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Dispatches From Philadelphia

Our final installment from inside and outside the 2016 Democratic National Convention. 

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
HAROLD MEYERSON The Three Powerful Messages of the Democratic Convention The Democrats left Philadelphia last night after a generally successful convention that conveyed three messages. The first was simply that we are, as the campaign says ad nauseum, stronger together, and that Donald Trump’s efforts to pull us apart will—well, pull us apart. No convention has ever emphasized tolerance and equality—and the costs of intolerance and the denial of rights—like this one. None ever featured so prominently every minority or out-group. In the first two hours (4 to 6 p.m. Eastern time) of Thursday’s session, more than 25 speakers came to the podium, not one of them a straight white male. The most devastatingly effective of these presentations, however, came during primetime, when the father of a Muslim Arab-American immigrant who became an army officer and died in Iraq to save his troops, indignantly asked Donald Trump if he’d ever even read the...

Dispatches From Philadelphia: Day 4

Day 4 of the Prospect's ongoing coverage from inside and outside the 2016 Democratic National Convention. 

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
HAROLD MEYERSON O bama Confronts Trump's Shaky Grasp of Democracy dem_convention_icon.jpg One of the shorthand characterizations of our two political parties that has long had some truth to it has been that the Democrats are the mommy party, and the Republicans, the daddy party. This year, if the two parties’ conventions are any indication, those characterizations have become understatements. The Republicans under Donald Trump have become the swaggering macho bluster party, while the Democrats have become the take-care-of-the-children-and-don’t-bring-that-damned-gun-into-my-house party. If you’ve watched the entire Democratic convention so far, and not just the big late-hour speeches, you’ve seen a constant drumbeat about Hillary the mom, the children’s advocate, the woman who bounced back after the defeat of Hillary-care to win the enactment of health insurance for children. You’ve seen a multi-night showcasing of her battles for gun control,...

Dispatches From Philadelphia: Day 3

Day 3 of the Prospect's ongoing coverage from inside and outside the 2016 Democratic National Convention. 

AP Photo/Matt Rourke
HAROLD MEYERSON Bill Clinton Wins Hearts and Minds dem_convention_icon.jpg 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 . ROBERT...

Dispatches From Philadelphia: Day 2

The Prospect's ongoing coverage from inside and outside the 2016 Democratic National Convention. 

Anthony Behar/Sipa via AP Images
The Sighted and the Blinkered There comes a time in the life of all revolutions when circumstance erodes solidarity, when cracks, splits, and factions emerge. As anyone who’s been watching the Democratic Convention can attest, that time has come to the Sanders Revolution. The factions this time around aren’t Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. They’re more like the Realos (realists) and Fundis (fundamentalists) who fought each other in Germany’s Green Party once the party began to win some power. That’s not a bad way to describe the two wings of Sandersism, though the Sighted and the Blinkered might do as well. The circumstance that most erodes solidarity in a successful revolution is qualified success, which invariably brings with it some power and some compromise. By staying in the race to press for changes to the Democratic Party’s platform and rules—and more importantly, some of its core beliefs—Bernie Sanders both exercised and won power...

Dispatches From Philadelphia: Day 1

The Prospect's ongoing coverage from inside and outside the 2016 Democratic National Convention. 

AP Photo/John Locher
At Democratic Convention, Bernie's Army Takes on a Life of Its Own dem_convention_icon.jpg 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,...

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