If Bill Clinton Didn’t Unite The Democrats, Nobody Can

“Spring of 1971 I met a girl”….nobody can spin a yarn like Bill Clinton. If anyone can humanize Mrs. Roboto, and melt the ice queen image Hillary has cultivated over the last 40 years, it’s her husband. There was not a hint of negativity in Clinton’s speech. It was classic Bill.

The Clinton who was once a two term president spent 41 minutes recounting his wife’s life story, managing to weave as many states into the tale as possible (Illinois, Alaska, Texas, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, Arkansas, West Virginia). He even managed to mention Israel without drawing boos. And of course, he referenced Michelle Obama and the Kennedys, along with Newt Gingrich, the military, and veterans–drawing cheers, not a single boo.

Using Chelsea as a vehicle, Bill emphasized Hillary as a mother. In Bill’s world, she was a nurturer, a protector, a common-sense problem-solver, focusing on kids and families. It was (literally) motherhood, served without the apple pie. You want to believe Bill when he speaks, because he’s one of the most persuasive people on the planet.

Bill isn’t frightening, he doesn’t shout, and his tone is friendly, folksy, and completely bereft of stridency. When Bill makes his point (“speeches like this are fun, actually doing the work is hard”), it hits home.

“Hillary’s done a pretty fine job of being a mother.” By the end, everyone in the room was convinced that Hillary is running for Mother-In-Chief. Bill skipped over his 8 years in the White House, and went right to Hillary’s senate tenure, and time as secretary of state. He conveniently missed talking about Benghazi, but talked about climate change and women’s rights in China.

“How does this square with the things you heard at the Republican convention? One is real, the other is made up. You just have to decide which is which.” It’s a perfect question. It’s like the Man In Black versus Vezzini, to the death. The poison is in both cups.

After 48 minutes, all hints of Sanders sadness were washed away by the golden tones of the master persuader, Slick Willy, displaying all his prodigious powers. They were cheering Hillary with unrestrained gusto.

Of the three–Hillary, Donald and Bill–Bill is the youngest at 69 years old. And he’s still got it. If Bill could run for another term, he’d win. Bill is the greatest weapon Hillary has, and if he didn’t unite the Democrats, then it’s likely nobody can.

Goodbye Nominating Conventions, Hello Hollywood

At 2012’s Republican National Convention, Clint Eastwood spoke to an empty chair, addressing President Obama. In 2016, the empty chair spoke–through the mouth of Donald Trump.

Goodbye nominating conventions. Hello Hollywood.

There’s never been a clearer signal that the day of political nominating conventions in America is over. In 2012, Ron Paul supporters were suppressed using the convention rules and RNC staffers, rendering state delegations neutered as Mitt Romney ascended to the nomination. In 2016, even more draconian methods were employed to squash the will of delegates.

When the indications first started that a rules vote was potentially in the offing, the whip team sprang into motion. They knew exactly every person who had signed a petition to force a roll call vote. They approached all of these people personally and asked, “Okay, what is the problem? What don’t you approve of in terms of the rules? How can we help answer your objection?” If this didn’t work, cajoling and threats to state funding were employed. If the initial whip was not able to persuade the renegade delegate, then a higher level whip would be employed with increasing levels of pressure. The whips knew they did not have to flip many people and they were ruthlessly effective in their objective.

Let’s be honest. More actual business is transacted during a Shriners or Legionnaires convention than the RNC or DNC nominating conventions. The platforms are uniformly ignored. Voice votes are rigged, and efforts at real accountability for the leaders are crushed. The delegates are what Leon Wolf called “window dressing.” They are mere vote-bots.

The convention is just a show for ratings.

Trump’s coronation garnered an average of 22 million viewers for primetime coverage through Wednesday. Thursday’s ratings for Donald’s great big terrific speech haven’t come out yet (that I could find as of this writing), but it’s likely to be in line with the previous days, and possibly more. Trump is tracking better than 2012 according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Democrats will now have their show, complete with speechifying, anti-Israel invective and enough safe space to park all the kindergartens in America.

I think it’s time to recognize the futility of having a primary and nominating process drawn out over months. I think we should look at either an online voting method or a national primary, and cut out all the ridiculous Potemkin democratic process that doesn’t exist at the conventions. The Democrats use super delegates to thwart anyone the leadership doesn’t like (even so, Bernie gave Hillary a run for her money). Now, the Republicans have shown over the last 8 years that there’s no overcoming a rigged system.

Trump is right–it’s rigged. But he’s okay with it being rigged in his favor. Just like he wants to rig everything to benefit his friends and people who support him, while others pay for his thumbless grasp of the most basic economic and global facts.