Obama’s victory…

The endless Democratic primary season is finally ended and now that the smoke has cleared (a bit) Barak Obama is officially the winner.

This, of course, is historic.

And after a brutal and draining primary season the hard work really begins. Obama has less than six months to unite his party, pick a running mate and fight for election against John McCain. But this is nothing compared with the battle he has just won. This time last year he was 30 points behind the presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

Clinton had the profile, fundraising and political machine to cruise to an easy victory.

And then things took a turn. The rules had changed. Obama had the good sense to gather together a team who understood how elections could be won in the 21st century.

While Clinton financed her run from the list of traditional contributors, Obama’s team used the internet to appeal to millions of small donors – many who had never given money to a politician before. And in a time when many in America are feeling disenfranchised by Washington they donated more money than has ever been raised by a candidate in a primary before.

While the pundits have focused on the racial and gender aspects of the primary, they appear to have lost sight of this sea change. In an open source system the desire of the people can overwhelm the special interests who have used their cash to buy the best government money can buy.

Sure a candidate can raise tons of cash from the lobbyists, but a smart candidate can raise even more by promising to change the way things work in Washington.

After eight long years of Bush, where the interests of the corporation have been put ahead of the interests of the citizen, the time is obviously right.

Look at the issues, the undefined and unending war on terror, millions of hardworking Americans without health care, gas prices through the roof, an environmental crisis, predatory lending practices and rising unemployment.

Is it any wonder that Americans want change?

But there is more to it than that, people want a sense of hope again. After seven years of the Bush administration preaching fear, people are longing for inspiration.

They want a steady hand at the wheel, an Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt, to assure them that while things might appear bad, they will get better. And to assure them that they have a place in the system and that their government works for them.

Obama has this. His keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention was the highlight of the entire week. His soaring oratory lifted spirits and charged the convention hall. What a contrast to a sitting President who has difficultly putting two words together. Instantly, it seemed, Obama rose from obscurity to the national spotlight.

When he cast his hat into the ring, party insiders pronounced that it was “too early” and he didn’t have “experience”. Anyway, it was Hillary’s turn, she was going to be the nominee and that was that.

Except it wasn’t and no amount of dirty tricks, peripheral issues and distractions could sideline Obama. Who cares about flag pins and crazy preachers when soldiers are dying and people don’t have jobs or proper health care?

The fact that people responded and made him their candidate is cause for hope.

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