Dispatches From Philadelphia: Day 2

Anthony Behar/Sipa via AP Images

Bernie Sanders addresses delegates on the first day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA, on July 25, 2016.

Education Reform Democrats Look Ahead to Life After Obama

Lately on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton has been talking about how she wants to end the “so-called education wars.” The Democratic presidential nominee wants to see the factionalism among education groups end and instead see new coalitions form to advance policies that all can agree on. Clinton took this message on the road to the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers conferences earlier this month, and her campaign proffered another education olive branch to the Democrats for Education Reform on Monday in downtown Philadelphia.

Virtually every speaker lauded President Obama’s education legacy, highlighting his support for charter schools and test-based accountability at the organization’s day-long Democratic National Convention forum. Shavar Jeffries, the president of Democrats for Education Reform, said he recognized that many have been feeling anxious and unsure about whether Obama’s successor will be as friendly toward their political agenda as he was. Read More.



The Sighted and the Blinkered

There comes a time in the life of all revolutions when circumstance erodes solidarity, when cracks, splits, and factions emerge. As anyone who’s been watching the Democratic Convention can attest, that time has come to the Sanders Revolution. The factions this time around aren’t Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. They’re more like the Realos (realists) and Fundis (fundamentalists) who fought each other in Germany’s Green Party once the party began to win some power. That’s not a bad way to describe the two wings of Sandersism, though the Sighted and the Blinkered might do as well.

The circumstance that most erodes solidarity in a successful revolution is qualified success, which invariably brings with it some power and some compromise. By staying in the race to press for changes to the Democratic Party’s platform and rules—and more importantly, some of its core beliefs—Bernie Sanders both exercised and won power. Read More.



Now Comes the Hard Part

To appreciate the surprising success of opening night at the Democratic National Convention, it helps to appreciate the multiple, overlapping pieces of theater being staged. On one level, party leaders were speaking to the country—to the national audience beyond the hall—drawing the contrast between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and not incidentally the contrast between the two parties.

On that level, Monday night came off well. The Democrats showed that they can behave like grown-ups. They demonstrated how grown-ups deal with the difficult challenge of party unity when the candidate who won the hearts of the party base was a near miss. They demonstrated that they are serious about the multiple challenges afflicting the country in a way that Donald Trump is not. Read More.



Latinos Remain Skeptical of Democrats' Immigration Policy

Hundreds of immigration activists of all races and ages chanted “¿Cuándo?¡Ahora!” or “When? Now!” as they began walking in the sweltering mid-summer heat. They had come together in a predominantly Latino neighborhood in South Philadelphia near the site of the Democratic National Convention for the nearly two-mile march north toward Philadelphia City Hall to call for an end of the federal deportations that are currently tearing families apart.

The backlash against Donald Trump’s fear-mongering surrounding Mexican immigrants was swift, but Latinos and their allies haven’t necessarily cozied up to the Democrats just yet. President Barack Obama has presided over an unprecedented era of deportations. Philadelphia immigrant activists and other advocates from around country fear that the deportations will continue under a President Hillary Clinton and Vice President Tim Kaine. Read More.



'You're Being Ridiculous'

Bernie Sanders, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, and others gave inspiring speeches at the Democratic Party's convention on Monday evening, but actress and comedian Sarah Silverman delivered the night's best one-liner, an ad-lib from her prepared remarks: “To the Bernie-or-bust people, you're being ridiculous.”

Sanders is backed by 1,893 delegates at the convention compared with 2,814 pledged to Hillary Clinton. Silverman was speaking to the handful of Sanders delegates—perhaps 200 at most—who refuse to accept the reality that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, and that either she or Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. They disrupted Silverman's address by booing when she mentioned Clinton's name and shouting “Bernie,” making it difficult for her to be heard in the conventional hall and on TV. Read More.

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