Dispatches From Philadelphia: Day 1

AP Photo/John Locher

A member of the media shoots video during setup before the 2016 Democratic Convention, Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. 

At Democratic Convention, Bernie's Army Takes on a Life of Its Own

On the eve of the Democratic Convention, Bernie Sanders’s army has split into two columns, marching in opposite directions. While the Bernie-or-Bust faction here at the convention still would like to stage floor fights or at least express their discontent volubly, Sanders will endeavor to talk them out of such actions at a 2 p.m. meeting today—two hours before the convention is called to order. His campaign also has put in place a whip operation on the convention floor to persuade his followers, if needs be, to cool it. 

“Bernie will talk with his delegates about how they can further the revolution in the states, running for office, putting together campaigns,” said one campaign adviser. “And he’ll encourage them to vote for Hillary in November.” 

Sanders, his lieutenants and the most of the more-experienced Sanders delegates believe, with good reason, that they’ve won considerable concessions from Hillary Clinton’s forces. Read More.



Why Tim Kaine Is the Progressives' Dream

The vice presidency tends to be vastly overrated during the presidential campaign and then underrated once the administration takes office. So it has been since Hillary Clinton announced Friday that Virginia Senator Tim Kaine would be her running mate. Progressives rushed to tell reporters how disappointed they were that one of their preferred choices like Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown wasn't the one picked, expressing how deeply troubled they were about the rightward pull Kaine would supposedly have on Clinton's prospective presidency. 

But they shouldn't be worried; in fact, Kaine is likely to be a genuine boon to progressive goals. That might sound odd if you've been listening to some of the Bernie Sanders dead-enders (a group that, it should be noted, does not include Bernie Sanders himself) over the last couple of days. But hear me out. Read More.



Liberal Governor, Divided Government

In February, at the Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg, first-term Democratic Governor Tom Wolf readied himself for his second budget address. These were not normal times for Pennsylvania politics: The state had been operating without a budget for eight months, an unprecedented crisis as the Republican-controlled General Assembly fought with the governor’s office over issues of taxation, spending, and pension reform. As the impasse dragged on, school districts and nonprofit organizations across the state were forced to borrow money, lay off employees, and reduce social services.

“My fellow Pennsylvanians: Our Commonwealth is in crisis. A crisis that threatens our future,” Wolf declared from the podium. “This crisis is not about politics at all. This is about math.”

Wolf went on to outline the dramatic consequences he foresaw if state legislators failed to pass a budget that included sufficient spending increases. Read More.

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