Six Days on the Road
I got home after midnight, so it might even qualify as seven days -- I was just about five hours short of seven full days, in fact. I'm back home now.
The big lesson of the DNC is that it was exactly unlike the RNC on the question of real democracy. The RNC was chaotic in the hall, but eventually followed the will of the voters against the party elites, as you will remember.
The DNC ran exactly the other way. Everything that happened at the DNC was designed to create the greatest possible show of unity, in the face of a massive revolt by the rank and file voters.
There was a big walkout of Bernie delegates on Tuesday. It's not clear how big, because the media spent more time debunking numbers that were too big (in order to suggest that there was really nothing to the story at all). Reports of up to 700 walkouts are probably overstated. Reports of 150 -- which is around three times as many as the Dixiecrat walkout of 1948 -- might not be unreasonable. I met a number of delegates in the protest areas, and heard more of them speak. The cameras I saw didn't reflect the big number of empty seats.
Bernie Sanders himself was apparently pressed into trying to force his delegates to agree to electing Hillary Clinton by acclamation. That provoked a movement by the protesters to march on the convention on Tuesday afternoon, and was what apparently provoked the walkout -- after the delegates defeated that attempt, and had placed their votes against Hillary Clinton.
There were a lot of boos inside the building before the walkout on Tuesday, and fewer afterwards. In addition to just having fewer people to boo, though, I gather that the Democratic party installed noise machines designed to overwhelm the booers with fake applause. I didn't see that personally, but it would fit.
There were reports that the Democrats hired seat-fillers to fill the empty seats left by Bernie delegates. I saw a media report "debunking" that story too. OK. But I also met a rather drunk black man on the bus home Wednesday night who claimed, before I'd read any such stories or any purported debunking, to have spent the day in the convention hall in just that role, where he claimed to have met several leading Democrats during the course of the day. Now, he was trying to impress this girl he was hitting on at the time. Maybe he was making it up. Nevertheless, the stories he was telling lined up perfectly with the reports that the media was trying hard to debunk later.
I would just like to state that, in decades of being around many radical thinkers on both the left and the right, I have never heard such passionate profanity directed at Hillary Clinton as I heard from the progressives this week. I don't say that to condemn the progressives, who were badly cheated by this whole process. Their anger is righteous, even if it has indecent expression on occasion. (Another thing covered up by the media, I gather: you're supposed to think that hateful sexist language is the preserve of the right, but it was way more intense at the progressive protests this week than I've ever heard from a right-winger of any kind.)
Meanwhile, of course, the protests themselves were designed to erect another means of control that would prevent the DNC from being embarrassed on television. The protests were confined to 'free speech zones' at least some distance from the convention hall. The official protest groups bought access to the microphone by agreeing to be confined away from television cameras. Mostly, in return for submission to this system, they were left alone to say what they wanted to say. However, during the "Black Men for Bernie" protest -- which happened to occur the same afternoon that the last of the Freddie Gray charges were dropped -- the police invaded the "free speech zone" in force, with lots of zip cuffs at the ready.
It wasn't necessary. The Black Men for Bernie were furious, but they restricted their objections to the free speech they'd signed up to provide.
The only people who stormed the barricades were a band of anarchists on Wednesday night. There weren't enough of them to do more than create a spectacle, though, because every kind of cop in America was there in as large a number as could be provided.
The show of party unity you watched on television was just that: a show. The Democratic Party is going into this election divided like never before. They've brought it on themselves through corruption of their own electoral systems, as revealed by the DNC email leak as well as what is now multiple studies. The DNC chose to favor the interests of the powerful, rich, well-connected Clinton machine instead of obedience to a real democratic contest. They deserve to bear the consequences of that decision.
By Grim on Monday, August 01, 2016