Hillary Clinton, who won about 3 million more popular votes than Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election but was defeated in the Electoral College, delivered a stirring call to the American people Wednesday night to elect Joe Biden as our next president.
Speaking at the virtual Democratic National Convention and wearing suffragette white 100 years after women finally got the right to vote, Clinton delivered a scathing indictment of the incompetent reality TV star who now occupies the Oval Office.
“I wish Donald Trump had been a better president.” Clinton said with obvious sincerity. “But, sadly, he is who he is. America needs a president who shows the same compassion, determination, and leadership in the White House that we see in our communities. Throughout this crisis, Americans have kept going — checking on neighbors, showing up to jobs as first responders and in hospitals, grocery stores, and nursing homes. Because it still takes a village.”
Some younger Democrats and progressives have asked why Clinton was even invited to speak at the convention. They are wrong to raise that question about the woman who almost became our first female president and who arguably ran as the most qualified non-incumbent presidential candidate in history.
Love her or hate her, Hillary Clinton is a brilliant attorney, public policy expert and dedicated public servant. While Trump claims he puts America first, it is abundantly clear now that he always selfishly puts Donald Trump first. Clinton is the true patriot, dedicating her life to serving our nation.
It’s still hard to believe that this brilliant woman was defeated by a loudmouth braggart and liar who makes policy via impulsive and insulting tweets, trusts the president of Russia over his own administration’s intelligence and foreign policy experts, and is clueless about how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic that has tragically killed more than 172,000 Americans.
As first lady, Clinton saw how the presidency works close up. Then as a senator representing New York and as secretary of state she played a key role in moving our country forward.
Now Clinton has enlisted in the most important election battle in decades, working to help her friend Joe Biden send Trump into a well-deserved political retirement and to elect Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as America’s first female vice president.
Clinton correctly pointed out that the Obama-Biden administration handed power to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at a time when America had a strong economy and a government based on facts and competence.
Clinton knows how important voting is — and how it can change the course of history and of our lives. In her remarks Wednesday night she encouraged us all to vote — whether in person or via mail-in-ballots. She reminded us of that day after the election in November 2016, when hundreds of thousands of Americans took to the streets angry that Donald Trump had won, many of them who never voted because they thought Clinton had it in the bag.
Clinton said: “For four years, people have said to me, ‘I didn’t realize how dangerous he was. I wish I could go back and do it over.’ Or worst, ‘I should have voted.’ Well, this can’t be another woulda, coulda, shoulda election. If you vote by mail, request your ballot now, and send it back as soon as you can. If you vote in person, do it early. Bring a friend and wear a mask. Become a poll worker. Most of all, no matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”
And Clinton reminded us to fight — like the suffragists fought to give women the vote; like the recently deceased Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who “marched and bled in Selma because that work was unfinished” as he fought against racism.
Clinton gave us hope amidst our despair as a people who feel broken. Broken from the deadly coronavirus; broken from high unemployment; broken from racial injustice; and broken from division and lack of unity in our nation.
Trump has turned us from the United States of America into the Divided States of America, betraying the office of president.
“There’s a lot of heartbreak in America right now — and the truth is, many things were broken before the pandemic,” Clinton said. “But, as the saying goes, the world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places. Joe Biden knows how to heal, unify, and lead, because he’s done all of that for his family and his country.”
And Clinton reminded us of how Democratic division in 2016 cost her the White House, and more importantly deprived our country of a president so much more capable than Trump.
“Joe and Kamala can win by over 3 million votes and still lose,” Clinton said. “Take it from me.”
The bottom line is that Hillary Clinton is a strong, wise and capable Democrat who broke barriers and made many cracks in glass and marble ceilings. She came as close as anyone could get to becoming president without crossing the finish line.
Clinton knows what it’s like to be on the ticket, to be polling well against an opponent and to lose the race for the White House. And while she will likely never become Madame President, the American people should take her advice and vote in record numbers to give us President Biden and Vice President Harris, because our nation can’t afford four more years of the disastrous leadership of the dysfunctional duo of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.