The Bernie Effect at the DNC
For much of the first night of the Democratic National Convention, no one could blame you if you thought Bernie Sanders was the presumptive nominee. Reportedly, his supporters were so rowdy, Bernie himself had to send texts to his delegate whips to calm the floor. Homemade and repurposed signs dotted the arena, like one where a fan used a sharpie to write “Bernie Beats Trump” over Hillary Clinton’s slogan “Love Trumps Hate.” Compared to the resigned feeling of non-Trump Republicans at the RNC, the revolution was alive and well in Philadelphia last night.
However, despite the noise and disruptions, during the last real chunk of speeches–starting with Michelle Obama and ending with Bernie himself–the room reached what felt like a pretty unified sense of pride and excitement. Shouts of “We love you Michelle!” echoed throughout the First Lady’s speech, and by the time she left the podium, everyone was on their feet, where many would remain for the rest of the night.
When Bernie took the stage to end the night, the environment felt more like watching a band perform its last concert than a convention speech in the arena, complete with teary eyed supporters and a deafening silence from everyone but the senator himself.
Bernie pulled greatest hits from his stump speech while insisting the movement is not over just because of this election. He urged his supporters to back Hillary Clinton and to get out there and vote in every election they can this November. He interspersed praise for Clinton and warnings of a potential Donald Trump presidency with talk of Citizens United, the 15 dollar minimum wage, and the importance of regulating our financial institutions. It was a long speech, impassioned and earnest, which are Bernie’s trademarks after all. In the aftermath, it appeared that the tensions in the party were at least put on pause for the night, if not longer.