Ron Fournier’s piece, “Bill Clinton Gets It Right,” on Bill Clinton’s speech is definitely worth a read: “The master of persuasion bragged on and on about his wife: career highlights, familiar anecdotes, and enough warm and cheesy sentiments to launch a thousand wedding toasts.”
In a historic moment, the Democratic Party formally nominated Hillary Clinton for president Tuesday, making her the first female nominee for the nation’s highest office in 240 years.
The vote was merely a formality, despite the noisy protestations of some diehard supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders himself made a powerful gesture toward party unity, requesting that Vermont cast its votes last so that he could step to the microphone and deliver Clinton the nomination he had fought so hard to wrest from her. “I move that all votes cast by delegates be reflected in the official record, and I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States,” Sanders said. And that was that: Clinton crashed through at least one of the “highest, hardest” glass ceilings that, as she put it eight years ago, she had only managed to imprint with 18 million cracks.
History was the theme of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and not merely because of the nomination of a woman. The Clinton campaign has an uneasy relationship with history: It has to look back without seeming backward. The former secretary of state wants to tout her long record, and also to remind voters of the happy days in the 1990s when her husband was president, but she is also eager to prove both that she is her own candidate and that she offers something fresh.
Clinton is often said to face the challenge that the entire electorate knows her well, and it has its views pretty well fixed. But much of that relationship begins in 1992, when Bill Clinton vaulted onto the national scene as a presidential candidate. It covers what happened next, both good and bad: the health-care debacle, Whitewater, her famous women’s-rights speech in China, and her time as a senator, presidential candidate, and secretary of state. It does not, however, include her career before 1992, like her advocacy for legal aid, or her work for the Children’s Defense Fund. That meant viewers and conventioneers were treated to stories like Clinton going undercover to reveal segregation academies in Alabama. The message to wavering progressives, especially the younger ones, seemed clear: You might know her as nothing but an insider, Hillary was a rabble-rousing lefty before you were born.
No speech better exemplified the tension than the evening’s crowning remarks from Bill Clinton. The former president’s speech was one of the most anticipated of the convention, for reasons both good and bad. On the one hand, Clinton remains among the most beloved figures in the Democratic Party. Moreover, he is, at his peak, a nearly unparalleled orator. Clinton delivered the most memorable and important speech of the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte, making the case for Barack Obama’s reelection in a way that Obama hadn’t managed to do. On the other hand, Clinton is at his peak less and less these days, and has developed a reputation for going off script and embarrassing his wife’s campaign. The Democratic Party is not what it was back when he was president—16 years ago, now!—and his politics are no longer its politics. Many people seemed to be watching Clinton’s speech as much to see if he’d go off the rails as to see what he’d say.
Unlike his 2012 speech, where the Big Dog’s task was to exercise his unusual talent for making wonky policy understandable, his goal in this speech was to humanize Hillary Clinton, and to let some of his natural charisma wear off on a candidate who is happier with briefing books than receiving lines. The ex-president started off a little shaky, and his opening anecdote, of getting to know Hillary Rodham when they were students at Yale Law School, was a bit tone-deaf. (If you have a reputation for womanizing, it’s maybe best to avoid lines like, “This was not just another tap on the shoulder.”) The stories were a bit threadbare from the telling.
But Clinton got warmed up, speaking for 40 minutes, downright concise by his standards. He took on the idea that Hillary Clinton is washed-up with an oblique shot at Sanders’s revolution-boosting followers. It was another way of suggesting that far from a milquetoast moderate, she is in fact a stealth liberal.
“If you believe in making change from the bottom up, if you believe the measure changes are many evils lives are affected, you know it is hard and some people think it is boring,” he said. “Speeches like this are fun. Actually doing the work is hard. So people say, ‘Well, we need to change. She has been around a long time.’ She sure has. And she has sure been worth every single year she has put into making people's lives better.”
Unsurprisingly, he reserved his harshest remarks for Donald Trump and the Republican Party, though he never named the GOP nominee. Clinton developed an extended riff on the idea of the election as a contest between two figures, one “real” and one “fake.”
“If you win elections on the theory the government is always bad and will mess up a two-car parade, a real change-maker represents a real threat, so your only alternative is to create a cartoon. Cartoons are two-dimensional. Easy to absorb. Life in the world is complicated and real change is hard,” he said, adding to huge applause, “Good for you, because earlier today you nominated the real one.”
Not all of Bill Clinton’s claims hold up to scrutiny—ask a Libyan about his claim that “you could drop her in any trouble spot. Pick one. Come back in a month and somehow, some way, she will have made it better”—but the speech served its purpose of reintroducing Hillary Clinton to an electorate that thinks it already knows her.
Overall, Tuesday offered much more comity than the rambunctious first day of the convention. Hardcore Sanders supporters remain implacably opposed to Clinton, and some staged a walkout as she was named the nominee, but their exit probably came as a relief to party leaders and Clinton backers who preferred them gone.
Besides Bill Clinton’s speech, one of the emotional peaks of the night came during an appearance by “the Mothers of the Movement,” a group of mothers of black men and women slain by police and gun violence, including the mothers of Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, and Eric Garner. The contrast between their impassioned testimony and the refrains of “Blue lives matter” at last week’s Republican National Convention was stark. Madeleine Albright, who served as secretary of state under Bill Clinton, also delivered a scathing attack on Trump’s foreign-policy approach.
“Many have argued that Donald Trump would harm our national security if he were elected president,” Albright said. “The fact is: He has already done damage, just by running for president. He has undermined our fight against ISIS by alienating our Muslim partners. He has weakened our standing in the world by threatening to walk away from our friends and our allies—and by encouraging more countries to get nuclear weapons.”
There were moments of levity. Lena Dunham and America Ferrera, two of the many celebrities to appear, cracked jokes about how no one should listen to TV stars. Howard Dean, the former DNC chair and governor of Vermont, reenacted his famous speech following the 2004 Iowa caucuses—stopping just short of delivering the infamous scream, much to conventioneers’ amusement.
But it was Bill Clinton who owned the night. Remembering his early life with Clinton, after she rejected his suggestion that she run for office, he said, “I really hoped that her choosing me and rejecting my advice to pursue her own career would not be a decision that she'd regret.” That’s a huge, complicated question in any marriage, to say nothing of one as complex and public as theirs. But watching from New York, Hillary Clinton couldn’t have regretted having an advocate like Bill Clinton on the stage in Philadelphia.
Tony Compolo, a Baptist pastor, called on the DNC to cure “sexism and homophobia.” Yet, like the Clintons, his longtime friends, the evangelical pastor hasn’t always been supportive of same-sex marriage—last summer, he came out in favor of it for the first time, arguably signaling a major shift among certain kinds of progressive evangelicals.
Compolo has long been a visible progressive religious figure; and in the 1990s, he was a spiritual adviser to Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal and beyond.
Hillary Clinton made history on Tuesday night, as the first woman to be nominated by a major party for the U.S. presidency. She broke the glass ceiling.
And hours after the roll-call vote that put her there, she reminded viewers of that: Visual graphics on the screen scrolled through all of the country’s presidents, ending with Barack Obama before the screen “shattered” with her video. “Glass shards” fell from the big screen to smaller screens below.
“What an incredible honor that you have given me, and I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet,” Clinton said in an address to the convention done remotely from New York. She added: “This is really your victory; this is really your night. And if there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say, I may become the first woman president, but one of you is next.”
Clinton will formally deliver remarks on Thursday night.
Meryl Streep, who had the unenviable task of speaking after Bill Clinton, placed Hillary Clinton among America’s most revered female pioneers. “What does it take to be the first female anything? It takes grit and it takes grace,” the Oscar winner said, rattling off names like Deborah Samson and Sally Ride, Sandra Day O’Connor and Shirley Chisholm. “Hillary Clinton will be our first woman president, and she will be a great president. And she will be the first in a long line of women—and men—who serve with grit and grace. She will be the first, but she won't be the last.”
I originally found Meryl Streep’s flag dress problematic, though fabulous. I flashed back to the time years ago that an old man lectured me at a Memorial Day parade. “Don’t wear the flag!” he warned. “It’s not supposed to touch your body or get dirty.”
But some googling shows me that all my years of anxiety have been for naught. The American Legion—and I trust those guys—says it’s a-okay.
Unless an article of clothing is made from an actual United States flag, there is NO breach of flag etiquette whatsoever. People are simply expressing their patriotism and love of country by wearing an article of clothing that happens to be red, white, and blue with stars and stripes. There is nothing illegal about the wearing or use of these items.
So let your flag fly, Meryl.
A view from inside the DNC:
The crowd in the arena thinned out earlier in the evening after Clinton was officially named the nominee. Everyone seemed to pack back into the stands, though, to see Bill Clinton speak. The hallways outside emptied out as people rushed back in to see the former President speak. It seems like whatever hard feelings Bernie supporters have, they weren’t enough to keep them outside for the rest of the night.
The war for coal miners continues. Bill Clinton mentioned a campaign stop in West Virginia, where he wooed coal miners to Hillary’s cause and painted her as the true defender of their interests. Republicans in Cleveland last week invoked coal miners several times in attacks on Hillary Clinton’s environmental and economic policies.
A little over 30 minutes into his speech, Bill Clinton pivots to the Republicans, as Nora pointed out. Clinton emphasized the “real” factor in a jab to Donald Trump. “Life in the world is complicated and real change is hard,” he said, adding that today the “real one” was nominated. During the primary season, Hillary Clinton’s camp struggled to show that side of the candidate, but tonight Bill Clinton worked to do away with those doubts.
After a long riff on Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, Bill Clinton showed what he thinks of the GOP’s characterizations of his wife’s work: “How does this square with the things that you heard at the Republican convention? What is the difference in what I told you and what they said? How do you squared? You cannot,” Bill said. “One is real, the other is made up.”
One of Clinton’s most-repeated resume lines is her role in creating the Children’s Health Insurance Program. As Bill Clinton’s narrative goes, she spearheaded the effort after her original health-care plan sank under the weight of a Senate filibuster. But The Washington Post says her role is a bit more fuzzy.
By all accounts, the prime mover behind CHIP was the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). He was inspired by a similar Massachusetts program and then enlisted Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) as his partner in the effort. The idea was to fund children’s health care with money raised from taxes on tobacco products. Bill Clinton endorsed the idea in his 1997 State of the Union address but then backed off when it appeared that the concept would imperil budget talks with Republicans. With urging from the president, a Senate vote in May doomed the plan.
But Kennedy would not give up and within weeks was trying again to pass a revised version of CHIP. An August 1997 New York Times article on final passage of the bill reported that “participants in the campaign for the health bill both on and off Capitol Hill said the First Lady had played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in lining up White House support. But Mr. Clinton did not appear to move on the issue until a meeting at the White House on July 22 with an agitated Mr. Kennedy.”
This behind-the-scenes role is why Hillary Clinton’s actual impact on the legislation is fuzzy. When she first ran for president in 2008, various fact checks and news reports came to contradictory conclusions … In reviewing the contemporaneous news reporting and later fact checks, we can find no evidence that she “worked with Democrats and Republicans” to create the law.
Bill Clinton mentioned Hillary Clinton’s work investigating segregation academies in 1972. Those were schools deliberately established in the American South for white students, in the wake of public-education integration. For more context, I highly recommend this feature from The New York Times’s Amy Chozick on that period in Clinton’s life:
A look at Mrs. Clinton’s efforts that summer, through archives and interviews with more than 50 local officials, civil-rights activists, and people who knew her, reveals a summer job that was both out of character for the bookish law student and a moment of awakening.
Bill Clinton has name dropped six states so far—Alaska, Arkansas, Alabama, Illinois, Texas, and Massachusetts. And delegates are loving it, cheering at the mention of their state. The question is: Will he go through all 50?
That story Bill Clinton told about going to the Yale art museum? He cut off the anecdote before he got the museum. The museum’s staff was on strike, but Clinton—a charmer even then—managed to talk his way in by promising to clean things up. It’s probably wise that he omitted that part, especially this year at this convention. Progressives have pointed out with fury that Clinton's heartwarming anecdote centers around crossing a picket line.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar presented Hillary Clinton Tuesday night as a singular advocate for the world’s women. Klobuchar focused chiefly on the scourge of sex trafficking, a focus of her work in the Senate. Referencing her experience as a former prosecutor, she argued Clinton’s bona fides: how she argued for women’s rights in China as first lady and supported Klobuchar’s anti-trafficking legislation in the Senate.
“She sees a world where girls are not captured and sold, but are fearless and bold, where they lead and not follow,” Klobuchar said.
The senator framed equality and justice for women as a matter of national survival—and promised Clinton would work for it. “When women are held back, democracies falter. When women are bound and treated as sex slaves, tyrants rule,” Klobuchar said. “Opportunity for women is not a sign of a country’s weakness, it is a sign of a nation’s strength.”
Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton share some things in common. “We are both mothers and grandmothers—so I know where she got her management skills,” she said. “We are both very proud of our daughters and grandsons, so we must have done something right.”
And, y’know, they were also both the top diplomats of the United States of America. Born in the former Czechoslovakia, Albright said she recognizes the dangers of Trump’s views on foreign policy and his dalliances with Russian leader Vladimir Putin all too well. From what she’s seen of Clinton—and Albright’s seen a lot of her, both as a first lady and a secretary of state—she understands this too, she said.
“Take it from someone who fled the Iron Curtain,” she said. “I know what happens when you give the Russians a green light. Trump’s dark vision of America, one that’s isolated in the world and alienated from our allies, would be a disaster.”
I’ll admit that my clearest memory of Howard Dean is his infamous scream—and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. But the guy made his reputation on his ambitious plans for health care—he’s a doctor, did you know?—and he gave a spirited pitch for Hillary Clinton as the president who could move the nation toward a more equitable system. As for Trump...
“He would rip up Obamacare and throw 20 million people off their health insurance,” Dean said. “Or he will take you back to the time when insurance companies could charge you more just because you are a woman. And what is he going to replace this with?”
Dean grinned. (The guy is seriously ageless.) “‘Something so much better.’ That’s it. That’s the whole plan for health care.”
Looking back at Dean’s original plan (thanks Internet Archive!), he and Clinton certainly share goals. Dean wanted to offer subsidized health insurance to every young adult up to age 25, a goal partially met, albeit orthogonally, by Obamacare. He wanted to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program to cover impoverished adults. But most importantly, he wanted to pursue a version of the so-called “public option” of government-run health insurance.
Clinton hasn’t gone that far—she’s more “Medicare For More” than “Medicare For All.” But they’re in the same ballpark. (Then again, Dean, now a consultant for a health-care lobbying firm, might not be as big a fan of subsidized insurance anymore, The Intercept reports.)
And let it be known that in closing his comments, Dean did re-enact the famous run-up to his 2004 scream, listing all the states Hillary would be fighting for. But he did not actually scream.
For our readers too young to remember, Howard Dean’s yelling just now was a repeat of this moment, from Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign:
U.S. News & World Report has some handy background on his exclamation the evening of the Iowa caucuses—what they call “the battle cry that backfired.” The desperation in the Dean Yawlp sunk his candidacy, but tonight he put his powers to use for good (or so Clinton hopes).
In one of the more jaw-dropping moments of the night, Representative Joseph Crowley, a New York Democrat, just flat-out accused Trump of war-profiteering:
Where was Donald Trump in the days, and months, and years after 9/11? He didn’t stand at the pile. He didn’t lobby Congress for help. He didn’t fight for the first responders. Nope. He cashed in, collecting $150,000 in federal funds intended to help small businesses recover, even though, days after the attack, Trump said his properties were not affected. Hillary sought those funds to help local mom-and-pop shops get back on their feet. Donald Trump saw it as a payday for his empire. It was one of our nation’s darkest days, but for Trump, it was just another chance to make a quick buck.
A bit of drama is unfolding among the Clinton camp and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe who delivered remarks earlier this evening.
In an interview after his speech, McAuliffe said, “I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules—but Hillary understands this.” He added: “Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it, but going forward, we got to build a global economy.” McAuliffe’s spokesman later said, “While Governor McAuliffe is a supporter of the TPP, he has no expectation Secretary Clinton would change her position on the legislation, and she has never told him anything to that effect.”
Still, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal has been a point of contention among Democrats and Republicans alike. Politico writes:
The battle over TPP was one of the most notable to erupt on the floor of the convention Monday, as Sanders delegates protested the fact that language opposing the trade deal was excluded from the party platform.
Clinton expressed her opposition to the trade deal last year, in a break from President Obama who supports it. “I have said from the very beginning that we had to have a trade agreement that would create good American jobs, raise wages, and advance our national security, and I still believe that is the high bar we have to meet,” she said in an interview with PBS. “I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.”
John Podesta concurred on Tuesday night.
Love Gov. McAuliffe, but he got this one flat wrong. Hillary opposes TPP BEFORE and AFTER the election. Period. Full stop.— John Podesta (@johnpodesta) July 27, 2016
It seemed like Bill Clinton would be the first Clinton family member to appear tonight. Not so: California Senator Barbara Boxer explained in her remarks that she and Clinton are related, and thus she could talk “very personally” about the Democratic nominee. (Boxer’s grandson, it turns out, is Clinton’s nephew; Clinton’s brother was once wed to Boxer’s daughter.)
Her speech spanned Clinton’s private and professional life, from her relationship with her mother, Dorothy, to her work during September 11 as New York’s senator, to her tenure as secretary of state.
“Now, during this campaign, we have seen something else—her toughness. And I know a little bit about toughness,” the retiring senator said, accusing “the right wing” of “throw[ing] everything” Clinton’s way. “Not only the kitchen sink, not only the stove, but the refrigerator and the toasters, too. And you know what? She’s still standing. ... America’s families need Hillary in the White House, standing with all of us.”
Those who watched closely the introductory video that aired before Joe Sweeney’s speech on Hillary Clinton’s work after 9/11 will note the voice of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who rose to national stardom in the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks. But unlike most retrospectives of that terrible day, these clips did not feature Giuliani in a glowing light. Instead, they showed him assuring the public, and by extension first responders, that the air in and around Ground Zero was safe. We now know it was not. The choice to feature Giuliani in a critical light was an interesting one. He and Clinton have long been rivals and nearly faced off in the 2000 Senate race. And just a week ago, the former mayor excoriated Clinton in a passionate prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention. With this small dig at Giuliani’s vaunted post-9/11 legacy, Clinton exacts some measure of payback.
Bernie protestor outside the convention. pic.twitter.com/SVrb384YqC— Clare Foran (@ckmarie) July 27, 2016
After Hillary Clinton was formally named the Democratic presidential nominee, some Bernie Sanders supporters staged a walkout. A procession of Sanders’s delegates trekked to a media tent outside the arena. The scene was peaceful but a bit chaotic. At one point, police officers blocked the doors to the tent with Sanders supporters still inside. An officer standing outside the doors told me, “Everything is calm, cool, and civil, but we have to stand out here to keep it that way.”
Ryan Lopez, a Sanders delegate from California, told me that the idea behind walking to the media tent was that, “if the Democratic Party is not going to listen to us, … we’re going to let the American people know what we think directly.” More broadly, Lopez said, the protest was to “denounce the nomination of Secretary Clinton as the standard-bearer for the Democratic Party.”
Once the doors were opened back up, most of the Sanders supporters eventually proceeded back into the arena. Several Sanders supporters got into a tense exchange with a Clinton supporter inside the doors of the arena. The Clinton supporter yelled: “How do we become united as one? Because the issue is going to come up in November. If you stand off and don’t vote for Hillary, then it’s a vote for Trump!” A Sanders delegate responded: “Start by recognizing what went wrong in this process. Start by admitting that this process was not run according to its own rules. Then say why it was done. Then beg for forgiveness. Ask for inclusion, and we will come with you—maybe.”
Bernie supporters protesting outside the arena near the media tents. pic.twitter.com/HUITfMhRqn— Clare Foran (@ckmarie) July 27, 2016
We’ve now opened into a segment covering Hillary Clinton and her leadership following the September 11 attack. She took office as New York’s junior senator just eight months before the Twin Towers fell, and the terrorist attack profoundly shaped her views regarding America’s intelligence apparatus and military strategy.
First up was Joe Sweeney, a former NYPD detective who spent many days at Ground Zero after the attack. He was one of the thousands of workers who were exposed to the poisonous dust swirling around the remains of the World Trade Center towers. “At the time, the EPA assured us that the air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe,” he said. “That information was dead wrong. Thousands of my friends and brothers and sisters in blue were exposed to terrible toxins that have caused lifelong health problems.” But Clinton was there, Sweeney said, demanding medical care for first responders and sticking with the cause for more than a decade.
Lena Dunham and America Ferrera each took a shot at Donald Trump in their DNC remarks. “I’m Lena Dunham, and according to Donald Trump, my body is probably like a two,” Dunham said. Ferrera followed: “I’m America Ferrera, and according to Donald Trump, I am probably a rapist.”
Ferrera lauded her immigrant roots as the daughter of Hondurans, while Dunham proudly said she’s a “pro-choice, feminist, sexual-assault survivor with a chronic reproductive illness.”
It has been a star-studded convention thus far, with other celebrity names like Elizabeth Banks and Tony Goldwyn also delivering remarks. While Dunham and Ferrera are certainly an appeal to young voters, their remarks also demonstrated why women are less likely to vote for Donald Trump than Clinton.
The duo ended: “Let’s put Hillary Clinton in the White House.”
It looks like the delegates will see Hillary Clinton tonight, per a CNN reporter:
Hillary Clinton will appear at the DNC via satellite after Bill Clinton's address tonight, according a source w/ knowledge. #DemsInPhilly— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) July 27, 2016
The Democratic nominee will be beaming in from Chapaqua, New York. https://t.co/tbZbFWSKC6— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) July 27, 2016
Donald Trump also addressed his convention remotely last week.
When the lights beamed on Mothers of the Movement, the crowd chanted, “Say-Their-Names, Say-Their-Names.”
“Give me a moment to say thank you,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland, while holding back tears. She also thanked God: “We are not standing here because He’s not good; we’re standing here because He’s great.”
Tony Goldwyn, who plays Fitzgerald Grant in ABC’s Scandal and is the co-chair of the Innocence Project’s Artists Committee, introduced the Mothers of the Movement, a group that includes the mothers of slain black men and women, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Jordan Davis. “They understand that we must reach out to each other because of our diversity, because we are stronger together,” Goldwyn said. “Hillary says we can’t hide from these hard truths about race and justice in America. We have to name them and own them and then change them.” A video featuring the mothers was aired in the convention hall, before they took the stage.
One by one the women told their stories in a raw and emotional moment.
“She knows that when a young, black life is cut short, it’s not just a loss. It’s a personal loss, a national loss—it’s a loss that diminishes all of us,” Reed-Veal said to a standing ovation. In an emotional plea, she urged voters to head to the polls. So did Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, and Sybrina Fulton, mother of Travyon Martin.
“We are going to keep telling our children’s stories, and we are urging you to say their names,” McBath said. “We are going to keep building a future where police officers and communities of color work together in mutual respect to keep children like Jordan safe.”
During the primary season, Clinton established a relationship with these women who had lost a child to violence. And that relationship was put into focus on the convention stage, where grieving mothers expressed their support of the Democratic nominee.
“His life ended on the day that he was shot and killed for playing loud music. But my job as a parent didn’t,” said Jordan Davis’s mother. It was one quote in a series of moving and terribly sad speeches from black mothers whose sons were killed violently.
The modesty of the ask from these black mothers––“say their names”––should be a wake up call to the Republican Party, which hasn’t managed even that much. Surely the GOP can do better on this issue.
Donald Trump has branded himself the candidate for law and order. But former Attorney General Eric Holder seems to think Hillary Clinton should have that title.
Referencing the grievances of the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing tensions between law enforcement and the communities they serve, Holder said the country “need[s] a president who understands the reality that I saw in my travels across our country ... that there should be no tension between protecting those who valiantly risk their lives to serve and ensuring everyone is treated fairly by the police.”
He added: “It is not enough for us to praise law-enforcement officers after they are killed. We must protect them, value them, and equip them with the right tools, tactics, and training while they are still alive” and yet still ensure they “treat the people they are sworn to serve with dignity, with respect, and with fairness.”
Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McClay is all about community policing, a criminal-justice paradigm growing in popularity that prioritizes foot patrols and engaging with the community. It’s what got the Wisconsin native the top police job in Pennsylvania’s second-largest city, and his views have won him wary respect in the city.
“We cannot succeed unless we come together with the communities we serve,” he told the convention. “We must each as human beings fight our natural tendency to hide inside our own narrow worldview. Instead, we must seek common ground with the objective of creating an America that truly is and truly provides a source of liberty and justice for all.”
But his zest to engage has left some of his subordinates with the impression he puts his agenda above the welfare of his own officers. In 2015, the chief was photographed with activists holding a sign reading, “I resolve to challenge racism @ work #endwhitesilence.” The police union took offense, and McClay subsequently deleted his Twitter account. Pittsburgh Magazine has a good profile here.
For civil libertarians, Eric Holder has been an improvement on the status quo on the subjects of policing and voting rights—but a huge disappointment with regard to secretive targeted killings abroad.
Tonight’s program has a heavy focus on Hillary Clinton’s career—but not the career that people know, the one that came long before she arrived in Washington as first lady, and even before she was first lady of Arkansas. That points to an interesting quandary for the Clinton campaign.
It’s a truism that Clinton’s political dilemma is that she’s very well-known, and everyone has a view of who she is. Clinton’s work with the Children’s Defense Fund, including her somewhat swashbuckling exploits as an undercover investigator of segregation academies, might endear her to party progressives who don’t totally trust her. But many voters either don’t remember or never knew all of that, since it came before she was in the national eye, and before she was overshadowed by her then-more-famous husband. Yet these spiels risk enforcing the idea that Clinton is the candidate of the past.
William Ernest Henley’s famed poem, “Invictus,” was just recited by the students of the Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx, who stood at attention before the convention. The school’s principal, David Banks, said Hillary Clinton was instrumental in getting the school off the ground. “Invictus” was notably a daily inspiration for Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
The Democratic National Committee has been dogged by an extensive email leak that showed staffers favoring Hillary Clinton. But on Tuesday, interim chair Donna Brazile put that aside for a moment to reflect on the historic nature of Clinton’s nomination.
“Growing up, I was always told that a lady should never reveal her age. So I will simply say this—I’m no spring chicken,” she began, jokingly putting on her glasses. “I’ve seen some things in my time. And as a child, I lived through and survived the segregated South.”
In an impassioned speech, Brazile endorsed Clinton for her perserverence. “She quietly fought and fought hard. That has never changed,” she said. “For standing up for women here at home and girls around the world as secretary of state.” And for the next generation, she exclaimed, “You have a champion.”
It has been a busy week for Brazile. On Monday, Brazile apologized for the leaked emails. “I sincerely apologize my friends for those of you who took offense and were offended—feel betrayed and were betrayed—by the ridiculous, insensitive, and inappropriate emails from the staff of the Democratic Party,” she said. On Tuesday, Brazile pledged that “we will have a party that you can be part of.”
Actress Elizabeth Banks mimicked Donald Trump as she walked onto the stage, backlit with white light and strutting to Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” as the Republican nominee did last Monday at the Cleveland convention.
She tried to liven up the crowd: “Some of you know me from The Hunger Games, in which I play Effie Trinket, a cruel, out-of-touch reality-TV star who wears insane wigs while delivering long-winded speeches to a violent dystopia,” said Banks, a University of Pennsylvania grad. “So when I tuned into Cleveland last week, I was like, ‘Uh, hey, that’s my act.’”
Queen criticized the Trump campaign for playing their 1977 hit without permission. My guess is the Clinton campaign asked for their blessing before tonight.
a lot more empty seats in the arena now that Clinton has won the nomination. pic.twitter.com/njQZ7WPpFz— Clare Foran (@ckmarie) July 26, 2016
There are a lot more empty seats in the arena now that Hillary Clinton has won the nomination. Some of that may be because delegates have decided to get up and stretch their legs after waiting through the lengthy roll-call vote. But it’s also because a number of Sanders delegates have walked out in protest. Sue Spicer is a Bernie delegate from Indiana who took part in the protest. She said that “Bernie delegations from across the nation coordinated it” by communicating with one another “over the course of the last two days.”
The walk-out, Spicer explained, is a way of sending a message that Clinton can’t take Sanders’s supporters for granted—they may not be there for her. “Most of the delegations agreed that we needed to show that it was incumbent upon them [not us] to get this woman into the White House,” Spicer said. When I asked which state delegations were most active in coordinating the protest, she said: “California. They’re really pissed.” Spicer added, though, that she does intend to go back in shortly. “I want to do what Senator Sanders wants me to do, so my intention is to walk back in, but I’d like them to see an empty hall for a minute.”
Hillary Clinton is an adopted New Yorker, and her campaign headquarters are in Brooklyn. But Senator Chuck Schumer is her true Brooklyn whisperer. Charming and popular, he also has a good rapport with Bernie Sanders, serving as a crucial ambassador between the two camps.
“I know Hillary,” he said. “I worked by her side for eight years. I'm from Brooklyn. It's in our blood to sniff out bull. There's a lot of that in politics—but not in Hillary.”
He used his speech to push for a Democratic majority in the Senate, promising a liberal sweep would result in immigration reform, a higher minimum wage, and the abolishment of Citizen's United. Of course, he'd like to be a part of that: He's up for reelection himself in November (and polls better than Clinton, actually.)
Former President Jimmy Carter addressed the convention in a video cast in the convention hall. He commended both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, whom he said “talked about issues that matter, and presented a vision for our nation.” The former president also delivered a veiled jab at Donald Trump, saying: “It has become more important than ever to lift people up to a brighter future. Instead, we see a Republican presidential candidate who seems to reject the moral and ethical principles on which our nation was founded. We can and must do better.”
He ended on a note of unity. “Hillary clinton has my support. I know she will also have yours. A united democratic party will prevail in November,” he said.
Andrew mentioned that House Democratic women assembled on the convention stage to show their solidarity for Hillary Clinton. Among them were two congressional candidates from Florida: Stephanie Murphy, a business professor at Rollins College; and Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief. I admit I haven’t heard much about either of these candidates, but their presence at tonight’s event suggests they’re considered viable contenders in the eyes of party organizers.
In 2008, Hillary Clinton was reluctant to emphasize the historic nature of her candidacy on the campaign trail. Things are different now. With her history-making nomination secure, Clinton's accomplishment is now the strongest and foremost success among a long series of victories from women who have broken the glass ceilings of government.
Surrounded by fellow Democratic women serving in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi made this clear. “In 1776, not far from here, the founding fathers created our nation, 96 years before women won the right to vote,” she said “We are preparing to shatter the highest glass ceiling in our country by electing Hillary Clinton president of the United States. Aren't you proud to be part of this historic moment?”
Nothing is more wholesome for America than the increased participation and leadership of women in government and politics. Here tonight are women who personify the integrity, imagination, idealism, and, indeed, the courage that will build a stronger America for hard-working families. As Hillary Clinton did, they have spent their lifetime fighting for women and children. And in November, we will affirm the great truth of our country: When women succeed, America succeeds.
Pelosi tweeted #WomenSucceed shortly before her speech, and the hashtag got some airtime on the Jumbotron before she entered. It's a program Pelosi has spearheaded for several years, including a 2014 road tour with other women in Congress. Many of those same colleagues took the podium to extoll not only Clinton, but the power of women to shape American politics.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is a longtime Clinton-family friend and ally—“I love this woman,” he said tonight from the stage. But McAuliffe has a role to play in the coming months beyond that of a surrogate. He’ll be contemplating whom he should appoint to replace Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, if the Democratic ticket wins in November. The Washington Post ran a story recently on some of his options, but the governor isn’t ready to talk specifics. “It’s too early for us to be speculating on that,” a spokesman told the Post. “The governor is focusing on doing his job and helping to turn Virginia blue for the Clinton-Kaine ticket.”
There were plenty of cheers and applause the moment Hillary Clinton’s nomination was formally announced. But there were also cries of anger. A Sanders supporter from the Florida delegation yelled out into the crowd: “She is a liar! The blood is on your hands! She will NOT beat Donald Trump!”
We now see why Vermont was saved for last. Seated and quietly smiling during his introduction, then rising to huge cheers, Sanders has now probably done everything he possibly could to promote unity at this convention and quiet his disappointed supporters. Cue the happy music on the convention floor—literally “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams.
What a job it must be to DJ the conventions. As Bernie Sanders moved to nominate Hillary Clinton for president, the music flipped into a cover of Pharrell’s “Happy.” A little on the nose, but then again, that’s why the gig must be fascinating: picking something family friendly but thematically on point for every moment of the orchestrated proceedings.
Vermont ends it all: On behalf of Bernie Sanders, “who has changed the trajectory of this country in a way that will make the lives of working Americans better for generations to come,” a delegate said, “Vermont casts our votes: 22 votes for our beloved Senator Sanders and four for the next president, Hillary Clinton.” Then Sanders himself addressed the crowd: “I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States.”
It was a remarkable study in contrasts watching the moment Hillary Clinton officially became the nation’s first woman presidential nominee of a major party. There was no acknowledgment of Clinton crossing the threshold inside the arena, as convention organizers left it to the news networks to make their own tallies of the delegates.
Last week in Cleveland, the entire roll call paused when Donald Trump became the Republican nominee, and an enormous graphic reading “OVER THE TOP” went up on the Jumbotrons.
You may have noticed a “Free Oscar López Rivera” shirt taking up most of the shot during the Puerto Rico delegation’s roll call. López Rivera, 73, was a member of FALN, a Puerto Rican separatist group that claimed responsibility for more than 100 bomb attacks in the U.S during the ’70s and ’80s. Charged of seditious conspiracy in 1981, he’s now serving a 70-year sentence. Thing is, he turned down the offer.
With South Dakota’s 15 votes, Hillary Clinton now has the necessary number of delegates to be nominated.
During the Republican convention last week, state delegates coordinated so New York, Donald Trump’s home state, could put him over the delegate count he needed to officially secure the nomination. This time around, it isn’t Arkansas or New York playing a similar role for Clinton—it’s Vermont, Bernie Sanders’s home state. A USA Today report confirms what Priscilla mentioned earlier:
Vermont will seek to go last in the roll call of states. After all Clinton and Sanders delegate numbers have been announced, the Vermont delegation—or possibly Sanders—will move to declare Clinton the nominee by unanimous consent, according to his aides.
Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, triumphantly awarded a Chappaqua grandmother 181 delegates. He also gave a nod to Congressman Charles Rangel, who is retiring. Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, was the subject of a biographical video broadcast to the the convention Monday night.
North Carolina took its time at the mic to rep its BBQ and university system—and trash H.B. 2, the controversial bill passed this spring that limits public-accommodations protections for transgender people in the state. “It’s the battleground state that will elect Roy Cooper and repeal H.B. 2!” the delegate declared, to massive cheers.
Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced Minnesota with two timely call-outs: It’s “the state of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ and the birthplace of Tim Kaine.” Prince, who grew up in Minneapolis and made his home near there, was beloved in his home state. Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential nominee, is a senator representing Virginia.
One of the best, most effective lines of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech was his attack on the latest of Hillary Clinton’s many slogans:
My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: “I’m With Her.” I choose to recite a different pledge.
My pledge reads: “I’M WITH YOU—THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.”
The Clinton campaign, apparently, took note:
New signs being passed out: "I'm with her" on one side, "she's with us" on the other #DNCinPHL— Alex Laughlin (@alexlaughs) July 26, 2016
More from Philly: These donkeys are all over the city—all 50 states plus a few extra are represented.
Sarah Coutu, a Bernie delegate from Florida, said that “on a one-on-one basis most Hillary supporters treat us like average citizens, which is great.” But when they’re in a group, and have other people backing them up, she said, Clinton supporters treat Sanders supporters “like second-class citizens” at the convention. Coutu expressed concern that Clinton supporters are focused on winning the nomination today and aren’t paying enough attention to the fact that Clinton is “dropping in the polls.” She thinks that Bernie has a better chance to beat Donald Trump.
Another one, Nora! Kansas just claimed Obama’s mom (she was born in Wichita).
Hawaii and Illinois both claim Obama as their own. Soon, New York, where Obama went to school, is gonna say its piece and then all hell is going to break loose.
A third wave of protesters is rounding down towards Wells Fargo, this time including the coalition of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein supporters that was active yesterday and Sunday, and also a group of activists associated with the Philadelphia Coalition for REAL Justice and Black Lives Matter. It looks like the largest march yet.
Illnois’s votes for Clinton were cast by Betsy Ebeling, a close friend of the candidate. “On this historic, wonderful day, in honor of Dorothy and Hugh’s daughter and my sweet friend—I know you’re watching,” she said. “This one’s for you, Hill.”
Today’s poetry prize goes to the Indiana delegation. From their tally announcement:
On this episode of The Apprentice,
We can say last week they conspired
But their ideas misfired
Their bigotry is tired
Their attacks are uninspired
So Mike Pence and Donald Trump, you are officially fired!
From the proceedings today in Philly: the many varieties of Hillary buttons.
Travel brag: A delegate from Guam notes their group traveled through nine time zones to get to Philly. So ... take that, complainers.
Larry Sanders, Bernie Sanders’s brother, personally cast seven votes for the Vermont senator while representing Democrats living abroad. (He lives in the United Kingdom.) In doing so, he tearfully evoked their parents, who “did not have easy lives.”
“They loved the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt and would be especially proud that Bernard is renewing that vision,” he said. “It is with enormous pride that I cast my vote for Bernie Sanders.”
Sanders, sitting with his wife, nodded, looking tearful himself.
When she spoke on behalf of the District of Columbia, Mayor Muriel Bowser put in a plug for D.C. statehood.
We are 670,000 tax-paying Americans just like you. And with statehood, and only with statehood, will we have votes in congress just like you! The next president of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton, will sign our admission into the United States of America as the 51st state!
If that’s what D.C. voters want from their next president, Clinton’s their pick: As of May, she supports the measure, while Trump does not.
A Delaware delegate notes that the state has a “unanimous Democrat congressional delegation.” That’s cute. Delaware, of course, has only one representative in the House, John Carney.
Shyrone Ridley, an alternate delegate in the Maryland delegation who supports Sanders, brought a Bernie Sanders doll with her that she calls Lil’ Bernie. She’s been waving it in the air during the roll-call vote whenever the delegate count for Sanders gets higher. Ridley said she feels sad at this moment, but she is confident that the movement the senator started won’t end. “This is only the beginning,” she told me.
The convention is now proceeding with the roll-call vote. Arkansas, where Hillary Clinton was once first lady during Bill Clinton’s years as governor, gave 10 votes for Bernie Sanders and 27—“enthusiastically”—for Clinton.
As he seconded Hillary Clinton’s nomination, Georgia Representative John Lewis started November’s get-out-the-vote effort early. Some in the country “want to take us backward,” he said. “They want to undo 50 years of progress this nation has made under Democratic leadership. We have come too far, we have made too much progress, and we are not going back—we are going forward. That is why we all must go to the polls in November and vote like we never, ever voted before.”
His remarks echoed those of First Lady Michelle Obama last night, when she called for Democratic voters to turn out like they did two times to elect her husband.
Just want to note Barbara Mikulski’s use of the term “macaroni-and-cheese issues” during her speech nominating Hillary Clinton. Specifically:
She will fight for your day-to-day needs. And the long-range needs of the country. She will fight for the macro issues and the macaroni-and-cheese issues.
Huh. Yeah. It is really hard to say what that metaphor means. Perhaps Clinton will be an advocate of dairy farmers or picky eaters. If so: right on.
Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski acknowledged the historic nature of the night as she nominated her friend, Hillary Clinton, for the presidency. “Our nation was born here in Philadelphia 240 years ago. Our founding fathers gave us a great start, but it was the founding mothers that said ‘Do not forget the ladies, for we will foment our own revolution,’” Mikulski said. “They started the job, but we are going to keep it going.”
LaKeshia Myers, a Hillary Clinton supporter in the Wisconsin delegation, is cheering loudly as the nominating process gets underway. She says the feeling of being here to see the first woman candidate ever receive the nomination of a major U.S. political party is “almost indescribable.”
“It’s always the toughest being the first,” Myers told me. “It’s tough for Hillary to be the first woman. You have to be almost perfect because people will hold everything against you.” She expects the scrutiny and criticism will only get worse. But, she added, “I think the U.S. is ready for it.”
As just noted, this nomination process for Sanders seems like an alternate universe. His allies are describing his virtues and insisting his policies will live on past Election Day, and Sanders himself is in the arena. CSPAN has panned to Sanders—looking a bit red-faced, but smiley—as he listens to his supporters talk about him. “We’ll never forget the man who leads us,” a Vermont delegate announces, and cheers break out as she endorses his nomination.
This little pep rally for Bernie Sanders—now three speakers strong—is a little awkward. Sure, it was planned by the DNC, and sure, everyone seems hip to the party line on supporting Clinton. But the crowd is loving these laudatory speeches; they are undeniably Feeling the Bern. The convention feels a little like an alternate universe right now: One in which Bernie prevailed during the primaries, and a socialist would be heading off against a real-estate mogul for the White House in November.
Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard has nominated Bernie Sanders for the presidency, a symbolic move after a hard-fought primary. She endorsed him in February after resigning from her vice-chair post at Democratic National Committee. Gabbard was one of the few House members to back Sanders over Clinton. “This movement of love and compassion is bigger than any one of us. It speaks to our nation’s conscience and our hearts,” Gabbard said, explaining Sanders’ influence in the national debate.
Former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin was the first speaker of the night, and he focused his remarks on the rights of people with disabilities. Harkin was a chief writer and Senate sponsor of the Americans With Disabilities Act more than a quarter-century ago; The Obama World-Herald reports Harkin's late brother, Frank, who was deaf, motivated him to work on the legislation.
Harkin's speech was the Democrats' answer to Republican nominee Donald Trump, who infamously mocked a New York Times reporter who has a disability. "Only one person seeking the presidency understands the disability community's phrase: Nothing about us without us."
Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky Democrat who ran against Mitch McConnell for the U.S. Senate in 2014, took the stage this afternoon to rep Hillary Clinton. Throughout, she emphasized her Southern cred, saying she’s proud to be part of a new generation of Southern Democrats. And she forcefully endorsed the Democratic presidential nominee.
Hillary Clinton probably doesn’t have much of a chance in Grimes’s Republican border state this November. But then again, the last time Kentucky went blue in a presidential election, it was for a Clinton.
With a tap of convention chair Marcia Fudge’s gavel, night two of the convention has begun. As we mentioned earlier, there are a couple big things to watch tonight: the formal nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party’s nominee, and a speech from her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski will formally nominate Hillary Clinton for president Tuesday, the Clinton team announced this afternoon. She’s a fitting choice: Not only are Mikulski and the presumptive nominee friends—their mutual affection is documented in Clinton’s state department emails—but Mikulski occupies a special place in American politics for women.
On Capitol Hill, the retiring senator is known as the Dean of the Women, for her support for fellow female members, and she made history in 1986 by becoming the first female Democrat elected to the Senate in her own right. Before her, others had been appointed or had succeeded their husbands in office. Another bold move? In the early days of her career, Mikulski began breaking the Senate dress code by wearing pants. Clinton on Tuesday will become the first female major-party nominee. It seems natural Mikulski would be asked, or would volunteer, to help make that official.
Seconding the nomination will be Georgia Representative John Lewis, another history-maker. Lewis is a civil-rights icon who—to name just two examples of his role in the movement—marched from Selma to Montgomery and led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Fast-forward a few decades, and Lewis was instrumental in organizing House Democrats’ June sit-in over gun control. Helping him second the nomination will be Na’ilah Amaru, who won a contest to do so.
For any Bernie supporters looking for an alternative, Green Party candidate Jill Stein just spoke at a Bernie-or-Bust rally near Philadelphia’s City Hall. When she took the stage to speak, the crowd held up signs saying things like “Bernie or Jill” and “Never Hillary.” A number of people I spoke with who showed up identified themselves as Bernie supporters, but said they plan to vote for Stein if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination.
Meanwhile, at the Bernie or Bust rally. pic.twitter.com/OZ686ZiA2I— Clare Foran (@ckmarie) July 26, 2016
“I know justice is supposed to be blind, but it can’t be blind to outcomes,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel on Tuesday. Criminal-justice reform, he said, requires hard data to diagnose the glaring inconsistencies and deficiencies of his state’s “bloated system.” Referencing the sweeping reforms of the 1990s, principally the 1994 crime bill, Wetzel cautioned against using qualitative information—such as notions of urban criminality, and recreational drugs being gateways to harder crimes—to make decisions. “Anecdote is what got us here,” he said.
“The only path forward is data,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney agreed. Kenney and Wetzel appeared together on an Atlantic panel moderated by Ron Brownstein and sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Data, metrics, and outcomes were the words that threaded together three sets of brief but expansive conversations.
There are currently about 7,000 people in Pennsylvania county jails, 60 percent of whom can’t make bail. Inmates remain in custody for 60 to 90 days on average, at a cost of $140 per day per person. Pennsylvania’s population of people under correctional control ranks third in the country. Wetzel attributed that partially to the fact that state laws allow for inmates to be jailed for almost twice as long as most states before facing trial. For example, some states cap their jail stays at 12 months, but Pennsylvania’s are capped at 23 months, according to Wetzel. “We’re adding a prison about every 18 months,” he continued. That has resulted in the incarceration rate in the state increasing by 24 percent since 2014, compared to neighboring New York, which has decreased its own by 20 percent over the same period.
Many of the incarcerated face other challenges. Some 50 percent of those who come into the state prison system don’t have a high-school diploma, and approximately 70 percent of those already in the system have an addiction. Kenney added that the local jail population includes 13 percent of inmates who have mental-health issues.
These overlapping complexities demand multi-pronged solutions at both ends of the system: diversion programs to identify those who do not belong in jail or prison and may be in need of social or other services instead of incarceration; and in-prison and post-release options to prepare returning citizens for life beyond the cell. Kenney said the city of Philadelphia is developing an algorithm to determine the level of risk a person might pose upon reentry into society which will be used to decide if they should be released. On that point, Wetzel added that “risk-assessment is looking at factors that predict criminality with a focus on putting you on a path to less criminality.”
Giving people a second chance through education and employment is the way to prevent crime, said Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams. “We’re getting a proper return on our investment,” he told those gathered, as he explained that investments in early childhood education and jobs in low-income communities, which often feed the corrections system, result in reduced expenses for the state and local governments. He explained a new diversion strategy that has resulted in 40 percent of all people who commit misdemeanors in Philadelphia being assigned to diversionary programs with the possibility of having their record expunged down the line.
The key, panelists emphasized, is using data to evaluate initiatives. “We should be measuring every criminal-justice public policy by outcomes,” Wetzel said. One oft-misused point has to do with the recidivism rate. For clarification on that, Brownstein turned to Anne Morrison Piehl, a professor of criminal justice at Rutgers University. “Most people who enter the system don’t recidivate,” she said. “It’s that some of them recidivate a lot once they enter.” And, over time, the chance of released inmates reoffending “becomes exponentially smaller.”
One of Monday night’s most memorable quotes was this, from First Lady Michelle Obama, as she described how ordinary people and public figures alike have sought to advance the nation:
That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters—two beautiful, intelligent, black young women—playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.
The White House imagery is powerful. And in a story today, The New York Times reminds readers that the executive mansion isn’t the only Washington, D.C., government building whose construction relied on slave labor. So did the construction of the U.S. Capitol and other buildings erected before the District abolished slavery. In 2012, an anthropologist from Central Washington University reported that slaves may have dug up the red sandstone used to construct the Smithsonian Castle, too.
According to the Architect of the Capitol, the “federal government relied heavily on enslaved labor to ensure the new capital city would be ready to receive Congress when it moved to Washington from Philadelphia in 1800.” Records from those days are “spotty,” Politifact wrote in 2009, but a congressional task force found that slaves “were likely involved in all aspects of construction” of the Capitol building: They mined sandstone and marble and worked as masons, carpenters, and painters; “slaves appear to have shouldered alone the grueling work of sawing logs and stones.” Once the White House and Capitol were complete, slaves worked inside those buildings, too.
Jesse Holland, the author of The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House, told the Times that most Americans haven’t considered these buildings’ origins. Here’s more from Holland on why they should:
“If you think about it, it would be pretty obvious: The White House is a neoclassical mansion that was built in the South during slavery, and a majority of the mansions that were built in the South during slavery used slaves,” Mr. Holland said in an interview.
“We as Americans build up a myth of our country, and a lot of times, we don’t want to look behind that myth,” he added. “For me, finding out the truth and acknowledging the participation of everyone in the construction of this country just makes our country richer.”
Indiana Governor Mike Pence is trying for a big promotion, to vice president—but to run, he had to give up a chance at reelection. (And with little time to spare—Donald Trump announced him as running mate just 70 minutes before the deadline to withdraw from the ballot as a gubernatorial candidate.)
Since the primary is already over, Indiana Republicans had to choose a man to run in his stead, and on Tuesday, they selected Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb. As Reid Wilson notes, “In choosing Holcomb, Indiana Republicans picked a relatively unknown insider over better-known elected officials. Holcomb was a top aide to former Governor Mitch Daniels and Senator Dan Coats and a former chairman of the state Republican Party.”
Those other contenders included Representative Susan Brooks, who represents suburban Indianapolis in D.C., and Representative Todd Rokita, whose district is northwest of the state capitol. The contest was not without drama, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whom Pence beat out to be Trump’s running mate, backed Rokita. Pence backed his deputy.
Even though Indiana is usually a reliably Republican state, Holcomb can’t expect a cakewalk to the governor’s mansion. Democrat John Gregg, who narrowly lost to Pence in 2012, is running again, and polling before Pence dropped out showed he was in a tight race.
For much of the primary season, the Democratic Party has been divided, as some voters coalesced behind Hillary Clinton and others backed Bernie Sanders. This week, Clinton and Sanders are trying to put that in the past.
But the discord keeps coming up. On the streets of Philadelphia, where the convention is taking place, voters marched the streets with Sanders signs. And on the opening night, delegates could be heard booing—and silently protesting—the party’s presumptive nominee. Sanders, who endorsed Clinton earlier this month, tried to brush over that as he again repeated his support of Clinton in his remarks on the convention stage.
Still, the work is not done and the party is striving to tighten the connection between Clinton and Sanders supporters. The Washington Post reports that the two camps are discussing giving Sanders a “larger role” at tonight’s proceedings. A possibility floated around, the Post writes, was having the Vermont senator formally nominate Clinton at a roll-call vote. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports on Twitter that that will not be in the case, however. Instead, the Vermont delegation will “ask for a unanimous vote for her.”
In 2008, Clinton halted the roll-call vote halfway through to unanimously nominate Barack Obama.
Earlier in the week, the Bernie Delegates Network floated the idea of challenging Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential pick at the convention. Any coordinated effort to do that now appears to have fizzled.
“The window of time has passed so we can’t formally make a nomination through the process for vice president,” Donna Smith of Progressive Democrats of America said during a press conference on Tuesday. Smith added: “That does not mean there won’t be some ability to take action on the floor when the roll-call vote is taken.”
When pressed, network organizers did not seem able to name any other formal effort to nominate an alternative VP or convene other protests on the floor by Sanders supporters.
Norman Solomon, the coordinator of the network, said that while “there’s been discourse for weeks” about what to do at the convention, “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The event seemed to signal that while there are still some Sanders supporters who remain deeply unhappy with the pressure—now coming even from Sanders himself—to rally around Hillary Clinton, that does not mean any kind of organized protest at the convention will take place.
On Monday, Bernie Sanders delivered a clear message to his supporters at the convention: It’s time to unite behind Hillary Clinton. The senator also sent out a note to delegates asking them not to participate in protests at the event. The delegates network sent out a survey gauging interest in protest before that message went out, but Solomon said the network had not surveyed delegates after Sanders’s call for calm.
For now, the resistance movement does not appear to be very organized, but some delegates are still angry and frustrated. “Listening to his remarks last night, I couldn’t stop crying,” Smith said. “It was was a feeling of a moment in history past that I may not see again in my lifetime, someone who truly represented the progressive agenda.”
Democrats spotlighted a quartet of their party’s biggest stars on night one in Philadelphia—Cory Booker, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.
Night two, however, looks like it will belong to one man alone: Bill Clinton. The former president and potential first husband will have the 10 p.m. hour on Tuesday night to himself, with the exception of brief remarks from Meryl Streep and a performance from Alicia Keys. If nothing else, the schedule released Tuesday morning suggests Clinton will be making a fairly lengthy speech. This will be his 10th address to a Democratic convention, and like most of his others, it is highly anticipated. Can he repeat his performance from four years ago, when Clinton turned “explainer-in-chief” and delivered the most well-received defense of President Obama’s record at the convention in Charlotte? Clinton will turn 70 next month, and he has appeared thinner, quieter, and just a bit off his game at a number of campaign events he has held for his wife over the last year.
How well the former president will be received in the convention hall is another question mark. Clinton is beloved by Democrats who came of age in he 1980s and 90s, but the shift leftward of younger Democrats, and in particular stalwart supporters of Bernie Sanders, has damaged his legacy on issues like trade and criminal justice. Simply put, if Sanders supporters in the arena are willing to jeer or shout over Warren and even their own candidate, the welcome for Clinton could get ugly.
Before the former president speaks, viewers will hear testimonials from non-politicians who have worked with Hillary Clinton over the years, as well as bigger names like former Attorney General Eric Holder, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, and Senators Barbara Boxer and Amy Klobuchar. Aside from Streep, other celebrities scheduled to speak include Lena Dunham and America Ferrera.
The biggest drama might come earlier in the day, however, when the convention formally nominates Clinton for president. This could be the last big stand for Sanders supporters, and it will be interesting to see whether the Vermont senator makes an appearance on the floor in a show of party unity—as Clinton did for Obama eight years ago—or whether the entire roll call of states takes place without interruption to give Sanders delegates their due.
What influence will minority voters have in November?
“I think the growing racial and ethnic diversity of the electorate is the most important long term trend changing the electorate over time,” said Karlyn Bowman, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, at The Atlantic’s morning briefing in Philadelphia on Tuesday. “If minorities could be as much as 30 percent of the electorate today ... that’s an enormous plus for the Democrats, so demography favors the Democrats at this point.”
According to Bowman, the number stood at 27 percent four years ago and could see an uptick this year. Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, agreed. “The share of minority voters tends to go up by a couple of percentage points each presidential cycle,” he said. “And at the same time, the white vote goes down by two points.”
Republicans called for greater minority outreach in their autopsy report on the 2012 presidential election, but have hit challenges with Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric. With the NALEO Educational Fund’s projection that Latino turnout will increase by 17 percent in November, it looks like Democrats, not Republicans, have more to gain from demographic changes.
As Teixeira noted, “the key thing driving these changes is not turnout patterns, it’s population change.”
One candidate’s fall from grace is another’s fundraising opportunity.
The Associated Press reports that in the days since emails from Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other Democratic National Committee officials were made public—and Wasserman Schultz faced pressure to resign over their contents—her congressional primary opponent has made campaign money off the controversy.
It probably doesn’t hurt that her adversary, the lawyer Tim Canova, has the backing of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who repeatedly questioned Wasserman Schultz’s leadership as DNC chair throughout the Democratic primary. Sanders endorsed Canova, who once served in a Sanders economic-advisory group, in May and has helped with his fundraising. “His views are much closer to mine than … to Wasserman Schultz’s,” Sanders told CNN in May.
The AP now reports that Canova took in roughly $100,000 through social-media solicitations “since the scandal erupted, all without leaving south Florida or picking up a phone to dial for dollars.” That number comes from Canova himself; it can’t be independently verified until he files the requisite paperwork with the Federal Election Commission. Here’s more from the AP:
Call it viral fundraising.
It’s a down-ballot twist on how Bernie Sanders, who has endorsed Canova, was able to raise more than $235 million during his primary race against the far more politically connected—and initially better-funded—Hillary Clinton.
“In some ways it feels like we’ve won the lottery,” Canova said. “There’s been a natural donor base for someone willing to take on a person with a national profile who is seen as a failed leader.”
As Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton join forces to beat Donald Trump in November, questions still linger about the effect of the presidential race down the ballot.
Democrats hope to retake the Senate in the general election—and some are confident they can, among them Delaware Senator Chris Coons. During The Atlantic’s morning briefing in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Coons name dropped Katie McGinty, who is running against Senator Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania. Vice President Joe Biden has joined McGinty on the campaign trail. Coons said Biden had played an instrumental role, along with other figures like President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine. “If I were running in Pennsylvania, I’d want Joe Biden next to me every day,” Coons siad. “If I were campaigning in Ohio or campaigning in Illinois or campaigning in Wisconsin, having all the different resources we have in terms of folks who have a national profile or deep experience … I’m optimistic.”
The U.S. House might prove a more difficult challenge, however.
Still, Representative Ben Ray Luján, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is hopeful, citing the surge of Donald Trump on the Republican side. “Democrats are on offense this year. I’m optimistic about where we are. The 11 front-liners that we have this year have been doing very well,” Luján said, adding that he couldn’t make any predictions.
Realistically, Democrats can look to take between five and 15 House seats, according to David Wasserman, House editor for The Cook Political Report.
With Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as Clinton’s running mate, panel members—including House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Joseph Crowley—suggested the party is on the upswing.