It’s true; I didn’t. In 2008, that is. Never mind that I have been in the tank for her for years. Not just back then, but all the way back when she was the First Lady. I didn’t vote for Obama, either. I didn’t vote in that primary at all because I thought my vote didn’t matter in the larger picture of the primary, there was no Senate race so I wasn’t worried about Boxer or Feinstein losing their seat, and most apathy inducing of all, I believed that the outcome was a foregone conclusion. I live in California. Not only that, I live in one of the most liberal bubbles of California, the Bay Area. I wasn’t worried.
I’ve regretted missing that election in the eight years since. So, when I got to cast my ballot for Hillary, I felt like I was making up for lost time. Yes, Hillary did win that race by a narrow margin, so it’s not like I blame myself for the outcome.
The thing is, I didn’t just vote for Hillary today. I voted for Zoe Lofgren, Kamala Harris, Jim Beale, Josh Barousse. You might not know who those people are, but that’s okay. I do. I want them to represent me in the House of Representatives, the Senate, the California State Senate, and the San Jose City Council. They’re going to have a far bigger impact on the liberal bubble I love living in that whoever sits in the Oval Office.
2008 Liz didn’t get a chance to help choose who protected her liberal bubble from popping, and that was a mistake. I haven’t missed an election since, nor do I mean to. (My brother channelling his inner Shame Nun when I finally confessed my sin of civic duty to him is enough of a deterrent.)
When the AP announced yesterday that Hillary was the presumptive nominee, even though I knew I was voting for her, I was upset. It felt a ploy of the 24-hour news cycle to get ahead of the elections on Tuesday. Worse than that, it felt like voter suppression. How many other versions of apathetic 2008 Liz might have been deterred from voting from that announcement?
On this day in 2008, Hillary conceded after a hotly contested primary, but only after fighting until the bitter end and making the case that she was the better nominee for the general election. I fully expect Bernie to do the same. The convention hadn’t happened yet, but Obama had won the popular vote and the support of the superdelegates. She read the writing on the wall. Once she did concede, the acrimonious primary was set aside and she went to work for the Obama administration. She still got to have a voice in the running of the country.
I voted for Obama that fall because he was the better candidate; voting for the first black president was a bonus. I am looking forward to voting for Hillary this fall because she is the better candidate. Voting for the first woman president is a bonus, but it not the primary reason why I wanted to vote for her in 2008 and why I voted for her today.
She’s pragmatic and has a vision of incremental change. I’m not much of an idealist and I don’t believe in revolution. She did what she had to do in what has always been a hostile environment for her. I respect that. I emulate that myself as a leader. That’s what I want in the leader of my country.
Hillary is also willing to compromise and play ball. She did that with Obama, after all. As good as it feels to be on the other side of the equation, I hope she looks back on 2008 and offers Bernie a place in her administration. I hope Bernie looks back at 2008, at a race just as contested as this one has been, and takes her up on her offer.