Hillary Clinton stood before a crowd of tens of thousands of people in Philadelphia on Monday night, sounding hoarse from her days of campaigning, wearing a bright red pantsuit as if to dare anyone to make fun it, the night before her historic election. She did not declare the race over, but the whole event felt breathtakingly close to a premature victory party. Clinton is ready to be off the campaign trail, and to be president of the United States.
It was intended as a perfect campaign event—a dignified pep rally for Democrats, featuring all party’s greatest hits. Bill and Chelsea were there, sweetly debating who was more excited about voting on Election Day. Barack Obama used his speech as an opportunity to run through his accomplishments and pitch Clinton as a continuation of his legacy. Michelle Obama arguably stole the show, just as she did at this summer’s convention, arguing that “we deserve a leader who sees our diversity not as a threat, but a blessing.” Like many others in the evening’s line-up, she observed that “we are one day away from once again making history.”
But beneath the speakers’ sangfroid, behind their swagger about Trump and confidence in Hillary and total conviction that she will win on Tuesday, there were hints that this has not, in fact, been eight years of unmitigated success in Washington, and that many Americans do not, in fact, see this election primarily as a historic moment for women. A lot of people, including many of those in Pennsylvania, do not see this as day to be celebrated and relished. Clinton clearly has fans. They came out en masse on Monday night. But if she does, in fact, become president—which looks likely, but is by no means assured—she will take on a country that is right now not “together,” but terribly sundered.