DNC 2016: Hillary Clinton defused party disunity having her opponents speak first

Early on Monday it looked as if things were getting rather chaotic 

Andrew Buncombe
Tuesday 26 July 2016 19:46 BST
Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., arrive for a demonstration at Dillworth Park yesterday in Philadelphia
Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., arrive for a demonstration at Dillworth Park yesterday in Philadelphia (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

They got them all on early - Sarah Silverman, Elizabeth Warren and, of course, Bernie Sanders.

If the Democratic National Convention looked like it was heading towards chaos and disunity early on Monday morning, a clever timetabling of some of the most outspoken supporters of Mr Sanders appeared to act as a relief valve. With the anger, disappointment and frustration made vocal, the party and its delegates could then get on with the task of nominating Hillary Clinton and uniting around the candidate.

That, at least, was the theory of one senior Democratic party, Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, a vice chair on the so-called Standing Platform Committee, who himself addressed delegates on Monday.

(Getty Images
(Getty Images (Getty Images)

Asked on Tuesday about the party disunity that had been on display earlier on Monday - with party officials being heckled and even Mr Sanders being booed by his own supporters when he urged them to vote for Ms Clinton - he said he believed the party was ready to move forward as the week progressed.

“It was a hot day in Philadelphia - people needed to blow off some steam,” he told MSNBC. “Once that had been done, it all calmed down.”

Monday had seen protests by “Bernie or Bust” supporters who said they would not vote for Ms Clinton and said they believed she will no better that the Republican candidates who had ran for the presidency. Their anger was heightened after the emergence of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) which suggested a plot to smear Mr Sanders and support the establishment’s favourite, Ms Clinton.

Mr Sanders found himself being booed when he urged supporters that their was no alternative but to support Ms Clinton if they wanted to avoid Mr Trump becoming president.

On Monday night, the first person to declare herself as Bernie supporter was the comic, Ms Silverman, who said she had “felt the Bern”, but had applied cream to it. “To the ‘Bernie or Bust’ people, you’re being ridiculous,” she said.

DNC 2016 - The Independent reports from the convention floor

Elizabeth Warren, a favourite of progressives and someone whom many wanted to be on the Democratic ticket, also said she had been a supporter of Mr Sanders but was urging people to vote for Ms Clinton.

“We’re here tonight because America faces a choice. On one side is a man who was given money by his father. Who cares only for himself.”

She added: “On the other side, one of the toughest, most tenacious people. Our choice is Hillary Clinton. I am with Hillary Clinton.”

The stage was then taken by Michelle Obama, the First Lady, who electrified the crowd with a speech in which she said electing Ms Clinton would create an environment in which “my daughters take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States”.

bernie-protest.jpg, by Gabriel Samuels
bernie-protest.jpg, by Gabriel Samuels (AFP/Getty Images)

“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters - two beautiful intelligent black young women - play on the White House lawn,” she said.

The final speech of the night belonged to Mr Sanders, the 74-year-old Vermont senator whose insurgent campaign stunned observers and seasoned politicians - himself included. He campaigned until he very end of the primary process to ensure every vote was counted, very voice heard.

Yet earlier this month, he endorsed Ms Clinton after securing an undertaking that many of his policies would be included in the platform. In his speech he said there was no alternative but to electing the woman he had fought hard to defeat.

“We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger – not leadership which insults Latinos, Muslims, women, African-Americans and veterans – and divides us up,” he said.

He added: “By these measures, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.”

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