Those of you who want to defend the convention protestors (I certainly won't call them Bernie supporters, because it seems like the vast majority of Bernie supporters want to disavow these people and distance themselves from this mess) for their right to free speech, their right to their convictions, etc, let me tell you what I see, and what I think a lot of the rest of the world sees.
The problem "The Left" (and I'm using that on purpose in quotation marks like that because what I'm talking about is the IMAGE the left carries for most people) has ALWAYS had is pragmatic people edging away from them going, "Ooh, that seems a little extreme, I'd rather not." OR, "You mean those granola hippies? No thanks". And MANY people are pragmatic, middle-of-the-roaders. So much so that they put Michael Bloomberg, a former Republican, on the stage of the DNC last night in prime time for a Trump takedown.
So "The Left" can't organise and they can't win anything, not even dogcatcher, because they can't build a strong base. The Greens can't win anything. They have no power. This is not necessarily because the Greens' positions are unattractive to lots of people. It's more because they attract the sort of fringe elements that have no sense of EFFECTIVE intervention. Not appropriate (as in "Oh, it's not appropriate to scream over a speaker at the DNC who is trying to take Trump DOWN" , but EFFECTIVE (as in "when is the most opportune time for us to get our message heard AND not turn off millions of people to our cause?" .
I, personally, will NEVER forget the fact the the actions of these protestors throughout the convention have made it easier for Trump to win. No matter how much or how little you take them seriously, the net result was negative. I KNOW I am not alone in feeling that way.
So what happens next? I know that I, personally, will be MORE inclined to CLOSED primaries, superdelegates to save us from idiots, and never again letting a populist who just became a Democrat run on the Democratic ticket.
And that is a SHAME. Because what Bernie did was marry his populist message with a long history of political savvy. What he's got that the young people who followed him DON'T have is a history in politics and a knowledge of history, period. So he was able to promote his message in a way that appealed to middle of the roaders as well as the "The Left".
"The Left" has now left Bernie behind. They don't understand or respect compromise. They don't understand or respect political reality. They genuinely think that if Trump burns the whole thing down, somehow out of the ashes will rise...the Peace-loving Left? When was the last time THAT happened at the end of a fascist rule? I mean, seriously, how on earth do these people think somehow THEY'RE going to end up with the reins of power? That is NOT what happens when you elect a dangerous demagogue to the highest office!
They are hurting Bernie's legacy, and I feel sad for the millions and millions of Bernie supporters who are still WITH HIM, all the way to the voting booth in November to vote for Hillary. Because those TRUE Bernie supporters are reasonable people who've lost a battle but are NOT prepared to lose the war. They want to continue with Bernie's revolution, and elect progressives at ALL levels of political office. But will they get the support they need on the local level after this display at the DNC? Will they be tarred with the same brush? I hope not. But I fear so.
This is not a bash on Bernie, but I DO think he bears some responsibility here. He was caught between a rock and a hard place, but I wish he'd found a more effective way to speak to these young people and try to make them see reality. But the other responsibility Bernie bears is that he spent the whole primary telling them that Hillary was a corporate tool. It's hard for them to make the transition because of those words that Bernie spoke many times.
The difference between "The Left" and the ACTUAL left is huge. But the media is lumping them ALL together. *I* am on the left! But these people are not on my side. I'm not with them. I am embarrassed for my party because they are doing what they're doing. That makes me MUCH less likely to want to support them later. I know I am one of thousands or millions who feel the same way. And that makes us MORE likely to move toward the status quo, not less.
I was on Twitter the other day and I saw a poll released that Hillary and Trump were basically tied with white voters in Pennsylvania, but Hillary was winning black voters 90-something % and Trump had 0%. ZERO PERCENT. If we win PA (and I think we will) it will be due to AA and Latino voters.
And if we win THIS ELECTION, it will be due to AA and Latino voters.
These young white kids protesting the convention (and getting WAY more traction in the media than they merit; there are not that many of them) do not understand the horror of what life would be like under Trump for AAs, Latinos, Muslims, LGBT, women, the disabled, the working poor, the poor and homeless. They DON'T GET IT.
I'll tell you something. I am a 43-year old white woman who was born and raised in South Philadelphia, went to public high school in Philadephia where I was one of 30 white kids in my graduating class of 800. I don't get it like YOU get it, but I get it. And if I were back home (and god I wish I was for this election season) I would be knocking on doors in every AA neighborhood in South Philly where I was raised and went to school, and West Philly where I went to college and lived for many years. I would be on my knees begging AAs to register, to vote, to tell their friends.
WE NEED YOU. THIS COUNTRY NEEDS YOU. We've got a candidate who will work hard for you. And I KNOW you will come through. I know you know how much America needs to be saved from itself. The foolish white people who will support Trump need saving from themselves just as much as all the good Democrats.
PLEASE. Tell me you've got this.
Well, that was...quite something, wasn't it?
I started the day (well, evening in my case, 4:00pm there is 9:00pm here) quite optimistic. The AME church choir, the beautiful film about Philadelphia (my hometown), and Boyz II Men, Philly natives and all around good guys from everything I know. They rocked the house!
We then had our first moment of disunity and disrespect. The Rev. Dr Cynthia Hale, an AA woman pastor, was giving an uplifting invocation, and people chanted "BERNIE BERNIE BERNIE" all over the prayer, drowning her out and actually forcing her to stop speaking for a moment. Uh oh.
The National Anthem sung by the young Bobby Hill gave me chills.
Barney Frank got some scattered boos, but spoke well.
Marcia Fudge seems very much like the kind of woman you do NOT want to mess with. I like that in a woman.
Then came what I hope we can all agree was the nadir of the night. Rep Elijah Cummings, a hero of the civil rights movement, gave a moving, wonderful speech about his father, a sharecropper who picked cotton in South Carolina, his heritage, his pride, the BLM movement, and women's rights. For no discernible or acceptable reason, people screamed "NO TPP" over the top of nearly the entirety of it. A civil rights icon screamed at, booed, and chanted over by DEMOCRATS. That was when I really lost it. I cried for a long time. All I could think was how the media would spin this, how the Republicans will use this in attack ad after attack ad, and how this disunity could and still might lose us the election.
Fortunately, things started to improve the tiniest bit after that. Three of the Labor leaders who spoke really knocked it out of the park. Very rousing. It's clear they address (rowdy?) crowds regularly and with success.
I was incredibly moved by the strong emphasis placed on substance abuse recovery and mental health, and I will always be grateful Hillary is talking about these things very publicly and with passion. It was one of the issues listed on her website that really surprised me when I first read it. I am so grateful.
Bless little Karla Ortiz, who might have been the most uplifting speaker there last night. I think an entire nation held its breath thinking "If they boo this little girl, I am coming through my TV/computer screen". But fortunately they managed to find some measure of self-control and it was a really nice moment. For ANY fence sitters that might remain, I suggest sitting and watching this video on repeat until you maybe start to recognise what's at stake in this election:
Astrid Silva was also wonderful in this section. What a great speaker she is.
Al Franken killed it for the first of TWO times of the evening. We'll get back to him.
Anastasia Somoza, the disability rights advocate, I don't think is getting her dues for what was a really wonderful speech. Watch it again here if you missed it:
Then it was Al Franken and Sarah Silverman, up to kill time, make jokes as well as some extremely insightful remarks, before introducing Paul Simon. I really started to feel the crowd pushing back against the protestors now. I really started to feel the mood change. Paul Simon might be a little wavery, but his soul still shines through his voice like it always has. Couldn't find a vid but if i find one later today I'll insert it.
Eva Longoria was smart and fiery. I've always liked her. She, and the Latino speakers of the evening in general, probably did the best to skewer Trump's bigotry and the direct impact of this election. Short but impactful speech:
Then came one of the huge highlights of the evening, at least for me. Cory Booker gave a soaring, wonderful, inspirational speech that reached the heights of oratory last seen at the DNC by Barack Obama. His inclusion of the Maya Angelou poem "I Rise" just made it even more beautiful. He was on my VP shortlist and I still think he would have made a fantastic candidate, although I really adore Tim Kaine. This is not the last of Cory Booker we'll see on the national stage, I can bet you that. Chants of "WAR HAWK" over his speech, but drowned out quickly by applause and cheers.
I expected Michelle Obama's speech to be good. I did not expect to spend the entire speech with tears running down my face, hands clasped, saying "Bless her" and "YES GIRL" over and over again. I did not expect to stand up in my empty living room alone at the end of it and clap for her. I did not expect to think at one point, "This might be better than whatever Barack pulls out". I did not expect her to, through her sheer force of beauty, grace, poise, class and brilliance inside and out, turn the whole evening around. People knew better than to boo Michelle Obama. She is beloved by everyone. She showed why tonight. Speech of the evening by a country mile. I watched it again this morning and cried again just as passionately as I did the first time. This is why I am a Democrat:
The cute redheaded young Kennedy had to follow that up, bless him. Luckily he only had to introduce Elizabeth Warren, who basically took a giant pair of scissors to Donald Trump and proceeded to snip little pieces off him until he was left as a pile of Cheeto-colored confetti on the floor. She also gave an impassioned and heartfelt defense of Hillary. Chants of "WE TRUSTED YOU" marred the moment, but were drowned out by cheers.
After all that, it was sad to see Keith Ellison got hammered by chants of "NO TRUST NO UNITY" which took a while to subside. He gave a great endorsement of Hillary and introduced the final speaker, Bernie Sanders.
I'm not sure why they put Bernie last. It was originally supposed to be Michelle Obama last, and I certainly think that would have ended the evening on a more purely uplifting note, but I think your mileage of whether you felt Bernie's speech was uplifting or not very much depends on whether you were/are a supporter of his. I freely admit that I found it difficult to "feel" him and really get into his message because of the behavior of a MINORITY of his supporters up to that point in the evening. I think he could have done MUCH more to communicate to his supporters that this behavior was unacceptable BEFORE his speech, for the past several days and weeks (and really throughout the campaign), but as for the speech itself, he probably did everything he could to try to bring people together. He certainly said the magic words, "Hillary Clinton MUST be the next president of the United States", and for that I thank him very much.
So. That was the night. I got my first two hides on DU EVER, can't really tell if they were deserved or not, because I was so angry and sad and frightened and appalled at different points in the evening that I may have crossed the line. I cried in sadness and in happiness. I thought at different points "Oh my god, we are going to lose this election" and "We are DEFINITELY going to win this election". I have never been more passionate about being a true-blue, lifelong Democrat.
I'd like to finish by giving a special thank you to the VAST MAJORITY of Bernie supporters who COMPLETELY get it, understand what's at stake in this election and are generous, intelligent, and selfless enough to find common cause and promote unity. That's here on DU, in that convention center, and out in the world. THANK YOU. You are SO appreciated by me and I think I can speak for every other DUer. I know my remarks last night may not have been as careful to specify "SOME Bernie supporters/delegates" as I should have been, and for that I deeply apologise. I was more emotional than I've ever been on DU last night watching that. So please, if I made you feel unwelcome in any way, I apologise and I hope you can forgive me. You are more appreciated than you know.
Thanks for reading. What did you guys think?
I'll start out by saying that the arguments I'm about to make are not for use with people who simply believe Hillary is a liar, untrustworthy, or Satan. These arguments are for people who have an incomplete or misinformed understanding of her policies and might be swayed by a more thorough and accurate understanding.
(Some of this was copied and modified from an in-thread post I made yesterday. Please do feel free to add common objections and your counter-arguments.)
1. Fracking: Hillary is not in FAVOR of fracking. If the choices are foreign oil, coal, and fracking AT THE MOMENT, she chooses fracking as the least damaging option - as a stop-gap solution to keep people heating their homes and getting to work. She also has environmental limits on where fracking should be pursued. At the same time, she has a comprehensive plan to build a renewable energy infrastructure and create thousands of jobs in the process: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/climate/
2. Foreign policy/"warmongering": Hillary enacted President Obama's policies as SOS. She has promised to use diplomacy up and until it is no longer a viable approach. Whether you believe her comes down to character, but in terms of her stated positions, she is no warmonger. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/national-security/
3. Opposition to Glass-Steagall: Hillary has a comprehensive plan to eliminate the banks' ability to take dangerous risks and weaken the economy. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/wall-street/
4. Super PACs: Hillary is in favour of comprehensive campaign finance reform. We need a majority in Congress to get this passed (not to mention a Democratic president to appoint SC judges who will overturn Citizens United - which Hillary has promised is a litmus test for her when choosing candidates) - and I am extremely opposed to our Democratic candidates playing a game of chicken and being the first to stop taking big money BEFORE everyone else has to stop too. We need to get into office before we can make these changes. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/campaign-finance-reform/
5. Speeches to Wall Street: Hillary was a private citizen, many former politicians make speeches for big money (in addition to loads of other kinds of celebrities), and there has never been any proof of quid pro quo. Also, the speeches to big banks/Wall Street were only a small portion of the total number and dollar amount of speeches she gave.
6. Opposition to healthcare for all: Hillary supports expanding and improving the ACA. Removing it entirely and hoping to get something even more left-wing passed is not reasonable in our political climate. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/health-care/
7. Opposition to free tuition: Hillary has added debt-free college to her platform: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/college/
8. Iraq war vote: Hillary has apologised for her vote without qualification. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/hillary-clinton-iraq-war-vote-mistake-iowa-118109 She was lied to, but she says plainly that she got it wrong. It comes down to whether someone can be forgiven for getting something that monumental wrong. For me, I can forgive a mistake like that, because lots of other intelligent, thoughtful people made the same mistake, fell for the same lies, and GWB absolutely DID abuse the limited authority given to him by that vote. The mess in Iraq can be laid at the feet of GWB. But everyone needs to take responsibility for their part in it, and I believe Hillary has.
9. Protecting social security: Hillary has promised to oppose any attempts to privatise or weaken SS or Medicare. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/social-security-and-medicare/
10. Minimum wage: Hillary is in favor of a $12 an hour federal minimum wage, and state and local efforts to raise in to $15 when appropriate. This is a compromise approach that won't cripple small businesses in less-wealthy areas while still supporting big cities to pay their workers a living wage. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/labor/
Hillary also has comprehensive progressive policies regarding:
Addiction/substance abuse https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/addiction/
Disability rights: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/disability-rights/
Immigration reform: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/immigration-reform/
Paid family and medical leave: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/paid-leave/
among many others, on her website. I encourage you to read it - the plans are really well thought-out, paid for, and realistic in our political climate.
I hope this is helpful, and please add your own thoughts.