It goes without saying – but I'll belabor the point anyway – that I write this knowing full well no part of it will win me many friends, not here. So be it, Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.
If you’re looking for ambiguity, apologies or hesitation, look elsewhere.
Hillary Clinton is the best choice we have in 2016. I’m going to vote for her, have voted for her before, look forward to doing so again. I’ll cast that ballot with all the enthusiasm in the world, not because she can win and will win, not as a compromise, not holding my nose as I sadly pine for the ghost of Paul Wellstone to take the flesh anew, none of that – because I want her to be the next President of the United States.
a front-runner Donald Trump; a "trump" being apparently what scientists call the host organism to an alien hair form.
If that sounds like damning with faint praise – better than Trump? Of course, and so is a talking jockstrap – I'll go a step further: she has all the traits of a good President in the making and a distinct chance to be great, qualities I do not see in any other contender.
Some on our side say she’s the lesser of evils because blah reason blah, a Jeb Bush with more dynastic baggage and a bigger bank account, or whatever; I say she’s a singular talent uniquely suited to the moment and the office.
Don't believe me? No problem; take it away, Marco Rubio of the puppy dog eyes:
"This election cannot be a resume competition," Rubio said. If it is, he said, "Clinton will win."
Time will tell the truth of it; not we but our children will write our history. We get to live it and shape it, but the distance required for pure objectivity is not ours, nor is the foresight it would take to map out tomorrow with much clarity.
We can however look back with some precision, so what is certain is this: if she is elected, or rather when she is elected – put that in your inevitability pipe and smoke it – she will be the first female President of the United States, clothed with immense power as Lincoln said, marking another milestone for the nation on a par with the epochal election of America’s first black President.
Today, young black men know they can grow up to be President; tomorrow, young women will know the same. Never underestimate the symbolic power of the supreme office, or what it means to see the American Presidency redefined before our eyes.
Nor is it the case, not in my experience at least, that All the excitement is for Bernie; and while I very much doubt all women will support her candidacy, this much is true: it’s hard to imagine being entirely immune to the thrill of knowing this particular glass ceiling is poised to shatter. Which is exactly what many women in my life at least are: thrilled that the time has come. Discount half the country if you will, but know you do so at your peril.
Some will be offended by the suggestion that gender could play a role in casting a vote, no matter the precise extent of that role; certainly when there are ‘issues’ at stake. Well, gender is an issue. It is an issue for me. Anyone lazy or dumb enough to claim gender is absent weight, a mere frivolity compared to this or that subject of obviously greater heft has no business calling themselves a Progressive.
Gender or demography are however not at the heart of my case or even dispositive to it. Were it otherwise, I would have cast a ballot for Christine Quinn as mayor of New York.
If a President shapes the times and the nation, equally the inverse is true: the times and the country shape the chief executive.
Abraham Lincoln had a terrible speaking voice and one term in Congress; he held the Union together through rebellion and war, freed an entire race of Americans from bondage, spoke words that will blaze on marble long after all of us are dust.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, bound to a wheelchair, rebuilt the nation out of ruinous economic calamity and then, at the very apex of American power, crafted a new and enduring order out of the squalid chaos of a world shattered by war.
Barack Obama could very well come to be considered among the great; I suspect he will be, but I don't know, nor do you, nor does anyone, all of us lacking the distance of history. What matters is this: the next President will inherit Obama's America. The underlying question is rather simple: do we build on Obama’s legacy, give deeper meaning to the sacrifices it entailed, or do we discard it?
This America, Barack Obama's America, is a country engaged in rapid, accelerating and unpredictable change. Ours is a nation of immigrants built anew by every restless generation, a young country free of the burdens millennia of history impose on the older nation-states of Europe or Asia. One country on a planet grown smaller, more densely populated, more connected and more fragile than at any time in our history as a nation. There is no precedent and no roadmap, only the certainty of the new and unknown.
This change can either be managed or ignored. It cannot be arrested. But those are the choices before us and the challenges facing our next President.Follow @MichaelBouldin