In Reno, Nevada, Hillary delivered a powerful address as unvarnished as it was important, detailing how Trump is running a campaign centering white nationalism – and urging us to recognize that Trump has shown us who he is for decades.
“This is a moment of reckoning for all of us who love our country and believe that America is better than this.”
Hillary’s transfixing speech was among the best of modern political speeches. It was not a fiery speech, although she showed flashes of welcome anger about the direction in which Trump is trying to lead this nation. Her steady, quiet delivery befitted the grave content of her message: We have a choice to make, and it is not just between two candidates, but about what we want our country to be.
Recall after the primary, a number of political commentators predicted that Hillary would begin to move rightward. But it was not Hillary who moved right; it was Trump. He moved ever further to the right, aligning himself with white nationalists and mainstreaming their ugly constellation of bigotries.
And in this moment, Hillary did not shy away from making the most straightforward assessment and blunt criticisms of Trump and his long history of “paranoia and prejudice.” To the contrary, she stepped up and did not hold back.
This was Hillary Clinton as president. There is a threat to our nation and she gave a state address to name it, to condemn it, to tell us she’s got it, and urge us to step up to defeat it.
This is a moment of reckoning.
It is a moment of reckoning for voters, who must choose between two vastly different visions for the country.
It is a moment of reckoning for the Republican Party, who must choose whether they will limply concede the takeover of their party by white nationalists.
It is a moment of reckoning for the media, who must choose whether they will continue to mischaracterize Hillary and promulgate a grotesque caricature of her, even after she stood at a podium and delivered an important, powerful address in which she put the love of her country – and the marginalized people in it – above any pretense of reaching out (or indulging) extremists; above any sense of hesitation, as she called out the “racist lies” Trump has told and made clear how she feels about the Confederate flag; above any inclination to center herself, though she, too, has been targeted, in alarming ways, by Trump’s escalating rhetoric; above any worry about how this will be “spun,” because it was necessary.
It is a moment of reckoning for us all. Including Hillary. Who had a choice of her own to make. And who made the choice to lead, because that is what we expect – and need – our presidents to do.
“The hard truth is,” said Hillary, “there’s no other Donald Trump. This is it.” She quoted Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Trump, she said, “has shown us exactly who he is. We should believe him.”
She’s right. He has.
And Hillary has shown us exactly who she is, too.
UPDATE: Watch Hillary’s entire address below. Transcript available here.