“The reason I am here tonight,” Edwards declared, “is the voters have made their choice and so have I.”
“When this nomination battle is over, and it will be over soon, brothers and sisters,” Edwards said, “we must come together as Democrats and in the fall stand up for what matters in America and make America what it needs to be.”
John Edwards, throughout this primary season, has first and foremost been a populist. Sometimes that means standing in front of folks, meeting their gaze with a clear-eyed vision of what needs to be done to help people in this country and abroad. Sometimes it means talking and leading.
And sometimes it means listening.
John Edwards has done a lot of listening these past few months, and that led him to where he was tonight, under the glare of white lights in front of news cameras, the subject of countless pundits making countless predictions and counter-predictions.
Sometimes you have to talk, and sometimes you have to listen.
Edwards had always insisted that he wasn’t endorsing so that the process could play out, so that voters could make up their own minds. That process is nearing an end. The people have spoken. And the only way that Hillary Clinton could pull out the nomination right now is to take it to the convention, attempt to sway the super delegates and try to seat folks in Michigan and Florida based on a flawed primary process in both of those states. Arguing coulda, shoulda, woulda’s on the convention floor wouldn’t aid the cause of electing a Democratic President in November.
Edwards had a choice to make: allow things to go all the way to the convention, where Very Important People could talk, and argue, and talk some more.
Or listen to the millions and millions of people who stood in line on election day, waiting for the few minutes they had in the privacy of a small voting booth to make their voices heard.
What would a populist do? The choice is obvious: listen to the people.
I love Hillary Clinton. I’ve defended her many times from attacks that I felt were unfair and unwarranted. I love the fact that she fought, and fought, and continues to fight until the very last primary.
But this isn’t about Hillary. It isn’t about John. And it isn’t about Barack.
It’s about all of us, collectively, trying to build a better country. That can’t be done without the will of the majority of the people. And at this point they have spoken.
John heard them, weighed their voices against his own private thoughts and made his decision accordingly.
It’s what a populist does.