Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hillary News & Views, 07.27.16: It's official! Roll call! We have a nominee!

Breaking the next-to-last glass ceiling

Guest post by rugbymom

Last night was the night we’ve been waiting and working for over the past fifteen months.
I could just stop there, and we could just keep cheering for the next 24 hours. (Pause for cheering and lifting of glasses, or at this hour, more likely coffee mugs.)
I won’t attempt a complete live-blog of the entire day. There were front page live-blogs, and if you want to see the whole thing, has it archived in full, and many of the speeches are on YouTube.
Day 2 of the Convention opened with multiple acknowledgements of the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. An ASL sign interpreter stood by the podium; the Pledge of Allegiance was led by a wheelchair-user; the National Anthem was sung by a legally blind man. Former IA Sen. Tom Harkin outlined the changes that are still needed (and that Clinton fully supports) to integrate people with disabilities fully into our communities and workplaces, such as eliminating the sub-minimum “sheltered workshop” wage. Harkin, who learned sign language growing up with a deaf brother, then taught the sign for “America:” interlaced fingers, moving in a circle. (When he demonstrated it, before giving its meaning, I thought it might signify “stronger together.”)
Then it was on to the formal nominating process. (I don’t know how the order was decided.) Sanders was nominated by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and seconded by Paul Feeney, IBEW member and Massachusetts State Director for the Sanders campaign and Shyla Nelson, delegate from VT. Clinton was then nominated by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (MD), who invoked the Founding Mothers (Abigail Adams, actually) warning their husbands, “Do not forget the ladies, or we will foment our own revolution.” She was seconded by the great Rep. John Lewis (GA-05), who vowed that we would ensure that the “forces that want to take us back fifty years, and roll back the progress we have made under Democratic leadership.” “We need to go to the polls and vote,” he said, “like we never ever voted before.”    
The second “seconding” speech for Clinton was by Na’ilah Amaru, an Iraq veteran and delegate from New York. She recounted being born in a dirt-floor hut (country unspecified), and adopted by a American lesbian couple. She saw Clinton on TV when she was 11, and was inspired by her ever since.
DNC Secretary Stephanie Rawlings-Blake presided over the roll call vote. It proceeded alphabetically, with the usual speeches touting the achievements and beauty of each state. Most states divided the microphone time, between a man and a woman, people of different ethnic backgrounds, people from age 17 to age 102, people from both campaigns. Many of the speakers praised Sanders for his contributions to the progressive discourse. Many also highlighted their state’s contribution to women’s rights, from hosting the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, to ratifying the woman suffrage amendment, to electing the first woman governor, to electing the first woman to Congress 100 years ago. C-Span kept a cumulative count on the screen; I don’t know if the delegates had one on the big screen behind the speakers. Per C-Span, Hillary passed the magic number (2,383) when South Dakota announced their 15 delegates. Neither the presiding Secretary nor the assembled delegates took any notice of it, however. (That’s different from 2008, when the magical moment happened when New York’s delegates who put Obama over the top.)
As was rumored, Vermont passed over its turn in the rotation. At the very end, the Secretary again called on Vermont. The spokesperson gave their count (22 Sanders, 4 Clinton). She then turned the mic over to Bernie. As Clinton did in 2008, he then moved “in the spirit of unity” that while the votes would be recorded, Clinton be nominated by acclamation. That motion passed on a voice vote, although not without opposition.                         
The final delegate count was 2842 for Clinton, 1865 for Sanders, and 56 abstentions or non-votes. Reportedly, a small group — perhaps several dozen — of Sanders delegates walked out of the Convention following the roll call to hold a sit-in, in the middle of the media tent, a clever way to get maximum media coverage, although it wasn’t clear what their message was.
I won’t try to summarize all of the speeches that followed the roll call. (Some delegates also took advantage of the end of the roll call to go out for something to eat, or a rest.) They followed the now-familiar pattern: a video highlighting some theme, followed by speakers reinforcing it. These segments have somewhat of a check-all-the-boxes feel, appealing to a variety of discreet constituencies or interest groups:
  • Hillary’s lifetime commitment to the well-being of children;
  • Nancy Pelosi and the (Democratic only?) women in Congress,
  • Clinton’s life-long work on racial justice and criminal justice reform; the “Mothers of the Movement.”
  • Trump’s positions on women’s bodies and abortion, countered by Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood. Richards mentioned that Tim Kaine also has championed women's rights for years, a reassuring touch, and added a great line: “We are not just electing a woman President, but electing this woman President.”
  • Clinton’s role on and following 9/11, especially helping first responders get health care; an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald who was badly burned ion 9/11 recounted how Clinton not only visited her in the hospital, but kept in touch with her for years afterward during her long recovery and beyond. (This is a theme we’ve heard from a number of speakers: Hillary meets someone once, and then follows up with encouraging notes, more visits, mentoring.)
  • The 1990s battle for universal health insurance (presented by Howard Dean)
  • Clinton’s service as Secretary of State, negotiating a cease-fire in Gaza,  working with Obama to find a way through the gridlock at the Climate Change conference, beginning the sanctions-plus-negotiations that led to the deal with Iran, and bringing human trafficking onto both the international and US domestic agenda. The last issue was highlighted by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN), and by trafficking victim and advocate Ima Matul, who had been brought from Indonesia to LA at age 17 with the promise of a job as a nanny. Julia Azari at 538 made this comment:
Klobuchar’s opening bit started with “security” in a way that made us think we might be hearing about traditional concepts of security, or what political scientists refer to as “state security.” This refers to stuff like organized violence generally committed against countries: terrorism and war.  But then she pivoted to a different form of security, talking about human trafficking and the personal safety of individuals – what political scientists sometimes refer to as “human security.”
This might seem like an arcane academic distinction, but in the context of a Clinton candidacy, it has larger significance: it brings together the notion of national security with more conventionally feminine, human issues. These themes – that Hillary has a human and personal touch in her work as well as a tough and analytical approach – have been on display quite a bit this evening.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who has been fundraising and campaigning for Clinton all year, reinforced that America needs a leader with the  experience and judgment to keep America strong, secure, and safe, and that leader is Hillary.
Then it was time for the main event, Bill Clinton’s speech. (The hall filled up again, as people who had left to rest, eat, drink, or give interviews returned.) It was Bill at his folksy (long-winded, sometimes off-script) best, recounting how he met Hillary in 1971, and all the things she’d done as a “change-maker” since that day. (He managed to mention as many states as possible, each delegation cheering — this man doesn’t miss an opportunity.) The full video is widely available. A few real-time reactions:
Harry Enten 10:36 PM One of the overarching themes of Clinton’s speech so far is to show that his wife cares about people. Bill is trying to address one of Hillary’s chief weaknesses: In a May Gallup poll, 55 percent of Americans said Hillary Clinton didn’t care about people like them. A main job of a convention is to repair vulnerabilities, and Clinton is trying to do that right now.
In one memorable section, Clinton bluntly contrasted the “real Hillary” with the one made up by the Republicans and especially by Trump:
He kept returning to his theme: “She is still the best darn change-maker I have ever known.” In other words, the Clintons have the political smarts to respond to the clear indications that millions of Americans are looking for change (although not all agree on what needs to change and how), and while stressing the accomplishments of the Obama Administration, they are portraying her as both a radical pick (the first woman) and a life-long activist. 
After Bill Clinton (why? it felt anti-climactic, but maybe I was just tired) we had a collage video of “Fight Song,” actress Meryl Streep again emphasizing the historic nature of the first woman President, and singer Alicia Keys. Then (after I turned it off and went to bed), Hillary appeared by video from New York to thank the delegates:
Let’s end as a number of the speakers did: The Convention isn’t the end of the journey; it’s one step along the way. From here to November, there is work to be done to win, not only the White House but also Congress and state races, and we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for to do it. Whether it’s money, or time, or a spare room for a volunteer, or a plate of cookies for canvassers, or sharing things on social media, everyone can do something — probably more than we think we’re capable of. (And action is the best antidote to nervous fretting, in my experience.) I won’t go as far as Al Franken jokingly telling people to ignore their jobs and their families to campaign, but each of us should be thinking of what more we can do, and then do it.
(originally posted at Daily Kos)

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