Sen. Bernie Sanders, bless his heart, intends to hang on until next week’s deeply anticlimactic Washington, D.C., primary that awards 20 fairly useless delegates. And that’s fine. But Hillary Clinton’s got it. She’s got the nomination in every possible way unless Sanders pulls off some Game of Thrones-worthy mischief at the convention.
Sanders won two states in the final Super Tuesday of 2016–North Dakota and Montana–though he lost the big prize–California. The night gave him a few more delegates, but not the miracle number needed to catch Clinton, who was declared the nominee by the AP on June 6. She performed above expectations, and #imwithher trended wildly on Twitter. A woman is the presumptive presidential nominee for a major party, which said woman pointed out with some self-satisfaction in her Tuesday speech.
Clinton rhetorically took it all the way back to the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, which is basically Feminist Year 1. She wasn’t hiding from the feminist hype. She was building on it. Her speech was a classy, solid mixture of brashness and was magnanimous towards Sanders and towards everyone who isn’t feeling her yet. She’s such a political force that she feels inevitable.
Meanwhile, a pleased Donald Trump also tried to play solemn and grateful and actually used a teleprompter. Thought not always well.
He gave various shoutouts to the unsatisfied fans of other parties, with a particular “open arms” welcome to Sanders fans who were “left out in the cold by a rigged system of superdelegates.” Both Clinton and Trump are hungry to bring sad Sanders fans into the fold. They are the prized pig to fight over until November, being generally youthful and enthusiastic and ready to vote for someone they actually like.
So what’s the takeaway?
Well, hey, remember when America was slightly worried/bemused that campaign 2016 was going to be a race between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush? As in, what would happen if America was so pathologically, shamelessly oligarchical that we just went with our second Clinton and our third Bush battling it out for executive power?
Even wondering whether Jeb! “Please Clap” Bush would be a threat to Trump seems laughable now. Except that his flame-out and Trump’s success is so bizarre that we’ve forgotten how bizarre it is. America and the world at large has had almost a year to be confused by Donald Trump’s audacity in running for president and to be even more bewildered by his enthusiastic, frequently alarming, occasionally neo-Nazi fans.
We also learned the U.S. is not ready for a democratic socialist president, but it is ready for a guy with similar economic nationalism, only with less humanitarian feeling.
The end result of Hillary and Donald going at it this fall does prove that American politics is a little bit more interesting than we thought. These are our choices: not two members of families with surnames that have lately been overrepresented in the Oval Office. No, we get the perfect, ironed, daughter of D.C., and the rich, cranky, nonsensical populist. Here in American politics we truly run the gamut from A to B, but for a while there we were worrying it was going to be A to A.