The Democratic convention begins tomorrow in Philadelphia, with the party’s leaders scrambling to fend off a series of negative stories and present a unified front.
The Wikileaks dump of 20,000 DNC emails has exacerbated divisions within the party. The emails show the DNC’s leadership plotting against Bernie Sanders, exactly as he alleged throughout the campaign. Sanders will have a lot of delegates inside the convention hall, and an unknown number of demonstrators outside. Will he go along with the unity theme? Will his supporters? We will see.
In order to placate the Sanders forces, the Democrats have announced that party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s speaking slot has been canceled. Wasserman-Schultz was the chief anti-Sanders schemer, so canceling her speech may not be enough: this morning, Sanders demanded that she resign as party chairwoman. My guess is that the Democrats will throw her all the way under the bus in a desperate attempt to look unified.
Meanwhile, another controversy has arisen over the convention speeches scheduled to be given by Lezley McSpadden and Gwen Carr, the mothers of Michael Brown and Eric Garner respectively. The Democrats evidently chose to come down firmly on the side of the anti-police movement. But their plan elicited a furious response from John McNesby, President of Philadelphia’s police union:
I like that last line: “Mrs. Clinton you should be ashamed of yourself if that is possible.” The DNC, scrambling once again, now says they will add a couple of policemen to the list of speakers. That’s big of them.
With the exception of Ted Cruz’s performance, the Republican convention came off without a hitch, was not disrupted by protests either inside the hall or in the streets, and presented a positive image of the party. Journalists had to struggle to find negativity, sinking so low as to make a major story out of the fact that Melania Trump’s speechwriter copied a couple of sentence fragments from a speech by Michelle Obama. The horror! It will be interesting to see whether the wheels come off for the Democrats over the next four days, and how the press covers it if they do.
It will also be interesting to see what television ratings the Democrats can muster, compared with the Republican convention. Around 35 million watched Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, a number that reportedly fell below expectations. But how many will tune in to see another speech by tired, old retread Hillary Clinton? That, too, will be something to watch for.
STEVE adds—Let’s not forget this:
UPDATE: You didn’t have to be Nostradamus to see that one coming: Wasserman-Schultz is out as of the end of the convention. But that’s a desperation move by the DNC. Why, really, should it satisfy Sanders and his supporters? The nomination contest was rigged, the Democrats now more or less admit, and firing Debbie W-S doesn’t unrig it. Nor does it address the underlying substantive issue: Sanders’s left-wing supporters have no reason to be excited about unifying behind the Queen of Wall Street. Will an obviously cosmetic move stave off convention chaos? Stay tuned.