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Day 1 of the Democratic convention is in the books. There’s a lot to dive into (Michelle Obama’s stem-winder, the rowdy California delegation, the Bernie Sanders coda), and we’ll unpack much of that in the coming days. (Also, meet us back here on Tuesday night while we live-blog Day 2.)
If you missed it all, start at the bottom of this live blog to experience all the festivities chronologically. If you’re short on time, here are a few highlights:
- The media overreacted to a few early boos.
- Clare took the temperature of the delegates.
- Kirsten Gillibrand got us thinking …
- Sarah Silverman had the off-script line of the night.
- We traded some favorite moments from conventions past.
- Michelle Obama stole the show.
See you all Tuesday!
On Tuesday morning, we’re going to record a quick podcast to talk about the first day of the DNC, in particular the role of Sanders supporters and what he tried to accomplish in his speech tonight. What should we discuss? What should we ask? Send me your questions so I don’t have to write them myself!
My initial thoughts: Just because it’s over for Sanders does not mean it’s over for his supporters. I saw tears on some faces and anti-TPP signs. We’ll see how the distress of his hard-core base pans out over this week.
I would say that this is the airing of grievances day of the Democrats’ Festivus celebration — most people I talked to in the convention hall said it was a totally natural healthy thing, and honestly, the speech by Sanders went off without a hitch, so that’s the best you can hope for on night one.
My thought is that it’s a big raucous party full of lots of ideas. That made it look like a mess at the start of the day. But by the end of the day, with three very different headliners delivering different messages, it looks more to me like a diverse group ready to come together to fight a common enemy, putting aside their differences without forgetting or burying them.
We’ll have a lot more coverage of tonight’s events tomorrow, but give me your immediate thoughts on day one of the DNC.
Sanders ripped the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Clinton is against. It amazes me that President Obama is for it, and I wonder if Obama he will dare to mention it in his speech later this week. Further, I wonder if any of the delegates would dare to boo him.
It’s interesting how much of his speech Sanders dedicated to non-economic issues (or at least, not primarily economic issues) such as climate change and the Supreme Court. During the primary, Clinton and her backers often criticized Sanders for being a one-issue candidate focused only on income inequality. He certainly hit those themes tonight, but he also dedicated substantial time to a broader progressive agenda. And he only turned to trade, one of his signature issues, toward the end of the speech.
This is a workmanlike speech that I think will be overshadowed by Michelle Obama’s. But Democrats will breathe a sigh of relief over those big cheers after his endorsement of Clinton. If the speech is a little Bernie-centric…. well, maybe that’s what his supporters, particularly the one-third of them or so who haven’t firmly committed to Clinton, are interested in right now.
Sanders said of Trump, “Like most Republicans, he chooses to reject science.” My colleague Anna Maria Barry-Jester wrote that at least twice, that could be said about Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence.
One name noticeably absent from Sanders’s prepared remarks tonight? Tim Kaine.
In 2014, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of Rahm) said he wanted to live until the age of 75. Emanuel feared becoming feeble. Well, Sanders, who is turning 75 in September, seems to be showing that you can have a lot of energy even as you enter old age. Not only that, but the crowd continues to feed off his energy.
Sanders spoke of a “movement toward oligarchy” in America. There’s an interesting body of research, mainly from Europe, arguing that income inequality increases voting for far-right parties, particularly among lower-income workers. It’s easier to measure in multiparty democracies, as European ones — and most globally — tend to be. There’s also a Harvard Business School analysis asking a variety of experts what the right amount of income inequality is.
Among the answers: “Comments suggesting that right amount included: “the point (at) … which entrepreneurship is depressed …” (Yaron Kaufman); “when motives switch from serving to grabbing” (Gerald Nanninga); “the amount that allows the stakeholders to know ‘we’re all in this together, and apart from our natural not manmade limitations, we all have just and fair opportunities for similar achievement'” (Dennis Nelson); “the level that … does not allow segments of activity to capture regulators or regulations while also ensuring support for the disadvantaged and those in poverty” (Peter Bowie); one that promotes “… open competition. We reach a point of distorted inequalities when we begin to legislate in favor of consolidation.” (Victor Paredes); “the points on the curve which would describe the decline of democracy.” (T. Reilly).”
Strikes me that Sanders isn’t really making an argument for Clinton here. He’s using her name repeatedly and endorsing her without hesitation. But it’s just sort of cut and pasted into a regular Bernie speech. It seems to be working fairly well in the room, however, and in some ways the address seems geared more to the room than the home viewers.
Sanders is trying to get his backers aboard the Clinton train, and I spoke with plenty of Sanders supporters today who were adamant about not voting for her, but even among his supporters enthusiastic enough to make the trip to Philadelphia, that wasn’t nearly a universal stance. Barbara Clark, who traveled here from northern California, told me that she’s been a lifelong Democrat and that as of right now, she’ll have to wait and see: “Bernie or bust is the way I feel in my conscience and in my heart, because I believe that we could have what we need.”
Sanders says the top 1 percent of earners have gotten 85 percent of the “new income” in recent years. The exact figures depend a bit on how you measure income, but it’s definitely true that the wealthy have received an outsize share of income gains during the economic recovery. That’s partly because the wealthy also experienced the biggest income declines during the recession, largely because of the collapse in the stock market. (The rich own by far the most stock.) Income inequality, at least by one common measure, isn’t yet quite back to where it was before the recession, although it is very high by historical standards.
Sanders started out with a stump speech that felt like a wistful walk down memory lane — and I think even some Clinton fans were getting into it, up to a point. But as Sanders gets into the heart of his income inequality argument, the new fragility of the Democratic coalition is on full display. I’m in the nosebleed section, and there are scattered gatherings of young Sanders supporters who booed or looked like they saw a ghost when Sanders urged his followers to vote for Clinton.
There it is — Bernie Sanders delivered the line exactly as it was in his prepared remarks: “By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that — based on her ideas and her leadership — Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.”
“Based on her ideas and leadership Hillary Clinton must become president” is the biggest applause line of this speech thus far. And it’s morphed into chants of “Bernie!”
Maybe it’s the approach he thinks his supporters need? Remind them of the stakes of the election, and tell them that’s why they need to vote for Clinton, even though she isn’t perfect. We’ll see how it comes across.
Sanders is really walking his supporters into the Clinton endorsement slowly, huh?
You shouldn’t be surprised that Sanders is getting a lot of applause from the hall. Even as Clinton was winning the primary, Sanders sported a favorable rating among Democrats that was as high as Clinton’s.
Sanders earned a little over 13 million votes in the primaries. To put that in perspective, Trump won the Republican nomination with a little over 14 million votes. Sanders finished far ahead of Ted Cruz, who earned a little less than 8 million votes. In other words, Sanders may have lost, but a lot of people voted for him.
Interesting to watch this near the South Carolina delegation, which is one of the most pro-Clinton. Half of them seem to be going overboard on the Bernie chants to show their party unity, and half don’t seem that enthused.
I mean, I assume you people at home can hear the crowd respond to Sanders — the people all around me were singing along with “America.”
Keith Ellison became the first Muslim ever to be elected to Congress when he won his Minnesota seat in 2006. When he took the oath of office with his hand on a Quran that Thomas Jefferson had once owned, he was criticized by a Republican congressman from Virginia. Perhaps it’s not coincidental that he was among the first to predict, in July 2015, that Republicans could nominate Trump. He was almost laughed off the set of “This Week” by George Stephanopoulos.
Not sure why on California. One theory is that it’s the largest delegation and therefore the hardest to whip/control.
So from everything we’ve seen, and from reporting elsewhere, it seems like the disruptive behavior tonight has really been limited to the California delegation. Do we know why California?
Sanders just took the stage, in perhaps the most anticipated speech tonight (and maybe of the convention). How did a little known U.S. senator from Vermont become the center of attention? Here’s our “campaign obituary” for Sanders, recounting his rise and unpacking why he fell short: