Democratic Convention Live Blog, Day 2: Hillary Clinton Clinches the Democratic Nomination (Video)
8:14 p.m. PDT: After a performance by Alicia Keys, Hillary Clinton’s image was beamed in via satellite to acknowledge her nomination. “I can’t believe we put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet,” she said.
Check back tomorrow for live blog coverage, videos and reports from the 2017 Democratic National Convention.
8:05 p.m. PDT: Bill Blum’s second dispatch came in as Bill Clinton was wrapping up in Philadelphia:
At the 2012 Democratic convention, Bill Clinton delivered a speech in his capacity as the “explainer in chief.” His purpose was to deconstruct the trickle-down economics of Mitt Romney and the GOP and to contrast Romney and the Republicans with Barack Obama and the Democrats, who, he said, represented the interests of the working and middle classes. Setting aside for the moment the all-important issue of whether the Democrats of 2012 in fact had long-since abandoned the real interests of the working class, the former president succeeded from a tactical standpoint. His speech rescued a dull and rudderless confab, and helped secure a second term for Obama.
Tonight, Bill Clinton’s task was entirely different and decidedly more difficult. His job, in a word, was to humanize his wife — to convince the nation that Hillary Clinton is not only a smart, savvy and tough political leader, but above all else, that she can be trusted to act honestly and forthrightly as a “change agent” on behalf of ordinary people.
Whether Bill succeeded this time around rests ultimately in the eyes of the beholder. He had one undeniably historic fact going for him as he took the stage to tumultuous applause—that Hillary stands to become the first female president of the most powerful country on earth. I have to concede Bill brought his “A” game to the lectern, tracing the arc of their life together, from their courtship at Yale Law School to her tenure as first lady and her service as a senator and secretary of state. “Hillary first and foremost,” he insisted, “was a mother” to their daughter Chelsea.
But in the end, it’s going to take more than tender recollections, and even the shattering of the ultimate glass ceiling, to deliver a better America if Hillary is elected, and that’s what most of us, after all, care about. To do that, we will have to break the stranglehold of the oligarchy on our government and economy. In that respect, Bill offered little reason to conclude the Democrats have selected a candidate to believe in.
7:55 p.m. PDT: Finally, the keynote. In a soft-focus video intro, former President Bill Clinton played the approachable public servant, shown having meaningful exchanges with fellow Americans as he touted his version of his accomplishments — job growth, economic and social improvements — during his tenure in office. Until he took the stage to spin a sentimental tale about meeting his future wife at law school, it wasn’t entirely clear which Clinton was running for office.
Then came the monologue. “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” Mr. Clinton began. His job was different from that of every other candidate’s spouse to pitch woo to voters at an American presidential convention because, aside from the gender factor, he required no introduction. So, he and his speechwriters clearly had decided that the best approach would be to light him in warm hues as a gentle, devoted and respectful husband who just happened to have once been president.
Clinton recalled their courtship days at Yale, when he got up the gumption to ask Hillary out after noticing a certain “strength and self-possession that I found magnetic.” He spoke of his admiration for her grit and her grace, making sure to draw sharp distinctions between his wife and her Republican rival for the White House, Donald Trump, by talking up her commitment to Democratic causes like racial and economic justice, criminal justice reform, gender equality and LGBT rights. He made sure to mention how her “support for civil rights and her opposition to the Vietnam War” had compelled the onetime Goldwater Girl to change parties, as well as how “she never made fun of people with disabilities,” as Trump was accused of doing; rather, “she tried to empower them based on their abilities.” Casting Trump as a “two-dimensional” cartoon, Clinton praised the audience, telling them, “you picked the right one.”
Cleverly and subtly threaded throughout Bill Clinton’s script were references to Hillary’s policy positions, her voting record and her career accomplishments as a lawyer, first lady, senator and secretary of state. He never broke character, and from his subdued tone to his body language to the content of his speech, it was clear he understood that he’d be playing backup for his next act.
5:48 p.m. PDT: In what was sure to be one of the most closely watched and most often replayed moments of the evening, and of the convention itself, members of “Mothers of the Movement” — including Sandra Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal; Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr; Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton; Jordan Davis’ mother, Lucy McBath and Michael Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden — gathered onstage. They shared in common the recent death of a child, in most cases at the hands of a police officer or, in Bland’s case, in jail after “an unlawful arrest,” as Reed-Veal put it.
In an emotional appeal, Bland’s mother, along with the others, made it clear that Clinton had her vote, calling the Democratic nominee “a leader and a mother who will say our children’s names” and declaring pointedly that “Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid to say that black lives matter.”
Sybrina Fulton added that she was a “reluctant” member of the group who didn’t want the spotlight because of what it had cost her but was committed to making the most of it in her son’s honor. According to Fulton, Clinton supported “common-sense gun legislation” and told the appreciative audience members — many of whom chanted “black lives matter” — “this isn’t about being politically correct; this is about saving our children.”
Actors Elizabeth Banks, America Ferrera and Lena Dunham, along with former Attorney General Eric Holder, former President Jimmy Carter, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, California Sen. Barbara Boxer and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, were among the other featured speakers who made cameo appearances in the run-up to Bill Clinton’s address.
Watch the Mothers of the Movement clip, as well as Ferrera and Dunham’s performance, below:
4:50 p.m. PDT: After Hillary Clinton’s confirmation as the Democrats’ presidential pick, the attention at the convention is shifting to Tuesday’s keynote speech by someone who is as well known for his relationship to the nominee as he is for having himself occupied the office she seeks.
That would be Bill Clinton, of course. As The Washington Post pointed out earlier Tuesday, the 42nd U.S. president’s address at this convention is altogether unprecedented:
There has never been a speech quite like the one Bill Clinton will deliver in Philadelphia, no matter what he says. A husband speaking on behalf of his wife — that has been done before. A former president speaking in support of a prospective president is also nothing new. But the combination of the two is unprecedented. A former president who wants to be first man extolling the virtues of a former first lady who wants to be president. Only the Clintons.
Only the Clintons applies in so many ways. Only the Clintons have been hanging around together at the top of U.S. politics for a full quarter-century. Only the Clintons can excite and then exasperate their fellow Democrats with such dizzying predictability. Only the Clintons (or maybe now President Obama) can send the Republicans into paroxysms of rage and the deepest, darkest pools of conspiracy theory. Only the Clintons can keep going and going no matter what obstacles others or they themselves throw in their way along their long and winding path.
4:37 p.m. PDT: Some reactions from related (literally and contextually) figures in the Twittersphere to the news of Clinton’s nomination:
So proud of you, Hillary. #DemsInPhilly
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) July 26, 2016
We cannot allow ourselves to be divided by the anti-immigrant and xenophobic hysteria the Republican party has concocted.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 26, 2016
We will not sabotage you. We will not betray you. We will fight with you. We will win. #DemsInPhilly have sold their soul to neoliberalism.
— Green Party US (@GreenPartyUS) July 26, 2016
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) July 26, 2016
3:57 p.m. PDT: It’s official. Straight from Bernie Sanders’ mouth:
Stronger together. https://t.co/9x1zuMqFfs
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 26, 2016
2:31 p.m. PDT: At the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, the three nominating speeches in support of Clinton followed three for Sanders. Maryland’s Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in Congress, set a tone that the two others would also follow. “I broke a barrier when I became the first Democratic woman elected in the Senate in her own right,” Mikulski said. “So it is with a full heart that I am here today to nominate Hillary Clinton to be the first female president.”
Georgia’s Rep. John Lewis spoke next, highlighting racial justice as well as gender equality as he struck out against the Republican opposition. “They want to take us backward … they want to undo 50 years of progress this nation has made,” Lewis said. “We are not going back — we are going forward,” he said.
Iraq veteran Na’ilah Amaru won the Hillary for America contest and thus the privilege to deliver the third and final nominating speech in favor of Clinton. Her story might have been unusual on the surface, but it ultimately stuck closely to a familiar script about the American dream.
“I was born on a dirt floor to a woman I will never know,” Amaru began before describing her upbringing under the care of “two women” and a formative moment at age 11, when she watched Hillary Clinton confidently address a panel of men. That experience, she said, “fundamentally changed how I would claim my own space in the world.”
2:16 p.m. PDT: Hawaii’s Rep. Tulsi Gabbard made the case for Bernie Sanders during her nominating speech, playing on themes of empathy and inclusion, playing on the most widely used word from her home state, citing Mahatma Gandhi in saluting “a movement of love that can never be stopped or defeated,” and drawing a strong response from the audience.
Opening her speech by explaining how “a frumpy and sometimes grumpy 70-year-old guy could become the voice for millions,” Gabbard said, “the answer lies in his aloha — his deep love for others and for our Mother Earth.”
Gabbard went for the heartstrings in her take on Sanders’ campaign: “This my friends is a movement of love — love which calls upon us to care, to care for families torn apart by our criminal justice system … to care for those barely scraping by on minimum wage and those crippled by college debt, to care about our environment and future generations.”
Paul Feeney, a Boston-based labor organizer and Sanders supporter, also rallied behind the Vermont senator’s cause with a full-throated and boisterous speech. “Brothers and sisters, Bernie not only fought for people, he empowered people,” Feeney said before turning his focus to the future. “Stay fired up because we have shown this country that people-powered politics can never be defeated,” he said.
Vermont delegate Shyla Nelson delivered the third and final speech in support of Sanders. “I have never felt the Bern more than I do in this moment,” she said. “Together we have worked to take our country back from the millionaires and billionaires … and restore democracy to the people,” she said as CNN’s camera panned to show Sanders smiling from his seat at the Wells Fargo Center.
Like the others, Nelson made sure to note that the movement Sanders began wouldn’t end with Clinton’s nomination. “I am so proud of Bernie,” Nelson said. “Our movement continues. Our revolution continues.”
1:33 p.m. PDT: CNN’s Dana Bash reports that Bernie Sanders’ supporters are planning to “make their presence known” within the guidelines of the convention during the roll-call vote. Sanders has asked his followers not to walk out during the roll-call and nomination proceedings.
1:20 p.m. PDT: With less than 10 minutes left until the start of the roll-call vote and, later, the expected nomination of Hillary Clinton, here’s Truthdig contributor Bill Blum with his take on the convention kickoff Monday:
Day one of the Democratic convention closed with a series of truly stirring and surprisingly effective endorsements of the party’s nominee, delivered by Corey Booker, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren and, to the surprise and dismay of some, Bernie Sanders. My takeaway could be summed up in a single sentence: If only the nominee came close to measuring up to the soaring rhetoric, Donald Trump and the neo-fascism he represents would be reduced to a laughingstock.
The problem, of course, is that the nominee is Hillary Clinton, not some imaginary perfect candidate. Until proven otherwise—and let’s be absolutely clear on this, the burden rests with her and her supporters—she will remain in the minds of a critical mass of Sanders supporters the same calculating, Wall-Street-friendly manipulator she has always been.
As Day 2 of the convention gets underway, I’ll be looking again to see what progress, if any, the Clinton machine makes to reform her image and convince the electorate that she can be trusted to promote a policy agenda capable of moving the nation in a more democratic, egalitarian and progressive direction. I have my doubts, but I’m keeping an open mind. I’ll return with an update later in the day.
* * *
After Monday’s tumultuous and charged launch in Philadelphia, the second day of the Democratic National Convention began with more than a few hefty questions still unanswered.
Among them: Will some Bernie Sanders supporters find a space within the Democratic Party’s framework for their revolution? That seems unlikely, given the sentiments on the floor and outside the convention hall on Day 1. Take, for example, The New York Times’ sum-up of the sentiments circulating around the Wells Fargo Center on Monday:
“I’m booing now, and I’m going to boo for four more days,” said Jody Feldman, a delegate from California, as she sat on the convention floor.
Sanders followers erupted into expletive-laden taunts of the party’s chairwoman, issued acid denunciations of Mrs. Clinton and, most vividly of all, offered a lukewarm and recalcitrant reaction to his prime-time endorsement of Mrs. Clinton. “Bernie for president!” a few shouted. “We are so disappointed!” a woman yelled.
For the Sanders faithful, piercing disappointment was the unmistakable theme of the day.
“Hell no, D.N.C.! We won’t vote for Hillary!” his supporters yelled to Democratic delegates as they walked into the convention hall on Monday night. “Lock her up!” they screamed from the streets.
… Here in Philadelphia, it was the Sanders-inspired activists who seized the message and the megaphone of his self-proclaimed rebellion against money and power — and who decided that the man who had inspired their cause, and who adorned their T-shirts, was no longer their movement’s unchallenged leader.
“As beloved as Bernie is,” said Norman Solomon, a Sanders delegate from California, “he’s not running the show.”
Neither, significantly, is Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
On that note, here’s another question: How far will the damage spread from those WikiLeaked DNC emails? The much-ballyhooed resignation of the sharply divisive former DNC chairwoman may satisfy the professional sacrificial requirement that arises in such situations, but the fallout from the content of the emails is sure to be ongoing — and it is sure to present the Clinton campaign with fresh and considerable challenges in her task of mending fissures within the party and drawing throngs of already resistant voters into her camp.
The leaks might have undercut Clinton’s and Schultz’s political ambitions, but they’ve been a boon to one aspiring politician to watch, and that man’s name is Tim Canova.
Yet another question: Where can Clinton get traction? Judging by Tuesday’s theme, “A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families,” the presumptive Democratic nominee’s supporters will aim for the heart and the hearth in their messages of support. Featured speakers include former President Bill Clinton, as well as members of the group Mothers of the Movement, composed of the mothers of several African-Americans killed in recent times by police officers or in a security or law enforcement context: Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr; Michael Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden; Sandra Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal; and Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. (Click here for the Democratic convention’s complete schedule.)
Truthdig will continue its robust coverage of the convention with updates to this live blog throughout the day, as well as with dispatches from Philadelphia courtesy of Sonali Kolhatkar, Robert Scheer, Michael Nigro, Alan Minsky, Chris Hedges, Alexander Reed-Kelly, and the inimitable Mr. Fish. Don’t touch that dial.
–Posted by Kasia AndersonWait, before you go…
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