First Days for the DNC
© McGraw-Hill Education/Jill Braaten.
Patriotic participants joined together for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

First Days for the DNC

Just as the sun was setting on the Republican convention,  the Democrats headed for Philadelphia for their own gathering. While many anticipated a fractious GOP convention, the DNC also got off to a chaotic start, before coming together to hear rousing speeches by several prominent Democrats.


Another Email Controversy

Just weeks after the FBI announced that it would not pursue a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server during her tenure as Secretary of State link, the Democratic Party is plagued with another email scandal. This one involves 20,000 internal emails within the Democratic National Committee leaked on the eve of the convention. Unlike the other scandal, this involves evidence that members of the Democratic Party were not objective towards Vermont senator Bernie Sanders during this year’s primary race. As a result, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned before the start of this week’s convention event.

Bernie Supporters Feel Burned 

Disappointed that their candidate did not win the nomination, and fueled by the news of the recent email leak, supporters of Bernie Sanders have responded in protest. First, erupting into a chorus of boos and jeers and then sitting quietly with tape across their mouths reading, “Silenced by DNC.” In an effort to smooth things over with his disgruntled supporters, Sanders reportedly met with individual state delegations the following morning. Senator Elizabeth Warren attempted to appeal to the Sanders crowd by acknowledging his efforts towards showing that economic systems remain “rigged in favor of those in power.”

Speakers and Their Speeches

Being chosen as a speaker one’s party’s political convention is a considered a big honor. Standout among the Congresspersons, governors and national organization leaders were New Jersey Congressman Cory Booker, Massachusetts governor Joe Kennedy III (Robert Kennedy’s grandson), Iraq War Veteran and House Representative Tammy Duckworth. The convention is also a place where celebrities and other notable figures. In introducing singer/songwriter Paul Simon, comedian Sarah Silverman called Sanders supports “ridiculous” in an attempt to quiet the group. Alicia Keys also performed. Actresses Lena Dunham and America Ferrara were there to appeal to a young and ethnic audience.

Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, spoke about meeting his wife in law school and her influence on him. One of the most praised speeches delivered on the convention’s first night was given by First Lady, Michelle Obama. On the next to last night of the convention, other big names for the Democratic Party stepped to the podium, including Vice President Biden, Hillary’s running mate Tim Kaine, and President Barack Obama. The current vice president spent some of his time challenging Donald Trump’s qualifications to be president. Mr. Kaine also spent time attacking the Republican nominee. President Obama, however, described his experiences serving in the White House and explained his optimism for America–in contrast to Trump’s description of America’s current problems. Obama also argued that Hillary Clinton was unquestioningly qualified to continue the work and the progress made by his administration since 2008.

The Streets of Philadelphia

The last time the City of Brotherly Love hosted a convention (the RNC, in 2000), more than 400 arrests were made, making it one of the most contentious conventions in history (along with the 1968 DNC). So far this year, the police are dealing more with well-organized activist groups wishing to be arrested. The closest things to formal arrests by police have been around 50 members of a protest group called Democracy Spring who were taken into custody and issued disorderly conduct citations.

Dig Deeper Did you watch any of the Democratic National Convention? If so, what were your impressions? Choose an election year of the past and do some research, noting who was the candidate and notable speakers, where it was held, and at least one other newsworthy thing that happened.

Lia Eastep


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