Close this search box.

Dispatch from Day 1: Michelle Upstages Bernie

Michelle Obama DNCThe convention floor is definitely a unique place. Tonight, however, felt especially peculiar.

There was clearly a majority of Clinton delegates, but enough Sanders delegates were vocal enough that the crowd came off as divided.

It certainly started out that way.

If you happened to be sitting in the upper bowl of the Wells Fargo Center, without the promised free wifi from Comcast and your own hotspot wasn’t working (you know, hypothetically), then reading the crowd was a necessary and enlightening experience.

So when Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge sought to step in for departing DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, it was readily apparent that things weren’t going well.

Every mention of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine brought boos from the Sanders supporters, although Clinton backers were able to drown them out. Still, the passionate undercurrent must have been disturbing to the DNC. It didn’t help that Fudge was apparently unprepared for the task and at times seemed like a deer in the headlines.

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, and a Sanders delegate from Maine named Diane Russell, did a good job of tamping down the furor. The fact that a good number of Sanders delegates left the hall probably helped too. Either way, the jeers slowly but steadily began to die down.

Four Pennsylvania Democrats took the stage in the afternoon, led by Congressman Bob Brady who commended the POW-MIA veterans. Congressman Brendan Boyle also spoke,telling his own personal story while questioning why Donald Trump believes the American Dream is dead. “Why does he want to lead America, when he doesn’t even believe in America?”

Mayor Jim Kenney, who started off with the appropriate “Yo Pennsylvania!”, compared the Republican nominee to the Know-Nothing Party.

By the time Senator Bob Casey spoke, the upper section reserved for the special (i.e. misc.) press, was filled in with spillover attendees. While it was louder, at least it allowed me to get an even greater sense of the room.

Sen. Casey used his time to attack Trump over outsourcing his products, “If he’s the champion of working people, then I’m the center of the 76ers,” he joked. “The man who wants to make America great. Doesn’t make anything in America.” His speech was preceded by a humorous video on this subject starring Austin Goolsbee and Ken Jeong.

The Hillary/Bernie dynamic returned when Al Franken and Sarah Silverman came out together to introduce Paul Simon who sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Silverman earned massive applause when the comedian and Sanders supporter declared “To the ‘Bernie or Bust’ people, you’re being ridiculous!” That provoked the rare, astonished cheer from the crowd.

It was at this point that the first signs starting making their way around the room, blue “Stronger Together” placards being passed out by volunteers.

There’s a moment at every convention gathering when a speaker finally grabs hold of the attendees and reminds them that they are there to watch the proceedings. This orator turns a giant room full of strangers into an audience.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker was that speaker Monday night. His “Rise Together” message, accompanied by green placards, shook up the crowd. Sen. Booker definitely took home the award for most exciting speech.

The Wells Fargo Center may have been enthralled by Senator Booker, but they were in love with the First Lady. In fact, Several black women sitting behind me were only there to witness Michelle Obama speak and when she took the podium she was the only guest that held the full attention of the audience throughout.

The First Lady gave an emotional and uplifting address, which also managed to take shots at the Republican nominee without naming him.

When she got emotional talking about her daughters looking up to the first female President, it was a genuine moment. You could viscerally feel it from the delegates and fans who were waving “Michelle” signs.

In fact, there’s was so much emotion that Elizabeth Warren’s keynote speech was a bit of an letdown. At least it felt that way in the upper bowl of the arena, it may well have gone over better on television.

The Obama and Clinton loyalists were impressed with her, though, as they held aloft the new “I’m with Her, She’s with Us” signs.

Finally, the headliner emerged. Senator Bernie Sanders received a prolonged ovation from the audience, driven from his faithful delegates and supporters. In the second deck, Sanders’ fans congregated at the very top of the stadium in groups.

The Vermont Senator did his best to unite the party.

“Any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” he declared. “The choice is not even close.”

Yet in my section, the rowdy Sanders fans weren’t satisfied. “They stole it from you,” one man yelled a few times, just a single example of his many outbursts (if you guessed he was a young, bearded fellow with a Bernie shirt and a bandana wrapped around his head, then congrats).

It was also noticeable that many, including the black women behind me, who came to see Michelle and stuck with Elizabeth didn’t feel the need to listen to Bernie. The upper bowl was about half empty by the time he finished.

Nonetheless, Sanders’ call for unity was enthusiastically received by most of the crowd although there was an ever-present undercurrent of displeasure.

During the primetime hours, when the immense room finally got quiet, you can hear a strange whirl in the upper decks. It took a minute to figure it out. Rain was pounding the roof of the Wells Fargo Center.

There was a storm overhead.

29 Responses

  1. Can’t wait to watch Hillary get sworn in this January. History!!! And a LOUD beat-down for the ignorant bigots that would have a con-man grifter as POTUS.

    The Radical GOP needs to do some soul-searching. They sound like they hate America.

  2. Agreed Brandy. What a difference between Cleveland and Philadrlphia. Night and day.

    In Cleveland, the Radical GOP tried to scare us into voting for their FRAUD of a candidate – a guy that makes fun of handicapped people and has no experience whatsoever helping people. A man who cheats, and lies, and hates.

    In Philadelphia, we see what America is really made of. We see how great she is and how much greater she can become. In Hillary, we will get a person who supported 1st responders and a person who understands the pain of mothers who lost love ones to police violence. We will soon have our 2st female POTUS.

    Proud to be an American this AM.

  3. Another great day of speakers. Proud to be an American tonight.

    I loved Bill’s speech, but hope Michelle has the urge to return to the White House. She would make a great POTUS.

    I hope the Republicans learn from the spanking they will get in November. We need a strong 2-party system; but not one where one party acts childish and refuses to work with the other.

  4. Trump wants you to ignore me. And his wife’s plagiarism too. And his SIX bankrupt companies. And his greedy, selfish life.

    Americans can’t/won’t ignore that Hillary is about 5o times more qualified than the Fraud the Radical GOP just embarrassed themselves with.


  5. “Tonight at the DNC convention, the Democrats gave stage time to Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, Lena Dunham, Bill Clinton, and the mother of Michael Brown. For anyone keeping track at home, that’s one mass murderer, one woman who admitted to fondling her sister, one alleged serial abuser and rapist, and the mother of an attempted cop killer. And it’s only Tuesday. They’ve still got two more days to go. Perhaps Charles Manson and Kermit Gosnell will make appearances later in the week.

    The Democrat Party is morally bankrupt. The RNC may be so often stupid, cowardly, and inept, but the DNC is just plain evil. If you don’t believe me, turn on your TV at any point between now and Thursday night. They’re practically advertising the fact. They’re proud of it.”

  6. Sounds like you disagree with Nate Silver too. Gosh man, keep it together. Don’t worry about voting, there’s no way Trump can win.

  7. Only a true moron would look at America as either great of broken. America is far from
    perfect. But she is still the GREATEST.

    There are things we need to fix. There are too many guns. There should be equal pay for women. Our children need more, better education. And the American worker has been squeezed by the 1% and companies like the ones run by Trump (who doesn’t make anything in the U.S.).

    There is one party that has traditionally looked out for the little guy. And it is the party that KNOWS America is still GREAT. The other party is saying it isn’t.

    There is one candidate who is REAL. And she has been working for the people of this GREAT country forever.

  8. To illustrate how conflicted this convention is, you had Warren and Bernie bashing the U.S. last night and there wasn’t a single U.S. flag in the joint. They noticed how silly it looked for a national party where Cory and Michelle were saying how great it was that they didn’t have any flags…anywhere. So TODAY, they had some flags delivered. No joke, they arrived in a delivery truck this afternoon and just went up today. Tell me again how Democrats feel about the country.

  9. Like I said UPenn, it’s a fantasy land in that island surrounded by a moat.

  10. Students of history will understand that Michelle has only thought our country is great when she’s living in the White House. She can campaign to fix it again after the white woman messes it up again.

  11. Back on topic — Michelle was awesome on stage last night. She should consider running for POTUS.

  12. If you’re wondering why not a word was dropped related to terrorism at all, it’s because they’re safe inside the 10-foot wall that the DNC had erected around the entire convention site for miles and in just a couple of days. That way they can enjoy the fantasy land inside and broadcast their liberal utopia to the rest of the country where women who aren’t running for President are expected to follow the law.

  13. Yet in my section, the rowdy Sanders fans weren’t satisfied. “They stole it from you,” one man yelled a few times, just a single example of his many outbursts (if you guessed he was a young, bearded fellow with a Bernie shirt and a bandana wrapped around his head, then congrats).


  14. The Never Hillary Berniecrats shouted down Silverman who lamented she had to cut her remarks short. So far the Bernie folks have been smart and coordinated to protest and rally the crowd in small, loud pockets before they get ejected from the arena for the week. One has to wonder if there will be enough left by Thursday to interrupt HRC.

  15. Sarah Silverman had the line of the night. Bernie should have repeated it.

  • Reader Poll: Should President Joe Biden Step Aside?

    • Yes. He should step aside because of his age, declining ability to do the job. (45%)
    • No. He should not step aside. (39%)
    • Yes. He should step aside because he can't beat Donald Trump. (15%)

    Total Voters: 231

    Loading ... Loading ...
Continue to Browser


To install tap and choose
Add to Home Screen