8:39 p.m. PDT: Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer has the final word:
Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech offered an excellent critique of all the things Donald Trump got wrong while running our government these past 24 years. Seriously, though, she was at her best when she channeled Bernie. Let's pressure her to keep it up.
8:37 p.m. PDT: Hillary Clinton has been known as a polarizing figure for most of her public life. She took a step toward being a uniter to close the Democratic convention. Now, the work continues.
Are you inspired? If not, maybe this will help.
If that doesn't do the trick, keep these words in mind: We cannot wait for change to come to us. We need to be the change we want to see and make progress happen.
8:34 p.m. PDT: Truthdig Associate Editor Alexander Reed Kelly gives his take on the night:
Remember, we're electing an author of policy, not a mother, best friend or ideal of ourselves, as this evening's theater, with its evocations of the warmth attached to those ideas, is designed to help us forget.
8:33 p.m. PDT: Bill Blum's final thoughts:
Let me end my commentary on the Democratic convention with another sports reference, this time to "Dandy Don" Meredith, the late Dallas Cowboys quarterback and TV color commentator, who once teamed with Howard Cosell on "Monday Night Football." At the end of every game, Don would croon a creaky version of the old Willie Nelson standard, “The Party’s Over.”
Well, the party that was the Democratic convention is indeed history. The celebratory balloons have been released, and Hillary Clinton has been anointed as Barack Obama’s successor and possibly the first female president of the United States.
But will history record the convention as a victory for Clinton or a historic rebuke? Will the Party survive the convention and win another four years in the White House, or will it enter a period of dark decline?
Seeking to ensure a win, Clinton emphasized her campaign’s now omnipresent slogan of “stronger together” in her speech. Attacking her strongman rival’s claim to be the “only one” who can solve the country’s problems, she declared, “We have to decide whether we’re going to work together, so we can all rise together.” She promised, fist clenched, eyes trained directly ahead, to work for a future in which “love trumps hate” for all Americans.
As a matter of choreography and spectacle, the speech was a success. Never a great orator, Clinton displayed nuance and passion, as well as her trademark intelligence, and even a sense of humor at Trump’s expense. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons,” she quipped near the end of her address.
On matters of substance, Clinton ran through a laundry list of items that almost seemed cribbed from a Bernie Sanders stump speech, pledging to pursue a jobs agenda for American workers, appoint justices to the Supreme Court to overturn Citizens United and get money out of politics, protect the environment, promote gender equity and racial justice, and relieve student debt.
What’s not to love? Nothing, except the unavoidable fact that the Democratic candidate is still Clinton, and that’s not going to change. Remember that Dandy Don sang for both the winners and the losers, and Trump and Clinton are running neck and neck in the latest polls.
8:29 p.m. PDT: Tim Kaine joins Clinton on stage. Then, Bill Clinton. Fireworks. Balloons. Americana.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 29, 2016
8:27 p.m. PDT: Clinton spoke for 55 minutes. She gave a workhorse speech. You can read it here. She will never be an orator like John F. Kennedy or Barack Obama. But she showed a little more humanity. The rest of the campaign against Donald Trump will be "We the people" vs. "Believe me."
8:23 p.m. PDT: Freer, fairer and stronger. "Progress is possible. ... We begin a new chapter. ... Let's be stronger together. .... Let's build a better future for our children."
8:20 p.m. PDT: The talk turns to race and immigration. She's hitting every issue.
8:19 p.m. PDT: The gun lobby and National Rifle Association is next: "I'm not here to take away your guns. I just don't want you to be shot by someone who shouldn't have a gun."
8:17 p.m. PDT: Where is the talk of peace? The word "war" has been repeated over and over again. She pledges to be the kind of commander in chief who exercises "strategic power." What does that mean?
8:16 p.m. PDT: Trump's response? It's only a matter of time, in 140 characters or less.
8:15 p.m. PDT: Donald Trump: "I know more about [Islamic State] than our generals do."
Hillary Clinton: "No, Donald, you don't."
8:14 p.m. PDT: She mentions protecting the rights and security of Israel. But no mention of Palestinian rights.
8:12 p.m. PDT: Clinton is feeling the Bern more than she used to. She's delivering some burns: "Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again. Well, he can start by making things in America." For her next act, she is going to bust out some "Yo Mama" jokes.
8:11 p.m. PDT: How will we get all of this done? Maybe Clinton is omniscient. She just read my mind. She says, "Look at my record. I know how to work across party lines and get things done."
8:09 p.m. PDT: Follow the money. Who's getting screwed, and who's doing the screwing?
8:07 p.m. PDT: Do you believe in miracles? "Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all," says Clinton.
8:01 p.m. PDT: More opportunity, more jobs, higher wages in the United States. Clinton wants to rebuild the middle class. She wants to overturn Citizens United. She wants to keep American corporations honest and make sure they pay their fair share. She believes that Wall Street shouldn't be allowed to wreck Main Street. She believes in science. She believes climate change is real. All of that sounds great in theory. Now it's up to the people to start holding those in positions of power accountable. Easier said than done in our corporatocracy.
7:49 p.m. PDT: Clinton isn't going to win over everyone with this speech, but at least she is proving that she isn't a robot. For a few minutes, she has made people forget her reputation as a neoliberal war hawk. "The service part has always come easier to me than the public part," says Clinton.
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 29, 2016
Look, politics in America is a dirty business. The winners are the ones who play the rigged game best, who have the biggest financial backers, who are willing to do the bidding for those corporate masters. Clinton has proved she is that person during her years of "public service." She didn't create the system. Will she change it? Can she change it? The optimist says, "Sure, anything is possible." The pessimist view is, "Hell no." Let's be optimistic.
Changing the system isn't going to happen because Clinton or Trump or Jill Stein or anyone is president of the United States. The system needs to be rebuilt from the local level on up. However, compared with Trump, she is talking a much more hopeful, uplifting, inclusive language.
7:47 p.m. PDT: Now it's official. "I accept your nomination for president of the United States," says Clinton. The crowd goes wild.
7:43 p.m. PDT: Philadelphia has a rich history. It is where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed. "Our founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power," Clinton reminds us. " 'Stronger together' is a guiding principle for the country we've always been and the country we're going to be." She ticks off her vision for America: a place where there is no income inequality and there are equal rights and education for all.
7:39 p.m. PDT: The spirit of Franklin Delano Roosevelt lives. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," says Clinton, quoting the 32nd president.
7:36 p.m. PDT: America's motto: E pluribus unum. Out of many, we are one. Will we stay true to that motto?
7:34 p.m. PDT: Clinton thanks Sanders. The camera pans to him. He looks about as happy as someone passing a kidney stone. "Your campaign inspired millions of Americans." She wants to work with him to implement the most progressive Democratic platform ever. "We wrote it together," she says. "Now, let's go out and make it happen together." A lot of people in America want to believe that to be true. They are hopeful that she will follow through on her progressive promise. We'll see if she can stay true to the cause.
7:29 p.m. PDT: Clinton takes the stage. A vision in a white pantsuit. And she doesn't look like the female version of Chairman Mao. She hugs Chelsea and soaks in the applause. They love her. They really love her.
7:15 p.m. PDT: The Hillary Clinton story. A 12-minute film plays before Clinton takes the stage and gives her speech. The film takes us back to the beginning of her life and talks about her parents, her upbringing, her hopes, dreams, struggles and triumphs. She is shown to be a sympathetic figure, a human being. We also see and hear highlights of her life: being a champion for women and children. "Human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights," she said in 1995. "That was a radical statement in 1995," said Bill Clinton. Sure, this video is Hollywood. It's got more make-believe than believe. But if she could carry her presence in this video—as a person with empathy who cares about others—outside the convention hall, she might be able to increase her trustworthiness among the American people. "There is more than enough of the American dream to go around," she said.
7:03 p.m. PDT: Proud daughter Chelsea Clinton humanizes her mom. Chelsea talks about her daughter and son and what a wonderful grandmother her mom is. Chelsea's earliest memory is of her mom picking her up when she fell and reading her "Goodnight, Moon." Chelsea makes Clinton seem relatable by recounting everything her mom used to do for her: take her to school, softball games, piano lessons, normal mom duties. "Public service is about service," another lesson Clinton taught Chelsea.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 29, 2016
Take away the $250,000 speaking fees, the secretary of state role, her job as the senator from New York, 30-plus years in the public spotlight and under the microscope, and she's just like the PTA mom next door. If Clinton isn't careful, people might start calling her June.
6:57 p.m. PDT: Quick, how many billionaires does the United States have? The answer is 540, more than any other country.
6:55 p.m. PDT: Welcome, Katy Perry, Clinton's mascot. She reminds everyone that "she has a voice." And so does everyone else. "That voice can stand up to billionaires," Perry says. The singer tells the world she will be voting for Clinton. "Don't be surprised, she will still rise." Perry belts out a few songs and then exits. Clinton could learn something from Perry in the transparency department. First, Alicia Keys. Then, Perry. Do the Democrats have another strong female entertainer? The smart money's on Beyoncé making an appearance. If she does, and Clinton gets in formation with her, she might take a step toward connecting with those young women who want nothing to do with her.
6:46 p.m. PDT: More than 60 percent of Americans don't trust Clinton. She needs to change the perception that she is not honest. It won't be an easy reputation to shake, but she could start by being more transparent. Next, she could be more vulnerable, admit mistakes she has made. When she talks, she often seems to be hiding something. We don't expect Clinton to turn into Oprah Winfrey overnight, but she is going to have to earn trust by walking the walk. That means following through on what she says, such as opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She was for TPP, then against it. Now, it's unclear what side she's on. She needs to stand up and make her positions crystal clear. It also would help if her husband, former President Bill Clinton, didn't cut corners on the truth. There's a reason he's known as Slick Willy. His convention speech this week was filled with inaccuracies.
6:36 p.m. PDT: Norman Solomon, a Sanders supporter, talks about the imperative that the Sanders faithful have now: to defeat Donald Trump and to keep the progressive heat on Clinton. Solomon thinks the key will be swing states. People have to be smart and strategic about how they vote. "Hillary will not be able to do her usual corporate and war thing," says Solomon. He closes his interview by ticking off issues progressives will continue fighting against: income inequality, inordinate Wall Street power and indiscriminate war.
Earlier in the day, Solomon appeared on a Truthdig Facebook Live broadcast with Jeff Cohen and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer to discuss the discord among Sanders' delegates.
6:22 p.m. PDT: "USA, USA, USA" chants ring out in the hall as a large group of veterans, led by retired Gen. John Allen, takes the stage. Allen talks about peace, liberty and the greatness of America. "We are the greatest country on this planet," he says. "Hillary Clinton will be exactly the kind of commander in chief America needs. I know this because I served with her," he continues. "We will oppose and resist tyranny, and we will defeat evil. We will defeat [Islamic State]. ... Our armed forces will have the finest weapons. The American military will be the shining example of America at our very best." To our allies: "We are with you." To those against us: "We will oppose you." To our enemies: "We will pursue you. You will fear us. To [Islamic State] and others, we will defeat you." Tough talk. A lot of intensity in his words. During his talk, there was a chant competing with "USA, USA, USA" in the hall: "No more war."
Clinton is not the peace president. She's a militarist and hawk and never met a weapon she didn't like. Many people have expressed concerns that she will lead the United States into more wars and escalate conflict rather than de-escalate problems.
6:09 p.m. PDT: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Hall of Fame NBA center and a Muslim, pushes back at Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric. The basketball legend also delivers the funniest line of the night: "I'm Michael Jordan. I only said that because Donald Trump wouldn't know the difference."
Abdul-Jabbar is followed by the parents of a soldier killed in Iraq. They speak about their loss. So far, the last night of the Democratic convention is a much more solemn gathering than the past three nights. "Have you ever read the U.S. Constitution?" asks the father of the fallen soldier. He then pulls out a copy of the Constitution from his suit pocket. "You can read my copy." Powerful moment.
6:05 p.m. PDT: Is there a heart in America? The Rev. William Barber makes the Wells Fargo Center feel like a church and fires up the crowd with inspiring words. Barber reminds us that "we must shock this nation with the power of love. ... We cannot give up on the heart of our democracy. Not now. Not ever."
Malarkey means "meaningless talk, or nonsense," and it's a staple in Biden's vocabulary. He has used the word many times over the years, including during a 2012 debate with Paul Ryan. Now, Ryan and Trump have something else in common besides enmity.
5:45 p.m. PDT: Loved ones of fallen police officers take the stage. They are representatives of three families—two widows and a mother and father—talking about their losses. "Police officers risk their lives every day," says a widow.
The New York Times' David Brooks makes an interesting point. We are seeing more people who have experienced loss speaking at both the GOP and Democratic conventions. Commentators wonder if this trend is something identified in focus groups. They acknowledge that that is a cynical observation. But the sense of loss—of a child, of a job, of faith in the future—is real for a lot of Americans.
5:36 p.m. PDT: Here's something you don't see every election season: Republicans voting for Democrats. That's the case with lifelong Republican Jennifer Pierotti Lim and Doug Elmets, a former Ronald Reagan administration official. Both are voting for a Democrat for the first time. "Loyalty to country is more important than loyalty to party," said Elmets.
Clinton's strategy is to get more Republicans to vote for her. That goes against the down-ballot strategy for Senate and House seats. Democrats wants Republicans to stay home in those races.
5:25 p.m. PDT Is it too much to ask for the president of the United States to be sane and reasonable and understand the job? The Democrats are pushing the Donald Trump is unqualified, Donald Trump is scary, Donald Trump is unstable, Donald Trump is crazy narrative hard. Despite the long list of Donald defects, the American electorate still likes what Trump is selling. In a new poll released Wednesday, he is leading Clinton 47 to 40.4 percent, his largest margin yet.
3:35 p.m. PDT: Speaking of the Democratic National Committee email leak -- the gift that keeps on feeding distrust—the Clinton campaign crisis management team has been working overtime to renew the Cold War with Russia. All the focus has shifted from the contents of the emails to how Vladimir Putin used cyberespionage to influence a U.S. presidential election.
Trump wasn't scary enough by himself. So now, a vote for Trump is a vote for Putin.
The way the Russia-Trump storyline has been pounded into our consciousness by the media and the Democratic Party, including at the convention in prime time, is a calculated effort to take our eye off the ball and is a classic "shoot the messenger" tactic. Yes, Trump has some connections with Russia, but the sources saying Russia was behind the Clinton email leaks are dubious, at best. If you think all the Russia talk by Team Clinton is a coincidence, I have a bridge to sell you.
3:08 p.m. PDT: "Scandal" meets Hillary Clinton, news at 11. Settle down, anti-Hillary folks. It's not another WikiLeaks email dump. A 12-minute film, "Hillary," has been created by "Scandal" producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers to introduce Clinton before her speech. Morgan Freeman will narrate the infomercial. Hollywood's "Voice of God" knows how to generate goosebumps.
2:35 p.m. PDT: After Clinton won the Democratic nomination this week, Chris Hedges wrote a powerful column for Truthdig titled "The 1 Percent's Useful Idiots." On Wednesday, he read the piece at the Socialist Convergence in downtown Philadelphia. Jill Stein also was there.
This election is complicated for many voters. The dilemma for Bernie Sanders voters is this: Do they hold their nose and vote for Hillary Clinton, the lesser of two evils compared with Trump? Do they vote their conscience and go with Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate? Or do they give a protest vote to Trump?
That's the election in a nutshell.
2:13 p.m. PDT: A Hillary Clinton parody account on Medium wrote what the real Clinton has wanted to say for a long time in an article titled "Let Me Remind You Fuckers Who I Am." Here's a sample:
What the fuck is your problem, America??
I’m Hillary goddamn Clinton. I’m a political prodigy, have been since I was 16. I have an insane network of powerful friends. I’m willing to spend the next eight years catching shit on all sides, all so I can fix this fucking country for you. And all you little bitches need to do is get off your asses one goddamn day in November.
“Oh but what about your eeeemaaaaillls???” Shut the fuck up. Seriously, shut the fuck up and listen for one fucking second.
Here’s all you need to know about me:
1. In 1992, I said I was proud to have followed my career instead of baking cookies.
3. Every time I have a job, y’all love me. Every time I run for anything, the GOP breaks out the big guns again and fucks me up good. And apparently it fucking works.
But you know what? I don’t fucking care. If I gave two shits about the haters I would’ve dropped the game decades ago.
Read the full piece for a good laugh. Wonder if Correct the Record had anything to do with it?
2:07 p.m. PDT: Follow our Truthdig team in Philadelphia with Evrybit.
1:15 p.m. PDT: Truthdig contributor Bill Blum is ready to get the party started:
As the Democratic convention draws to a close, I’m going to play a little “inside baseball.” If I can, I’m going to set aside for the moment my dislike of the nominee and ask the only question that the party leadership really cares about: Has the elaborately staged event done enough to reclaim the lead for Clinton over her rival Donald Trump in the run-up to the election?
From a purely technical standpoint, after getting off to an embarrassing start with the WikiLeaks dump of anti-Bernie Sanders emails authored by DNC staffers, the convention has been an entertaining and uplifting affair, especially compared with the heavy-handed and amateurish GOP performance in Cleveland.
But all the great speeches by Joe Biden, Michelle and Barack Obama and the rest of the A-listers who have taken to the lectern in Philadelphia won’t amount to (as Humphrey Bogart remarked in the movie Casablanca) “a hill of beans” unless Clinton makes the case for her election when she takes the stage. She’ll be all alone as she attempts to do so, and everyone will be watching. I’ll be back with an evaluation.
Thursday, 12:27 p.m. PDT: We have reached the final day of the Hillary Clinton lovefest, otherwise known as the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. After not making an appearance on Day 1, Clinton said hello in a live video from New York on Day 2 and joined President Obama on stage for hugs and laughs after his speech on Day 3.
On Day 4, Clinton will have the floor all to herself. Can she bring down the house?
Her motivation should be to get Bernie Sanders' people to support her. So far, the Clinton strategy has been to focus on winning moderate Republican swing voters, while dismissing the Sanders contingent. By assuming that Sanders supporters will jump on the Clinton bandwagon, they are underestimating the discontent—and disrespect—Sanders supporters feel. Because there are about 13 moderate Republicans and 13 million Sanders voters, the Clinton campaign would be wise to refocus its strategy and extend an olive branch to the Bernie movement. Or at least do a better job of disguising its contempt for it.
This refocusing can begin with Clinton's speech.
Truthdig will be live blogging until the end of the convention. Tune in for news, analysis and commentary.
Our Truthdig team is ready to help us get the whole story. Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, Associate Editor Alex Kelly and editorial assistant Clara Romeo are on the ground in Philadelphia, providing multimedia dispatches for the live blog. Truthdig columnist and Pacifica Radio host Sonali Kolhatkar is providing video and columns. Photojournalist Michael Nigro has the perspective of what’s happening outside the convention hall. Mr. Fish has been creating original illustrations for Truthdig and plans to write a summary column on his impressions. Truthdig contributor Bill Blum will share his analysis for the live blog. And Truthdig columnist Alan Minsky also will be writing a summary column.
If Clinton needs any last-minute speaking advice, Selena Meyer is here to help.
Now it's only a matter of time until we see the warmer, kinder Hillary Clinton. Expect the show to be the most controlled and sanitized celebration money can buy.