Ask any Democrat in Washington, “Walls don’t work”, maybe not but it is probably a good thing that they put up an 8 feet high fence that stretches four miles long around their convention. Because at last count there were some 20,000 very upset Sanders Supporters that were planning on raising Hell at their convention this week.
Already the dingy head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, has submitted her resignation over the most recent flap contained in hacked emails, and Wiki-leaks has promised more to come that show a concerted effort on the part of the establishment to freeze out Sanders from the nomination. In fact in a statement over the weekend, the Wiki-leaks founder said that we haven’t seen anything yet and promised more emails that would sink Hillary Clinton’s chances for election in November.
All this came as the Democrats begin Day One of their convention Monday still facing the potential for rowdy protests from Bernie Sanders’ delegates and supporters. Sanders supporters were angry over leaked emails that show the Florida congresswoman and her team blasting Sanders and discussing ways to undermine him, and have promised protests and demonstration aimed at disrupting the convention. While Debbie’s resignation could calm that storm, the liberal wing still appears intent on protesting over other grievances including Clinton, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, picking Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia as her running mate.
Norman Solomon, a Sanders delegate from California, said Sunday that Clinton picking a centrist like Kaine is an “assault” on the progressive agenda. He said the roughly 1,250 Sanders delegates connected to his Bernie Delegates Network are considering walking out during the Virginia senator’s expected acceptance speech at the Wells Fargo Center, and they are even looking into contesting his nomination. Clearly things are not as wonderful in the liberal party as the news media would have you believe.
Solomon said their response “reflects anger and disappointment” over Clinton and like-minded Washington Democrats’ control over the party. “We don’t know exactly what to expect” on the convention floor, Solomon also said. The uncertainty and rancor on several fronts puts the Democrats in a similar position as the Republicans when they entered their convention a week ago looking to soothe tensions between their presidential nominee and those who backed her primary rivals.
But frankly, the clashes on the Democratic side have already outmatched last week’s fireworks in Cleveland, with Wasserman Schultz’ resignation standing as a stunning development on convention eve. The political spectacle already has distracted from the historic convention where Clinton is set to become the first female presidential nominee of a major party.
As a result of the scandal, Wasserman Schultz has been largely sidelined from the convention — though she will open and close it — Sanders is set to speak Monday. In a written statement, he praised the DNC chairwoman for stepping down. “Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party. While she deserves thanks for her years of service, the party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people. The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race,” he said.
The resignation comes after WikiLeaks on Thursday released roughly 20,000 DNC emails, with more revelations emerging Sunday about Wasserman Schultz criticizing the Vermont senator to staffers. “He isn’t going to be president,” she wrote in one May 21 email, also saying that Sanders vowing at the time to replace her as chairwoman was a “silly story.” But I guess it was not so silly based on the weekend’s events.
In a major effort at damage control, Clinton chief strategist Joel Benenson, on Sunday attempted to defend the fairness of the primary elections and said the DNC would conduct a full review of the emails. He said people should not jump to conclusions. After all, you should never believe what you see with your own eyes if you’re a Democrat and always wait for the party leadership to tell you what to believe and to say because you’re all idiots and incapable of making up your own minds.
“The DNC’s impact in these things is minimal compared to the results. What candidates and campaigns spend and do on the ground, talking to voters day in and day out, that’s what determines who wins,” he said. Not to mention the Super Delegates that vote exactly the way that party officials tell them too. After all, Bernie had a 1200 delegate shortfall before the first vote was cast. Solomon suggested Sunday that the Sanders delegates’ frustration goes beyond the Kaine pick to include convention rules, climate change and the party platform, which they think fails to include enough of Sanders’ hard-fought progressive agenda.
Starting on Sunday, the convention saw several large protests that took place near City Hall, in nearly 100-degree temperatures and under the watchful eye of city police officers. “A lot of Democratic supporters labeled Bernie Sanders supporters conspiracy theorists. The WikiLeaks confirms what we thought all along,” said Perry Mitchell, a 32-year-old Maryland who came to Philadelphia to participate in protests.
Many of the early protests focus on concerns about clean energy. “You see both parties are controlled by the oil and gas industry; those are the big donors,” said Wendy Brawer a protester from New York City. “But in a movement, you still have to do something to create change. Changing your lifestyle means you’re part of the solution. People have to use less.”
It remains to be seen how the rest of the week plays out, but Mrs. Clinton is smack in the middle of the biggest scandal to hit her since Bill Clinton got caught lying to both congress and the American people about not having sex with Monica Lewinsky. But hey, as the presumptive nominee would probably say, “at this point what does it matter?”
Fox News and the Associated Press contributed to this story.
©2016 R. L. Grimes