If you thought Bernie Sanders’ supporters were going to go quietly into that good night in support of Hillary Clinton…think again.
Bitterly disappointed over coming up short in the campaign and furious over the news that the DNC had worked to tilt the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton; Bernie Sanders’ supporters erupted during the early stages of the DNC convention.
Outside the arena Sanders supporters braved the sweltering heat to stage a protest march over the unfair way their campaign had been treated by the DNC.
Inside the arena unruly Sanders delegates threatened to disrupt the tightly choreographed program that was supposed to paint a picture of party unity. Things got so bad early in the day that Sanders’ delegates booed Sanders himself when he tried to assuage their anger and urged them to unite behind Hillary Clinton. Sanders told the Clinton campaign that he really could not predict what his supporters would do once the prime time cameras started rolling.
Bernie Sanders had sparked a movement that was now threatening to burn down the house.
During the opening moments of the convention the tension in the air was palpable. But as the evening wore on the tension seemed to dissipate.
One of the most consequential moments of the evening, perhaps in the whole Democratic campaign moving forward, came from avid Sanders supporter Sarah Silverman. Silverman was explaining how she had fiercely supported Sanders from the beginning but now that Hillary had won the nomination she would throw her support behind the Democratic nominee. After being booed for her remarks by a group of recalcitrant Sanders supporters in the California delegation, Silverman looked right at them and said in a calming tone: “You’re being ridiculous.” The remark quieted the crowd and seemed to set the tone that it was time to move on.
Bernie Sanders closed the evening. He was greeted with a raucous standing ovation that seemed to go on forever. When Sanders was finally able to be heard above the din he thanked his supporters for being a part of a revolution that pulled the Democratic Party farther to the left than any time in its history. Tears flowed throughout the arena as Sanders went into great detail on the policies and principles that he would continue to champion. Finally, he listed all the reasons why Hillary Clinton should be the nation’s next President. And unlike Ted Cruz, Sanders closed with a full throated endorsement of his opponent. The Clinton campaign could not have asked for anything more.
As good as Sanders was, the night belonged to Michelle Obama. Poised, glamorous, intelligent and aspirational, the First Lady gave a commanding performance that electrified the audience. One of her most powerful moments came when she made the case as to why she trusted Hillary Clinton to be the caretaker for her daughters’ future.
Speaking about her daughters growing up in the White House she recalled watching them go off to school “in those big black SUVs with those big guys carrying all those guns. I realized our time in the White House would form the foundation for who they would become, and how we managed this experience could truly make or break them…This election, every election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of our lives. I am here tonight because there is only one person that I trust with that responsibility…only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be President of the United States. And that is our friend Hillary Clinton.”
As the week goes on there are certain to be a few more skirmishes between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns. After all when you have worked so tirelessly for so long for a cause, it is hard to suddenly throw your allegiance behind the other side. One such occasion will probably occur when the candidates’ names are placed into nomination.
Sanders could have moved that Clinton be awarded the nomination by acclamation. Hillary Clinton took that path to bring a quiet end to her heated contest with Barak Obama. But Sanders wants the delegates in the states he won to have their voices heard. So there will be a full roll call vote. Emotions will no doubt be raw as the Sanders Campaign draws to an official close.
Overall it was a good day for the Clinton Campaign. What started off as a very rocky day for the Democrats ended on a very high note.