The People Have Spoken

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Last night was an emotional victory no matter how you cut it. Pennsylvanians spoke and they spoke loudly. Pennsylvanians spoke not simply in choosing Clinton by a 10 point spread as the Democratic presidential candidate, but also by their demonstrated commitment to the political process. Clinton and Obama aren’t the only ones who are tired; we too survived seven long weeks of campaigning!

Pennsylvanians spent the last seven weeks debating, discussing and rallying for their respective candidates and ultimately, for the integrity of the democratic process. Yesterday morning at 7:30am I walked into my polling place, two neighbors were working the table and a friendly face was managing the lines. Unity and a collective sense of empowerment were ubiquitous. The morning had a “small-town” atmosphere despite Philadelphia’s metropolitan population. I over-heard women outside of the polling place talk about how they never thought they’d cast a vote for a female presidential nominee. Similar conversations were had among people awed having voted for an African-American as the presidential nominee. I was most moved by someone who changed their Independent status to Democrat on the last permissible day just to be able to speak out in this election and another 47 year-old who never voted before in any election but this time, felt a civic duty. In fact, one out of every seven Democratic Party voters who voted last night was not registered as a Democrat at the beginning of the year.

Neither candidate is expected to win the 2,025 delegates needed to clinch the nomination by the end of the primary season in June. I’m not going to bore you with talk of delegates and super delegates; I’ll leave that to my man-crush, Anderson Cooper. That being said, we all know that the numbers are not in Clintons’ favor. If she doesn’t take North Carolina and Indiana, it’ll be difficult for Clinton to make a case to the super delegates that although she has fewer pledged delegates, fewer popular votes, and won fewer states, they should give her the nomination. In doing so the Democratic Party risks voters defecting in large numbers – especially among African-American and young voters.

When the smoke clears, what we all share in common is the desire to see a Democrat in the White House come January 20, 2009. That is evidenced by the fact that yesterday was a record turnout for a primary in Pennsylvania with some 50-60% of voters showing up at the polls. McCain will be difficult to beat but Obama has charisma surpassed only by the likes of JFK, Jr. and Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, with Hillary Clinton, we have a candidate that is tried and true, a political machine with extensive experience. The American people have something that doesn’t happen very often in political races, we have a choice between two very fine candidates.

Hillary Clinton said it best when she declared yesterday’s victory “for the people”. Pennsylvania and the American people won big. Not simply because of Clinton’s double digit victory, but because the American people reclaimed their voice.

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