The Night Clinton Won the Nomination
Live coverage of the final primaries echoes like a gunshot throughout my new one bedroom apartment in San Jose, California. It seems that my golden state has been the center of a lot of things lately: the NBA finals, Senator Bernie Sanders’ most pivotal campaign rallies and of course the last ditch effort of Hillary Clinton to win over the granola-eating, organic produce-buying, Whole Foods-shopping public of our sovereign land.
I voted early this weekend for Bernie Sanders. Any journalist that claims bi-partisanship would never tell you who they voted for. Some avoid the statement of their political leanings for fear of losing their affiliations, others decide to carry out the appearance of objectivism in public but talk with their mouths agape in private over beers and pizza. A few use Twitter as their sounding board while others seethe with rage while watching themselves spew out lies on TV.
I don’t put much stock in the whole “appearance versus reality” thing anymore. If my last year of writing has been any indication, my popularity extends from my honesty. So yes, I voted for Senator Sanders. I voted for Senator Sanders at the Registrar of Voters in Santa Clara, California on Sunday, June 5th, 2016.
Lines wrapped out the doors of the building. If you didn’t know any better you’d think it were a hospital because from the outside it’s all parking spots and ugly brown bricks. The air of paperwork done in triplicate and thousands of lost votes still echoes in its chambers on Berger Drive. Decades of Democrats and Republicans have walked these halls, waiting in lines that stretch in and out of its lofty corridors.
I fell to the same fate and proudly voted for the first time in my home state of California. Moving throughout my childhood led me to leave Los Angeles county when I was 3 years old. I remember Disney Land and not much else.
San Jose has been alright so far. It was hotter than God’s hot tub when I moved into my new place, a respectable 800 square foot filing cabinet for a young adult. Somewhere to put my things. Somewhere to watch election results on the TV I paid for with a credit card.
Sunday feels like a lifetime ago. My I voted sticker has been through the washer and ruined a perfectly good shirt.
As I write this, It’s Tuesday night and I’ve just flipped on the television. MSNBC seems to be an alright place to view election results. It’s the least nauseating in my opinion and yet still allows the acid in my stomach to rise and burn my throat.
After several cups of cold water I finally understand that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee in this complacent and scattered year of our lord, 2016. Under similar circumstances the prospect of a female president would make me jump for joy, but today there’s a distinct sadness in me.
You see, after seeing Sanders speak in Sacramento it became clear to me that most of his campaign tactics were carried out under the guise of passion and compassion. Sanders listens to his voters and the people who disagree with him. He proved himself to be a different kind of candidate, a politician who under extraordinary pressure, did not blatantly attack the character of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, but rather brought up practical differences that people already were disgusted with. By doing that he appeared to have control of his campaign, until he started attacking the Clinton Global Initiative and requesting transcripts of Hillary’s speeches to Goldman Sachs. These statements felt like Trump.
All the information he requested could be used by Donald Trump to defeat her as nominee and continue his reign of terror. Political pundits agree that Sanders doesn’t have to give up his beautiful ideas and his movement of young people. He just has to wrap his head around the fact that he came incredibly close to drilling the establishment in the gut and do his best to fight the good fight and kill the greater evil.
I grab a Sonoma Cider from the fridge. It’s an overpriced artisanal brew that has cactus leaves and bourbon in its mix. Organic, fair trade, 6% alcohol. What a waste of calories. It tastes like an old shoe.
My arms are sore from typing. The bourbon helps me sleep, although I can’t seem to pull myself away from the television. The talking heads at MSNBC are transfixed on the appeal of young Sanders supporters who, defiant as ever, still refuse to support Hillary Clinton.
They wonder why. Why? Because today the young people are as irate as the hippies of the ’60’s, and culture is paralleling that. We’re in the middle of a new civil rights movement, women are still fighting inequality, and jobs are harder to come by than a debt-free twenty-something. The bottom line is that people aren’t ready to surrender. That, or Hillary Clinton needs to find a new PR and marketing manager for her campaign. Maybe somebody who can make cat videos go viral can fix her up.
The coverage continues between swigs and I notice a distinct calm in the open air of my apartment. I’ve let the windows fly free and the shades open in the twilight. That’s the thing about California, the sunsets could stop your heart.
Of course, all the magazine covers will say “First Female Nominee In HISTORY” and that will be a victory for women, despite any political standing. Hillary Clinton is the FIRST WOMAN IN HISTORY TO EVER BE NOMINATED FOR PRESIDENT.
Let those words sink in. In the same decade that we had the first African-American president, we (God willing, at this point) will have the first female president. It is historic, and as the Sanders supporters on various California Facebook groups rally to vote against Hillary and write in Sanders, I can’t help but feel as if that may just be the worst possible decision and lead to the election of President Trump and a new age of hysteria. The Red Scare all over again.
Hillary gave a moving speech that had all the energy of a Sanders rally. She claimed her place in history. It was truly, deeply moving. I will remember watching her forever.
9:31P.M and 32 percent of the California vote has been counted. It doesn’t matter though, the nomination is Hillary’s.
Sanders has been a fan favorite in California and his rallies have drawn record numbers. I would know, I was there. The passion was moving. The energy, unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and yet at the end of this we come to a bitter stalemate. There is such anger within the Sanders supporters. They are furious. They attack Hillary. They refuse to budge.
I do not say “we” because I understand politics and this process far too well. Maybe it’s a cynical view that should be reserved for someone much older than me. In an ideal world, for me, Sanders would become a key advisor in Clinton’s cabinet and his legacy would never be forgotten. He might do better in the Senate, as it is my firm opinion that congress has more power than the president, at least in 2016 when everyone is gridlocked and refuses to work for the people.
I may pick up a copy of the magazines with Hillary’s face on them, for posterity, for my children who may not believe what happened after history proves itself to repeat. I’m not sure what the rest of the campaign holds, or if I’ll have the energy to invest myself in it.
Of course, Clinton and Trump debates will be more ridiculous than an oppressed elephant riding a tiny inflatable ball in front of a bunch of screaming children in the midwest. But let us ponder for a moment, what would have happened if Bernie had been able to keep the revolution alive?Would we have a different outcome?
I guess now, it’s not worth thinking about because forward motion is always the idealist’s goal in politics right? And as an idealist, a moralist, someone who believes indefinitely in the abstract karmic renderings of right and wrong…how can I support Hillary? Can I bring myself to her side to defeat the great evil?
More research is necessary, but as it stands I view Sanders’ campaign as a victory, because in record numbers he drove the doomed youth of these United States to the polls, and like never before we listened.