Following Barack Obama's official nomination last night, delegates formerly pledged to Hillary Clinton have struggled to formally, as well as personally, bring closure to a historic and emotional chapter in American political history. At a suburban Denver hotel this morning, one group of Clinton delegates from the Oregon delegation took some time after a larger breakfast gathering to meet privately to discuss their next step. Ten minutes later, a representative emerged to issue an informal press release by handing it, handwritten on lined notebook paper, to two nearby bloggers.
These delegates' announcement is a sincere statement of their mature acceptance of Clinton's loss and their strong commitment to party unity. However, the fact that they felt they had to communicate their decision by handing it uncertainly to the closest media representative, rather that tapping into the DNC's professional, efficient media communication organization, suggests a potentially serious disconnect between the Democratic Party and the earnest, valuable Clinton delegates it both wants and needs to bring back into the fold. Clinton's delegates should have felt comfortable issuing their communique through the DNC; the DNC should have foreseen situations like this and gone out of its way to ensure that her delegates knew that they were welcome to do so.
If this vignette is representative, it may provide a window into the sense of isolation some Clinton delegates may be feeling as Clinton's trailblazing journey comes to an end -- and suggests that both the party and the Obama campaign still have work to do if they sincerely want to integrate this cadre of battle-hardened ground troops into a unified, and successful, campaign.