it felt to Americans that it was still a gladiators fight with the moneyed interests throwing fighters into the arena, fighters so similar we needed to look close to see if one would be more for us, which might send us some small relief, and they felt it was not going to change, if hope had not been raised, if the need had not be so apparent, if the desire - the demand, for change, fundamental change, were not so great, Hillary Clinton would be our champion. But American is not willing to settle any more. They want the spectacle to end, the game to end and the promise of America to be kept. Obama calls to that unkept promise.
So when the dust settles, I think we must thank Hillary Clinton for the heat and fire of this campaign furnace. Without it, many fewer would have come to Obama's side. The massive numbers of people coming forward to choose Obama to stand with him to push him forward, to march with him to Washington, would have been smaller, the distinction not so clear. They can now see what the choice is, and why Clinton is part of the past, even if part of our past victories as well. Clinton in many ways is responsible for providing the circumstances, the opportunity, of so many more Americans to think: I am part of this movement.
In state after state, in community after community, people can say "I am part of this." It is happening because "I chose to commit" to organize, to show up, many when they haven't even ever done so before.
It will be said about this campaign, what glorious hopeful people these are, these Americans.