In a huge, significant moment for America, Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee Tuesday night. It has been a race that broke barriers and trod new territory. Eight candidates started out: among them, the first white woman, the first Hispanic, and the first Vegan and the most successful bid by an African American for the top office in the land. Scores of hotly-fought primaries and caucuses later, millions of voters have been lured into the process, and thousands of new activists have been trained.
The night after the final races – the candidates thanked their supporters and swore their unending allegiance to their constituents. Senator Clinton pledged specifically, when asked what she wanted: “I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard, no longer to be invisible,” It was a non-concession speech that let the air of contest – if not the contest itself live on.
So after all that talk of the new, and constituents and change and choice. It brings one up short to be reminded, so soon, that some traditions remain the same. After all that competitive racing, on the day after the final primary both Clinton and Obama headed to the same place, over to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee whose annual convention has long been Washington’s top bi-partisan pledge fest. Between June 2-4, Sen. Clinton, Obama and McCain will speak, as will Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Harry Reid, and Mitch McConnell. Races like candidates come and go, but some things never change.
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