Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Republicans set for united convention, Democrats brace for food fight

While the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, works on raising millions, Bernie Sanders supporters throw chairs. What could possibly go wrong?

Read on as Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog) reports and Scriber comments.

Nevada’s Jon Ralston reported that the [Nevada state Democratic] convention ended with security shutting down the event, followed by pro-Sanders activists rushing the stage, “yelling obscenities,” and “throwing chairs.”

The Wall Street Journal reported late last week that the Clinton campaign is eager to avoid an ugly and divisive convention, and to that end, people close to the Democratic frontrunner “predict she will give Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders much of what he wants on the party’s platform.”

At this stage, however, the article added that “the Sanders forces are itching for a fight,” anyway.

I was going to ask: Why? If Bernie has had the effect he was willing to champion at the outset of the campaign, and that is the moving of the conversation/debate/party/nation leftward, then why engage in some divisive food fight?

Well, it's more than that.

A report at commondreams.org has more details on the Nevada convention beginning with the title "When the System Feels Rigged, How Surprising is Convention Mayhem?"

Nevada's Democratic convention devolved into mayhem on Saturday as party pushed controversial new rules and disqualified Sanders delegates.

You can read the full report here, but the essence of the dispute over delegates is in the following couple of snippets.

... 56 Sanders delegates had been disqualified for things such as not being registered as a Democrat by the party's May 1 deadline, and for problems with their registration, meaning the party was reportedly unable to verify information such as their names and addresses. Eight Clinton delegates were disqualified for similar reasons.

With the disqualification of 56 Sanders supporters, Clinton won: the former secretary of state had 1,693 delegates to Sanders' 1,662, a difference of only 31.

And to add to the discord:

After the delegate count was announced, the convention devolved into further turmoil as party officials were drowned out by the booing crowd. Security was called and armed guards lined up in front of the podium, blocking the crowd from approaching.

As the crowd chanted, "Recount! Recount! Recount!" [Convention chair Roberta] Lange ignored the appeals and held a voice vote to accept the delegate count and conclude the convention—slamming her gavel to the podium and ignoring the "nays" before stomping off stage ...

Democratic Party officials were subsequently and quickly ushered off the stage by security guards through a back door.

Activists protested in front of Nevada DNC headquarters on Sunday, with one protestor rallying the crowd to push for change: "Let this light your fire!"

Steve Benen continues.

Up until fairly recently, many political observers assumed that the Republican convention would be chaotic, and perhaps even violent, with Trump raising the prospect of “riots.” Note, however, the degree to which the political winds have shifted direction: the GOP nominating contest has wrapped earlier than expected, Republicans are rallying behind Donald Trump en masse, and those looking for convention unrest are more likely to find it Philadelphia than Cleveland.

The dynamic is a welcome surprise for the right: the Clinton campaign will spend the next month competing against Donald Trump and Sanders simultaneously, while Democrats prepare for a convention fight that probably won’t serve any practical purpose.

Other than the practical purpose of electing Donald Trump?

Even the most cursory inspection of the Republican and Democratic party platforms and policy statements of the candidates will reveal that there is a vast, vast difference between the two parties, a difference that overshadows differences between candidates within each party. In this primary season, there is much scrutiny of positions taken by, say, Cruz and Kasich, but at the core they are two hard-line conservatives. Likewise, there is intense focus on the positions taken by Clinton and Sanders, but at the core, they are progressives who differ on many issues in degree but not in kind. And Clinton started with a progressive agenda, one that if anything is edging further toward that of Sanders. Again, my point (from psychological research) is this: differences within categories are smaller than differences between categories. Or, in other words, the worst of ours is better than the best of theirs.

I am old enough to remember the horrible 1968 Democratic convention. You know, the one that the history books say gave us Richard Nixon. Think about how well that turned out. We all need to unite behind a Democratic candidate because it is becoming increasingly obvious that a Democratic nominee will be the only thing standing against a Trump tyranny.

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