Dispatches From Philadelphia: Day 3

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Illinois delegate Sunil Puri and supporter Jon Pyatt cheer during the second day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. 


Bill Clinton Wins Hearts and Minds

Bill Clinton addressed a Democratic Party last night that was no longer the party he led 20 years ago, but such are his political skills that he had no trouble winning its heart and—the tricky part—its head. 

The heart stuff came easy. The major part of Clinton’s mission was to humanize Hillary, who, he noted rightly, has become a cartoon figure to millions of Americans. The head stuff required convincing Americans, and Bernie Sanders supporters in particular, that Hillary was, as Bill put it, “a change maker.” And so his speech ambled down two parallel tracks: Hillary the mom and Hillary the operational wonk rotated in and out of Bill’s account. 

The kind of change-maker Bill described, accurately, is incremental, pragmatic, tactically brilliant. She’s not a movement-builder, a compelling orator, or a progenitor of dreams (save, by example, to girls). Read More.



Democratic Unity: The Very Tricky Case of Trade

The unity on display at the Democratic National Convention both Monday and Tuesday nights was nothing short of remarkable. Bernie Sanders has been a radical insurgent all of his political life. He defined himself a democratic socialist and political independent because he could not stomach the corporatized Democratic Party epitomized by the Clintons.

Yet Sanders, working the caucuses, spent his political capital quelling the same radical energy that he had inspired—in favor of unity behind Hillary Clinton. By Tuesday night, he could move the nomination of his rival by acclamation, and the handful of boos from his own hard-core were all but inaudible.

Did Sanders sell out? I don’t think so. Read More.



Amid Dissent, Wisconsin Democrats Demonstrate Unity

At some of his speeches in Philadelphia, Bernie Sanders has been met with boos when calling on his supporters to rally behind Hillary Clinton. But at a Tuesday breakfast before the Wisconsin delegation, erstwhile Sanders supporters gave him a standing ovation.

The display of unity was all the more striking because Sanders won the Wisconsin primary in April by more than 10 percentage points, and brought nearly 50 delegates from the state with him to Philadelphia. At a state delegation breakfast Tuesday morning to thank his Wisconsin supporters, Sanders reiterated his call for Democrats to vote for Clinton and defeat Donald Trump in the general election.

“We’ve got to elect Secretary Clinton,” Sanders declared. “And we’ve got to stay focused and force every level of government to focus on working people’s issues.” Read More.



No Running Mate, Perez Stumps for Clinton

When Hillary Clinton picked Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate last week, there was a predictable collective groan from progressives, particularly Latinos, who had been hoping for a selection more squarely in their camp.

Among those on the final shortlist, Tom Perez had been the clear favorite of many progressives looking for Clinton to shore up her support on the left. During President Obama’s second term, Perez has pushed through a series of labor reforms that have prompted some to hail him as the most important labor secretary since Frances Perkins served under FDR.

Perez’s prolific career in public service, his detail-oriented pragmatism, and his reputation for getting results without compromising his progressive values landed him on a list of finalists that included such white centrist contenders as Kaine and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Read More.



How the DNC Avoided a Philly Airport Worker Strike

For all the discord and angry protests at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia this week, organizers should at least be grateful that most delegates arrived without incident. Had the city’s airport workers not narrowly averted a strike on Sunday, things could have been even more chaotic still, with stranded delegates unable to land in Philadelphia.

In the week leading up to the Democratic National Convention, it had looked all but certain that airport workers at the Philadelphia International Airport would go on strike, creating a travel nightmare for thousands of delegates who had been set to arrive by plane.

Airport workers had staged actions and protests throughout the week, and had voted to walk off the job during the convention itself. Read More

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