Hillary Clinton made history last night, becoming the first female presumptive nominee for either party after winning 56 percent of the California vote and securing 257 of the states’ 475 delegates. The historic moment deserved an historic speech. She failed to deliver, wasting half of her speech on standard partisan attacks and demonstrating yet again that she does not have the capacity to inspire the public.
“It may be hard to see tonight, but we’re all standing under a glass ceiling right now,” said Clinton to a victory crowd in Brooklyn. “But don’t worry, we’re not smashing this one. Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone. The first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee.”
That was about as inspiring and clever as the speech would get. Clinton went on to officially dismiss Sanders (who still refuses to concede), condescendingly thanking him for encouraging “vigorous debate” about “how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility.”
“It may be hard to see tonight, but we’re all standing under a glass ceiling right now.”
She followed the empty praise by offering an olive branch to his rabid followers, saying, “Now I know it never feels good to put your heart into a cause or a candidate you believe in and to come up short. I know that feeling well.” She followed the line with a hypocritical knock on Wall Street to try to prove to them she was on their side.
She then transitioned into her partisan and divisive attack on Trump, his supporters, and conservatism in general.
“We believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better division, empowerment is better than resentment and bridges are better than walls,” she said, adding that those who want to “make America great again” are really trying to “take America backwards, back to a time when opportunity and dignity we reserved for some not all”:
[Donald Trump is] promising his supporters an economy he cannot re-create. We have a prosperity that lifts everyone who has been left out and left behind including those who may not vote for us but who deserve their chance to make a new beginning. When Donald Trump says a distinguished judge born in Indiana can’t do his job because of his Mexican heritage or he mocks a reporter with disabilities or calls women pigs, it goes against everything we stand for. Because we want an America where everyone is treated with respect and where their work is valued. Donald Trump attacked the press for asking tough questions, denigrated Muslims and immigrants. He wants to win by stoking fear and rubbing salt in wounds. And reminding us daily just how great he is.
Having slammed Trump, Clinton shifted her attack to conservatives in general. Those who argue against raising the minimum wage she characterized as “complain[ing] that hard-working people’s wages are too high.” Those who don’t believe we should further the massive student loan debt problem by encouraging even more irresponsibility, she suggested, are somehow catering to the “super wealthy.” Then, of course, there are all those global warming deniers:
We believe we should lift each other up, not tear each other down. We believe we need to give Americans a raise, not complain that hard-working people’s wages are too high. We believe we need to help young people struggling with student debt, not pile more on our national debt with give-aways to the super wealthy. We believe we fled to make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century, not insist that climate change is a hoax.
All this, she said, is being “small,” not “big hearted” and “fair minded,” as we must be if we want America to be truly “great.” And of course, it’s all racist:
To be great, we can’t be small. We have to be as big as the values that define America. And we are a big-hearted, fair-minded country. We teach our children that is one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Not just for people who look a certain way or worship a certain way or love a certain way. For all, indivisible.
Despite having clearly drawn the partisan lines, Clinton insisted that this election is “not about the same old fights between Republicans and Democrats.” No, this election “is different.” How so? That wasn’t exactly clear, but she is the nominee after all, so there’s that.
She ended by asking people to join her for the sake of history.
“Now you are writing a new chapter of that story,” she said. “This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of us and this is our moment to come together. Join our campaign.”
Partial transcript via Vox.