On Saturday night in South Carolina, after she had defeated Bernie Sanders by a margin of more than 47 points, winning in every county, white and black, Hillary Clinton gave a speech that she stated upfront was addressed to the nation. On Tuesday night, she won seven out of the 11 voting SuperTuesday states, most by double-digit margins, gaining at least 486 more delegates.
The most important reason for her political successes: Clinton’s simple message — true to herself and her many years in public service — has resonated with the population of voters that represents the diversity of our country.
She articulated the message clearly and concisely both on Saturday night in Columbia, S.C., and Tuesday night in Miami: “In America, when we stand together, there is no barrier too big to break … because together we can break down all the barriers holding our families and our country back.”
In an unmistakable reference to the divisive vitriol negativity about our country by GOP front-runner Donald Trump, she said: “Despite what you hear, we don’t need to make America great again. America has never stopped being great. But we do need to make America whole again. Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers. We need to show, by everything we do, that we really are in this together.”
Her presidential campaign, she said, was about building “ladders of opportunity and empowerment so every single American can have that chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.”
Clinton wants to bring us together, but she also identifies what changes must be made in the rigged economic system that benefits the few at the expense of many.
“Let there be no doubt in any boardroom or executive suite across this country: If you cheat your employees, exploit your customers, pollute our environment or rip off the taxpayers, we will hold you accountable. … It’s important that Wall Street never threaten Main Street again. No bank can be too big to fail and no executive too powerful to go to jail.”
Her focus is on what people care about most — jobs — and problem-solving to bring down the barriers that have thwarted broader economic and social justice.
“America isn’t a single-issue country,” she said. “We need more than a plan for the biggest banks. The middle class needs a raise. And we need more good jobs. Jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. Jobs that provide dignity and a path to a brighter future. … So let’s make new investments in manufacturing and small business, in scientific research, in clean energy — enough clean energy to power every home in America.”
She ended her speech on Saturday night by quoting one of her favorite scripture passages, from I Corinthians 13. “Love never fails. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
“These are words to live by, not only for ourselves, but also for our country,” the former first lady said. “I know it sometimes seems a little odd for someone running for president in these days, in this time, to say we need more love and kindness in America. But I’m telling you from the bottom of my heart we do. We do.
“There is no doubt in my mind that America’s best years can be ahead of us. We have got to believe that. We’ve got to work for that. We have to stand with each other. We have to hold each other up, lift each other up, move together into the future that we will make.”
So there it is: Clinton’s message, easy to understand. It’s a message of optimism for the future, of seeking common ground to “break down all the barriers holding our families and our country back,” a message seeking love and kindness in America, spoken from the heart.
This is the same Hillary Clinton I knew 46 years ago, the same person who drew friends in the audience from elementary school, even from kindergarten. This is the Hillary Clinton I am convinced will be elected as the next and first female president of the United States.
Lanny Davis served as special counsel to former President Clinton and is principal in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Lanny J. Davis & Associates, and Executive Vice President of the strategic communications firm, LEVICK. He is the author of a recently published book, Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping with Crises in Business, Politics, and Life (Threshold Editions/Simon and Schuster).