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By Robert A. Vella

Amid roiling controversies and sagging poll numbers, the Democratic National Convention kicked off today in Philadelphia – a city that was one of the bedrocks of American democracy.  But, that democracy is now under siege from all sides;  and, the remaining political party left to defend it can’t decide whether or not it wants to.  This clash between establishment pragmatism and populist idealism means that Democrats of both persuasions won’t be sharing many lighthearted meals of cheesesteaks this week, either the Velveeta or provolone versions.

Although Bernie Sanders is now calling for party unity as necessary to defeat Donald Trump in November, many of his supporters are balking (see:  Sanders Booed by Own Delegates for Urging Support for Clinton).  The ideological divide inside the Democratic Party expressed by this sentiment has been building for many years and has been exacerbated by several recent developments.  However, the fundamental dispute centers on the backlash against the corporatist and technocratic policies of the Democratic Party leadership.  It’s not that the leadership is unsympathetic towards these concerns, but they’re trying to have it both ways by walking an incredibly fine and precarious line between the two opposing forces.  The question is, can it be done?

From BloombergSanders Backers See DNC Chairwoman’s Exit as Too Little, Too Late:

Despite weeks of careful negotiations and compromises between the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns, Democrats will begin their national convention in state of disarray fueled by the leaked e-mails that led to the abrupt resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

For the Sanders camp, which has accused the party chairwoman of being a divisive and biased force for several weeks, her departure is welcome news. But for the Vermont senator’s supporters—who want to transform the party’s structure, culture, and policies—the news is too little, too late. The high emotions of the primary campaign had been abating, but the controversy now threatens to fan the embers back into a serious conflagration.

Nina Turner, a Sanders surrogate and former Ohio state senator, said the DNC and the Clinton campaign will have to address the controversy head-on if they want to achieve real party unity during the convention, instead of a “superficial” television moment.

“Are they sorry they got caught or are they sorry that it happened?” Turner said.

From PoliticoKaine comes out against Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal:

Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, has gone on record saying he cannot support the Trans-Pacific Partnership in its current form— a stance calculated to make him more appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders who revile the deal.

Kaine spokeswoman Amy Dudley said Saturday that the Virginia Democrat shared his negative views on the trade deal with Clinton this week, confirming a report by The Washington Post. “He agreed with her judgment that it fell short” when it came to protecting wages and national security, a Clinton aide reportedly told the newspaper.

Kaine had never taken a formal position on the pact, but as recently as Thursday told reporters he saw much in the agreement that he liked, while continuing to express concerns about other provisions, including the handling of investment disputes.

His decision to oppose the agreement deals another blow to President Barack Obama’s hopes of winning approval of the deal from Congress this year. It adds to the White House’s difficulty of winning approval in the Senate because of weakening Republican support for the pact. However, only 50 votes are needed for TPP approval, in contrast to the 60 votes that were needed to give Obama the “fast track” trade promotion authority to finish the TPP.

Kaine was just one of 13 Senate Democrats who voted last year for fast track authority. The legislation allows the White House to submit trade deals to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote, without any amendments, giving Japan and the 10 other countries involved in the pact some assurance it will be approved.

From The New York TimesDismayed by Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg Will Endorse Hillary Clinton:

Michael R. Bloomberg, who bypassed his own run for the presidency this election cycle, will endorse Hillary Clinton in a prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention and make the case for Mrs. Clinton as the best choice for moderate voters in 2016, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg said.

The news is an unexpected move from Mr. Bloomberg, who has not been a member of the Democratic Party since 2000; was elected the mayor of New York City as a Republican; and later became an independent.

But it reflects Mr. Bloomberg’s increasing dismay about the rise of Donald J. Trump and a determination to see that the Republican nominee is defeated.

Mrs. Clinton is seeking to reach out to middle-of-the-road swing voters and even moderate Republicans uneasy about Mr. Trump. Polls show that significant numbers of Republicans remain wary of Mr. Trump, and question his fitness for the presidency.

[…]

In the past, Mr. Bloomberg has rebuked Democrats for attacking Wall Street — a part of his record that may sit uneasily with liberal Democrats, and especially with the supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont who are already smarting from his defeat.

Further reading:

Bernie Sanders Backers March Against Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia

Al Gore, a Democratic Party super-delegate and former U.S. Vice President, will not attend his party’s national convention

Burning Issues: The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Climate Change – “Our trade policies stand to undermine the very real progress we’re making on climate change,” warns Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, in this Burning Issues video.

CNN poll: Trump leads Clinton after RNC – Donald Trump comes out of his convention ahead of Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House, topping her 44% to 39% in a four-way matchup including Gary Johnson (9%) and Jill Stein (3%) and by three points in a two-way head-to-head, 48% to 45%.

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12 thoughts on “No Cheesesteaks for Dems in Philly today

    • A lot can happen between now and November, so anything is still possible; but, your assessment has merit. I just don’t see how a status quo, anti-Trump message is going to inspire voters. Is the Democratic Party leadership that incompetent, or is there something else going on?

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  1. I don’t know. I find the most vocal former Sanders to be working against their own interests. I find them somewhat unable to accept the idea they can not have everything they want, that the world won’t simply give it to them because they demand it, so they are going to take their ball and either go home or give it to the other team. However having said that, I read a lot from other Sanders supporters who are more understanding, and know this is a long term fight for change. It will take time to slowly shift things towards the ideal, but it will never be at the Idea, so they are willing to deal with it on that level. Many say they will vote for Hillary to make the changes start. I hope they can convince their fellows that if they don’t take part of the loaf they got, they will lose all the bread to Trump. He will destroy all they worked for. Hugs

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    • That message, urging people to maintain the status quo by supporting the lesser of two evils, is neither inspirational nor conducive to generating the support from progressives it seeks.

      If the Democratic Party thinks it can win by demonizing Trump, then its strategy would be better served by appealing to swing voters and moderate Republicans who are afraid of a Trump presidency.

      Proof of this demographic dynamic lays in the primary election results. Progressives and younger voters rejected that centrist message offered by Hillary quite resoundingly; and, little has changed since.

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      • The DNC and Hillary have shot themselves through the gonads by rigging the primary elections in favor of Hillary. Their behavior is anti-American, anti-democratic, and shameful. All other arguments are now off the table. The DNC has given the Presidency to Trump. If the DNC was SO confident in Hillary winning its election, then why not simply let her run against Bernie without illegal. Nazi-like, interference? They didn’t, and she didn’t remotely win honestly. Fuck them, and fuck her. I will ONLY vote for her because she is SLIGHTLY less vile than Trump, though I can now easily see them running on the same ticket. Hillary’s choice of running mate is an insult to democracy and an even greater insult to progressives. Fuck her. She’s lost ALL of my respect. Win honestly, or don’t win at all, you cheating fucking bitch. Fuck you. You and your stupid ass party have just handed America to Donald Trump. FUCK YOU!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Robert. I think you misinterpreted what I said. I said that some of the Sanders supports realize you can not suddenly go from point a , which is where we are today , to point z, which is the utopia they would like. The fact is like the alphabet there will be steps and stages to get from A to Z. Hillary has already moved down the letters some, the DNC moved to accommodate Sanders and his supporters. However there is a limit to how many moves can be done at one time. It is not voting for the lesser evil to say with certainty that Trump and his people will not only not move as Hillery and the DNC did, they will reverse the steps. They will move the starting point farther from the goal. So yes they ( Sanders supporters ) should take the part of the loaf they have managed to secure and not lose what they gained to those who will take it from them.

        I don’t see what is simply telling the truth as demonizing trump. He himself has said what he thinks and will do. His people have said it. Being a centrist is closer to the Sanders goal than having a rabid self interest in making sure only he and his get everything leaving the rest in a worse turmoil than it is now. I also don’t see a centrist position as that bad, most of us in the country are centralist, we just have a small waver point to either the left or the right. The problem with Trump is his is not a slight waver, it is a hard turn and a detour through a wasteland of regressive policies.

        Again, it takes steps to climb the mountain, it takes steps to start the journey. You can’t just snap your fingers and go from New York to Florida. Primaries are not a good place to judge where the country is at. The reason for this is that the primaries in most places are voted on by only the people in the party and that drives the most driven fringe in both parties to have more power and influence than they have in the general election where everyone gets to vote either way. That is why you and Sanders supporters argue for open primaries, something I tend to disagree with. You have heard the phrase “pivot to the middle” used and that is what happens normally. However while Hillary is willing to pivot to left of center, Trump is going very hard right. So the choice is simple to me if you want to move progressive , you start this election from Hillary and then next election move to someone even a bit more to the progressive side, and then the next one a bit more and so on. Be well. Hugs

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        • Your rationale makes good sense, but in this election I’m afraid passions will prevail.

          For me personally, I simply cannot vote for Hillary because she is a neoliberal corporatist at heart and will do or say anything to get elected. That alone violates my ethical and ideological principles at their very core.

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  2. The DNC may have tried to hamper Sanders some, but the fact is they did not cost him the nomination. He got a lot less votes and therefore less delegates. Every instance of where they thought he was “robbed” of chances and delegates turned out to be through the lack of his people being registered, showing up, and or not having understood the rules. There is only one possible true allegation of missing ballots I know of and that wouldn’t have given him the nomination. In fact one of his own supporters hurt him by not knowing the rules and took the totals home with him instead of turning them into the state. This was not a big conspiracy. It was badly handled and I wish the DNC had not let him run as a democrat without joining the party, something he still has not done. However his supporters love to tout the many millions who voted for him, well what about the many more millions that voted for Hillary? We also deserve to have our votes count. I also disagree with how you characterize the behavior of the DNC. Of course they were going to look out for a lifetime party member over someone who refused to join up even as he was getting support from them. That is why we have parties. The fact is he himself said he couldn’t do it as an INdependant , he needed the resources of the DNC. The miscalculation was many thought he would join the party but it soon became clear he had no intention too. So again, a life long party member, supporter, worker, or the guy who wants to take but won’t give anything back. If it was my choice I would go with the one who was with me all her life. Sorry but that is politics and Sanders knew that. I know you read what Robert posted here on his blog about Sanders thinking. I really don’t think Hillary had much to do with this situation as you do, and I don’t think anything the DNC did hurt Sanders in anyway as much as you think it did. IF he couldn’t over come the little the DNC did to impede him, then he surely wouldn’t have been able to stand up to the tricks the RNC is going to pull on who ever is the democratic candidate.

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