DNC feels the Bern

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

It was sup­posed to be the corona­tion of Amer­ica’s first fe­male pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, but view­ers of the Demo­cratic National Con­ven­tion in Philadelphia may be hard pressed to un­der­stand just who the nom­i­nee is.

As his­toric as Tues­day night’s Demo­cratic Party nom­i­na­tion of Hil­lary Clin­ton was, it is still seem­ingly over­shad­owed by the vo­cal sup­port for her party ri­val, Ver­mont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the em­bar­rass­ing leak of in­ter­nal Demo­cratic National Com­mit­tee emails that seem to prove what many had been al­leg­ing all along: party lead­ers wanted a Clin­ton can­di­dacy and were will­ing to throw mon­key wrenches in com­pet­ing cam­paigns to see that hap­pen.

The leak made its im­pact be­fore the con­ven­tion even started as party chair Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz an­nounced she would step down and act­ing chair Donna Brazile is­sued an apol­ogy to the Sanders cam­paign and any­body else who was of­fended by the emails.

Mean­while, the DNC and Clin­ton cam­paign have spent the first days of the con­ven­tion try­ing to swing cov­er­age and sup­port back into her col­umn. But many of those ef­forts have been fu­tile as the ma­jor im­ages com­ing from the Wells Fargo Cen­ter are of boos drown­ing out speak­ers, pro­test­ers parad­ing through city streets and many cov­er­ing their mouths with duct tape: a sym­bol that their demo­cratic voice had been si­lenced by back­room deals.

“Hell no, D.N.C.! We won’t vote for Hil­lary!” Sanders’ sup­port­ers chanted as Demo­cratic del­e­gates walked into the con­ven­tion hall Mon­day night. “Lock her up!”

Sanders did his best to try to quell the upris­ing that he birthed: hold­ing a Cen­ter City rally to once again try to sway his sup­port­ers to sup­port Clin­ton and even email­ing cam­paign mem­bers ask­ing them to not protest on the con­ven­tion floor.

Bernie’s re­quests fell on many deaf ears, how­ever, as the pop­ulist idea that he cul­ti­vated and en­cour­aged has now out­grown the can­di­date.

“As beloved as Bernie is, he’s not run­ning the show,” Nor­man Solomon, a Sanders del­e­gate from Cal­i­for­nia, told the New York Times.

The Times noted that the “de­fi­ant dis­plays of dis­obe­di­ence re­vealed the fis­sures in Sanders’s move­ment, which has splin­tered into seem­ingly im­pla­ca­ble camps. There are the true be­liev­ers, who chant ‘Bernie or Bust.’ There are dis­il­lu­sioned voters who are grav­i­tat­ing to­ward (Don­ald) Trump. And there are prag­ma­tists who have given up the fight and will back Clin­ton.”

Liz Maratea, 31, a del­e­gate from New Jer­sey, told the Times she re­fuses to lay down arms and ac­cept Clin­ton as the nom­i­nee. “She has the mo­ral depth of a thim­ble,” she said. “Are we sup­posed to take this, or are we sup­posed to rise up?”

Think­ing like that may be the Democrats’ big­gest stum­bling block for the Novem­ber elec­tion as Sanders did re­mark­ably well for an ac­tivist can­di­date. Over the course of the pri­maries, Sanders col­lected more than 13.1 mil­lion votes ver­sus Clin­ton’s 16.8 mil­lion. Even af­ter the As­so­ci­ated Press called the pri­mary in fa­vor of Clin­ton on the polling of su­perdel­e­gates, nearly 2.4 mil­lion peo­ple in Cal­i­for­nia turned out to cast bal­lots for Sanders and more than 500,000 more in ad­di­tional states even later on.

If even a siz­able frac­tion of those voters choose not to sup­port Clin­ton — or worse yet, sup­port Trump — then the Democrats’ drive to the White House be­comes much more bumpy.

Whether you sup­port Trump and/or the Repub­li­can Party or not, one thing the Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee did well in Cleveland last week was co­a­lesce its party sup­port for the stretch run to the gen­eral elec­tion.

In Philadelphia, Democrats may be lucky if the Sanders and Clin­ton camps leave the City of Brotherly Love with­out throw­ing some chairs.

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