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Steve Hildebrand

Steve Hildebrand

Posted: December 15, 2008 02:26 PM

The Raising of the Right Hand


Today, the Electoral College delegates in all 50 states will convene to cast their votes and formally elect Barack Obama President.

In so many ways, Obama's "movement for change" transformed politics in a way I've never experienced. His inspirational and steady leadership touched the lives of millions and millions across the country and the world.

An unprecedented number of people came together as volunteers, activists, neighborhood organizers and small contributors. This commitment from people of all walks of life was an inspiration I won't forget.

It's important for me to recognize the huge army of the most talented young workers who filled important roles at every level of the campaign. In particular, the smart, tenacious and dedicated field organizers who ran voter registration efforts that provided victories in nine states George Bush won in 2004. They persuaded millions of voters and ran a get-out-the-vote effort that may never be replicated in politics again.

This army of organizers used new online tools, trained hundreds of thousands of volunteers and left a legacy behind that provides a stronger infrastructure for our Party. I've heard over and over again from our supporters how impressed they were with the Obama field staff. These young organizers and our state volunteers deserve a large share of credit for delivering a staggering 9.2 million vote margin for Barack Obama - the largest popular vote margin in history for a non-incumbent president.

The Obama candidacy attracted millions of new young voters who were inspired to get involved for the first time. So many, in fact, that in every battleground state, voters 18-29 years old made up a larger share of the electorate than voters 65 plus. That is transformational. In several states, new registrants reversed Republican trends and put the Democratic Party in the majority. And in several others, new registrants expanded our majority registration advantage in a significant way. Today, Florida has 650,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans; Pennsylvania has 1.2 million, making Pennsylvania a "lean Democratic" state in future presidential campaigns, rather than a "toss-up" state.

Hispanics voted in record numbers for Barack Obama. Unmarried men and women voted for Obama in such large margins, they are now a critical part of the Democratic base. African Americans and Democrats in general, pushed voter turnout to the highest level in 40 years.

But day-after-day, I hoped that one future event would take place, a critically important event where this transformational leader would stand on the steps of our nation's capitol, raise his right hand and swear on the Bible to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. On that day, January 20, 2009, hundreds of millions of people in every corner of the world will watch Barack Obama take the oath of office. By this one action, lives will change forever. Those who need hope for a better life may gain it that moment and historic barriers will finally be shattered.

It is difficult to imagine one such act that will have a greater impact on so many lives than when Mr. Obama becomes President Barack Obama, our 44th President and the new leader of the free world.

So many unsung heroes helped get him there. All people deserve to share in this critical moment.