Just one week ago, as the Republicans finished up their big show in Cleveland, things didn’t look so great for the DNC. Thanks to the well-timed work of Wikileaks and its exiled founder Julian Assange, the Democratic Party became embroiled in scandal just as their historic Convention was about to begin. The DNC leaks provided a litany of embarrassing, salacious details of the Party’s backdoor politics, and even uncovered evidence of party favoritism, which caused immediate anger among Bernie Sanders’ most ardent supporters. Though the emails have yet to show a true coordinated effort of malice, the embarrassment was more than enough to oust DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz just hours before she planned to take the stage. Indeed, last weekend, many feared that the Democratic Party and presumptive nominee for President Hillary Clinton, were done.
But even through those difficulties, the Democratic National Convention got under way. Here’s more from Ron Elving of NPR…
The first afternoon, the Sanders forces were in full cry — booing every mention of Clinton’s name. There seemed to be little prospect for peace, and many opportunities for disruption and chaos.
These reactions overestimated the importance and power of the DNC, which was important in many ways, but far from critical, in determining who voted or how. Still, the WikiLeaks release served to confirm the suspicion that party rules and party rulers were somehow overruling the popular will of the people.
It was obvious that the DNC controversies fed into a Rules Committee decision to reduce the future numbers of superdelegates (elected officials and party leaders who are uncommitted participants in the nominating convention and may vote their own conscience). In 2020, such delegates will be reduced from 720 to 250.
But negotiations were going forward even then. Sanders’ people were talking, and there were delegation leaders willing to work overtime to heal wounds. Sanders himself, having already formally conceded, intervened to urge his delegates to show respect, if only to preserve the gains they had made as a movement.
But even as Democrats worked overtime to mend fences with bruised Sanders supporters within the Convention hall, they worked just as hard to produce a show for the ages for those watching at home. From the powerful sincerity of Michelle Obama on the first night, to the personal touch of FGOTUS— First Gentleman of the United States– nominee Bill Clinton on the second, to the each speaker at the DNC had a very specific goal for their dual audience… show the party is united with its nominee Hillary Clinton.
Intermingled with some of the country’s most prominent politicians were the speakers whose persuasive power could not be denied… those everyday Americans who got up in front of their country and spoke their truth. Geneva Reed-Veal (mother of Sandra Bland}, Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin) and other Mothers of the Movement took the stage to represent Black Lives Matter– a phrase barely even uttered at the RNC. The incredible speech of Khizr Khan, a Muslim-American father whose son, Humayun Khan, was an American captain who sacrificed his life to save other American troops in Iraq. brought the crowd to its feet in a rousing show of support.
If anything at the DNC can be claimed as a true success, it starts with the involvement of these real Americans, and the ever-powerful strains of sincerity that they delivered on stage. They reminded Americans that this year’s election really does matter.
By the time Hillary Clinton took the stage in the final speech, the true work of the Convention was done. From a turbulent beginning, the 2016 Democratic National Convention rose from the controversy and persevered. But thankfully, Clinton wasn’t satisfied with simply the work of others. She may not have provided the soaring oratory of President Obama, but she did give a speech that was patriotic, and policy-specific (something we’ve yet to see from Mr. Trump). NPR even did an excellent fact-check of Hillary Clinton’s address. For anyone worried about holding the Democratic nominee accountable, you can start keeping tabs.
Check out the historic address below…
So finally, after two long and raucous weeks, the table is set for America’s two main political parties. And for the Democrats, the song now belongs to Hillary. Let’s hope that chorus grows through November and on to January.