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The 2016 Democratic National Convention: 'Inside-Outside' Reflections of a Bernie Sanders Delegate

By       Message Chuck Pennacchio     Permalink
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Putting the entire DNC week into concise language is a serious challenge. So, hopefully, the addition of my smart phone photos will convey more insight, richness, and meaning.

What proved to be a dizzying array of visual and vocal contrasts, conflicts, and cohesion, the period of Saturday July 23rd to Friday July 29th proved both inspiring and enlightening. Inside the DNC convention itself, the TV viewer and delegate witnessed a well-choreographed stage show. However, because of selective and subjective editing, in most cases, the convention reflected one way on TV but a very different way for those present, fully engaged, and thinking analytically. Having now watched numerous TV clips, having read stacks of paper and periodical pieces, and having checked in with dozens of Bernie delegates from 30-plus states, it is clear to this academic and activist that there remains an unhealed rift between the Hillary Clinton campaign and the preponderance of Bernie Sanders delegates and supporters -- in spite of repeated mainstream media claims that most of the divide is now closed, the MSM's repeated assertion that 85% of Sanders' supporters now back Clinton (according to a methodologically unsound Pew study ), and convention and post-convention stories that Bernie delegates not supporting Hillary are fringe activists. My current view of Bernie delegates and supporters (13M voters), based on voluminous anecdotal evidence, is that roughly 50% of Berners are prepared to vote for Clinton (though unclear how many will be active), 15-25% are with Green Party candidate Jill Stein, 2-3% will protest-vote for Trump, and another 22-32% are potentially in play. The direction of the latter group -- the most critical for HRC -- will hinge on Hillary's ability to persuade (i.e., Is she believable and consistent ?) skeptical Berners regarding her pledges and specific party planks (to which her DNC Platform representatives agreed).

"THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE"

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(Image by Chuck Pennacchio)   Permission   Details   DMCA

One of the first things that struck me was the reaction from street activists when they discovered I was a delegate for Bernie -- from the Saturday "Climate Emergency March" (pictured here) to a Thursday afternoon procession from Marconi Park to FDR Park in South Philly. "Thank you for your service" -- those are the exact words I heard, again and again. What a wonderful way to turn a phrase applied almost exclusively to U.S. soldiers into a phrase that recognizes the ongoing global battle for peace-over-war, diplomacy-over-drones, and democracy-over-oligarchy.

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PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS NOT WELCOME!


(Image by Chuck Pennacchio)   Permission   Details   DMCA

Much of the tone for the convention was set before the convention officially began, on Saturday July 23, when the DNC Rules Committee convened only to lock out more than 300 pro-democracy activists. With the environmental platform on the agenda a chant went up among the excluded throng: "Hey-hey, ho-ho, fossil fuel has got to go," and "Shame on the DNC, I don't see no democracy." The lockout and demonstration went largely unreported by the mainstream media.

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THOUSANDS GREET BERNIE

Sanders delegates and supporters were outnumbered inside the Wells Fargo Center, yet represented an overwhelming majority, outside, in the streets. The enthusiasm of the Sanders supporters overall made them look and sound like the majority inside and outside.


(Image by Chuck Pennacchio)   Permission   Details   DMCA

Thousands of Bernie supporters amassed in the streets of Philadelphia"

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Chuck Pennacchio, PhD, 2016 elected Bernie Sanders Delegate; Senior Advisor, Healthcare for All Pennsylvania; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  BA in history and political science from (more...)
 

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