Live-Blogging the 2016 Democratic National Convention: Night 1

10:25 pm: Senator Sanders came through for the Democratic Party tonight.  Some of his supporters really were expecting nothing less than a political and economic revolution and may continue to feel disappointed and even betrayed, but there was clearly a lot of trust and even undimmed adulation for the openly-Socialist Senator, and he leveraged that fully but unhurriedly in order to Elmsford Secretary Clinton for President.  He was holding-out to influence the direction of the party as far as he could, and when he came to the end of that process, he said, “Here is the party and here is the candidate you should support.”  He has proved himself to be more-measured and more-statesmanlike than the darkest fears of the “Bernie-or-Bust” movement suggested.  He remains within the fold, and committed to the Democratic Party.

11:19 pm: Senator Sanders notes how his input has transformed the Democratic Party’s platform: It now calls for breaking up the largest banks, institution of a new Glass-Steagall Act, and “opposition to job-killing trade deals like the TPP.”  The first 2 would represent symbolic victories rather than real attainments for a more-equitable and secure financial and economic system; the 3rd platform change actually invites a profound strategic loss and an equally-profound missed economic opportunity.

11:10 pm: Senator Sanders manages to find a lot of reasons to support Secretary Clinton for President–the need for a higher minimum wage, superior labor regulations, a woman’s right of access to safe abortion procedures, gay rights, minority and immigrant rights, and environmental protection.  He gives central mention to overturning the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision.  Secretary Clinton didn’t need Senator Sanders’ influence on the Democratic Party Platform or the Democratic Presidential Primary in order to take that stand, I feel I souks add; she was already there.

11:05 pm: Note the time: Senator Sanders says that he considers it “necessary to elect Hillary Clinton President of the United States.”

11:02 pm: Senator Sanders cites some damming statistics on wealth inequality.  He seems to come close to criticizing President Obama’s leadership on these issues–until he notes that Barack Obama and Joe Biden inherited the worst financial crisis since the start of the Great Depression, and thanks them for filling-in the hole and stopping the rapid sink of the U.S. economy.

11:00 pm: Senator Sanders quotes his statistics on wealth and income inequality: “The richest 10% of Americans command as much wealth as the bottom 90%.”  Time to see if he can stop this cruising freight train before it reaches the yard…

10:56 pm: I can hear an excited female Sanders supporter ullulate for Bernie.

10:50 pm: Bernie Sanders walks out to the podium.  He is met with more than 3 minutes of cheering, crying, and sign-waving from delegates who supported him.  Wow, old White men who say whatever is on their mind command tremendous regard in our political system.

10:45 Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) notes that the Democratic Platform is the most-Progressive the Party has ever passed, which is true.  For perspective, Congressman Ellison is the first Muslim Representative elected to the House.  Ellison notes that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) (who considers himself an alternative standard-carrier for his party) refuses a vote to update the Voting Rights Act.  “Not voting isn’t a protest,” Ellison says with passion, “it’s a surrender.”

10:34 pm: I have to admit, Senator Warren makes the critical economic argument from the Left with an incisiveness and rigor that Senator Sanders never really exhibited in the Democratic Presidential Primary.  She speaks not only in static generalities or about what she would like to do in public policy, but points to legislative opportunities missed, about the intellectual vacuity and moral bankruptcy of the Republican opposition, and with critical insight into the class origins of the American type of racism, specifically in keeping poor Whites undercut economically by slavery in the Antebellum South complacent with a false belief in their status as “Whites.”I have to admit, Senator Warren makes the critical economic argument from the Left with an incisiveness and rigor that Senator Sanders never really exhibited in the Democratic Presidential Primary.  She speaks not only in static generalities or about what she would like to do in public policy, but points to legislative opportunities missed, about the intellectual vacuity and moral bankruptcy of the Republican opposition, and with critical insight into the class origins of the American type of racism, specifically in keeping poor Whites undercut economically by slavery in the Antebellum South complacent with a false belief in their status as “Whites.”Left with an incisiveness and rigor that Senator Sanders never really exhibited in the Democratic Presidential Primary.  She speaks not only in static generalities or about what she would like to do in public policy, but points to legislative opportunities missed, about the intellectual vacuity and moral bankruptcy of the Republican opposition, and with critical insight into the class origins of the American type of racism, specifically in keeping poor Whites undercut economically by slavery in the Antebellum South complacent with a false belief in their status as “Whites.”

10:28 pm: Let this be the image you have of the Bernie-or-Busters at the Democratic National Convention: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) mentions her endorsement of Secretary Clinton, and immediately the angry voices of some men out in the crowd shout, “We want YOU! We want YOU! We want YOU! We want YOU!” You know, just a couple of angry guys in the crowd shouting over a woman while she’s trying to say something.

10:18 pm: Michelle Obama notes that she lives in a house that was built by slaves, and can look out of the window and see her 2 daughters–“2 beautiful, bright young Black women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn,” and expresses gratitude that they will be able to come of age taking it “for granted that a woman can be President of the United States.”  This has been the best speech of the Convention thus far.  Any time the first lady mentioned her daughters was not just touching but disarming, almost subversive in its honesty.

10:15 pm: “I want a President who will teach our country that each and every person matters.”  There is another invocation of the dream of the Founding Fathers, “that we are all created equal.”  There is an admiration for the American tradition here that was absent from the Republican National Convention entirely; I missed it.

10:11 pm: Michelle Obama says what the Convention hall needs to hear: “When (then-Senator Clinton) lost the nomination, she didn’t get angry or disillusioned.  She didn’t pack her bags and go home, because she knows that this is so much bigger than her personal desires…”  There is truly massive applause, I would say the grandest applause of the Convention thus far.

10:05 pm: Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, who was considered controversial by default upon the Presidential candidacy of her husband but is not roundly admired for her capacity for courage, grace, and at times reticence, speaks.  She says she can hardly believe that it has been 8 years since she first spoke at the DNC out in Deme when her husband was still a Senator.  She recalls seeing her young children piling into big black SUVs “with big men with guns” for their protection in transit, and asking herself, “What have we done?”  She notes that her husband’s decision to run for President would now be the formative fact and experience of their daughters’ lives.

9:52 pm: Rhetorical flourishing.  Senator Booker warms-up the crowd for Secretary Clinton, who will accept the Democratic Presidential nomination in 3 days.  Booker speaks of the early Revolutionary War upsets in Massachusetts to remind the assembled delegates that Americans are strivers and achievers by character.  He opened his speech by noting the novelty of America formally declaring its independence in a letter that also declared that all of us are “created equal” and that we possess rights that are inalienable.  Senator Booker loves the story of the Founders, and he loves thinking in historical terms.

He also loves public speaking, which many of the Democrats who have spoken thus far do not.

9:39 pm: “I value the ideal of rugged individualism.  But rugged individualism didn’t beat the British, or put us on the Moon, or build our highways, or map the human genome.”

“We are not called to be a nation of tolerance; we are called to be a nation of love.”

“This is one of my favorite sayings.  It’s an African saying: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others.'”

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) is a gifted speaker.  I appreciate seeing Democrats, as this one is right now, speaking with intensity, as if they’re expecting a fight.  Yes, I greatly appreciate what President Obama has done and what he has tried to do, but we seem to have entered into a different political era in 2014, one in which, as David Brooks once put it, “The most-brutal players get to set the rules of the game.”  President Obama will not set the terms or the tone of the era in American politics that is before us now.  Women like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren and men like Cory Booker and, yes, Bernie Sanders could; they seem to welcome the fight foisted on them by what in a more-principled era used to be called “the opposition.”

9:29 pm: “Who cares what the audience wants to hear?  You’ve got something you want to say.”  A stirring tribute video to the late New York Governor Mario Cuomo, father of the current New York Governor and a Liberal icon of the late-20th Century.  George Pataki, a moderate Republican who went on to serve 3 terms, surprised him when he formed a winning suburban-rural coalition in the historic Republican wave year of 1994 to defeat him.

9:21 pm: Also Sarah Silverman, as Bernie-or-Busters grind her endorsement speech to a halt with chanting: “You Bernie-or-Busters are being ridiculous.”  This from a passionate Sanders supporter: Depth and breath of commitment to a candidate for national office often run in opposite directions.  She then notes that she and Senator Franken were asked to stretch for time a bit, so she’s ad-libbing; hah.

9:20 pm: Sarah Silverman: “It’s really exciting to think of Hillary Clinton becoming President.  I mean, she was just a secretary!”  Ahh hah hah hah!

9:02 pm: A brief DNC video plays, showing Donald Trump mocking a reporter with a disability.  The highlight of the short video is definitely New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who debased himself with his own obnoxious comportment during the Republican Presidential Primaries, saying “This is just not the way you behave.  This is not worthy of a man who wants to be President…”  Governor Christie of course endorsed Donald Trump not long after dropping out of the Republican Presidential Primary, an act which in retrospect seems to have raised Trump’s profile in the Primaries greatly but which was met with derision from both Democrats and Republicans for Governor Christie himself, with various references to the latter as both an opportunist and a hostage.

Anastasia Somoza, an international advocate for the disabled, speaks immediately following the video.  “I honestly feel bad for anyone with that much hate in their heart…Donald Trump doesn’t see me, he doesn’t hear me, and he definitely doesn’t speak for me.”

The Liberal Ironist can see that the two parties have become so culturally polarized today that the Republican Party is striving to demonstrate its hardness towards people whom its members believe deserve it, while the Democratic Party is striving to demonstrate that it sees people whom are disenfranchised or marginalized.  I wonder how you make a party that’s running towards hard-heartenedness and a party that’s running towards compassion can communicate with each other on legislative questions.  Will they finally get where they’re going and settle down?

8:52 pm: Senator Al Franken (D-MN) comes out with a great trollish speech in which he assures us that he is qualified to speak about Clinton’s Republican Presidential opponent, owing to his “degree in megalomania studies from Trump University,” where you can take classes “from such models of success as Scott Baio, Mike Tyson, and a life-size cardboard cutout of Donald Trump himself.”  Senator Franken notes that the cardboard cutout of Donald Trump teaches classes at Trump University; this alludes to the facts, as cited in the class-action lawsuit against Donald Trump from some very dissatisfied Trump University in the class-action lawsuit, that enrollees who paid university-level tuition received in compensation a series of seminars in real estate sales given not by Trump’s “hand-picked real estate experts,” but by relatively anonymous employees.  These seminars themselves apparently contained little specialized information.  In short, Trump University took people for tens of thousands of dollars, to Donald Trump’s benefit.

8:48 pm: Senator Gillibrand notes that Secretary Clinton has an impressive record of starting the issues important to the most-vulnerable, including her key role in creating the Child’s Health Insurance Program.

8:47 pm: Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) notes that U.S. “labor laws are stuck in the Mad Men era” to a hoot from among the assembled delegates!  It’s fits to see there are a few Mad Men fans out there.

8:36 pm: Senator Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) speaks.  Donald Trump once said “Outsourcing isn’t always a bad thing.”  Well, it’s not, but I’m fine with Democrats trolling Donald Trump for saying whatever will please his base opportunistically.  It’s remarkable to think that a man who has embraced a number of positions that put him in radical opposition to his own past statements and advocacy (and repeatedly spoken demonstrable untruths in major campaign speeches including his RNC acceptance speech) currently polls ahead of Secretary Clinton, a well-known quantity, on the question of who is an “honest and trustworthy” candidate.

Profit-sharing, an exit tax on corporations that use inversions to reincorporate overseas to avoid taxes, and an investment in high-tech manufacturing employment: With Senator Casey’s short opening night Convention speech, I feel like I’ve already heard more about economic policy particulars than I heard in 4 nights at the Republican National Convention.

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