Protests kicking off the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are already larger than anything seen during last week’s RNC in Cleveland, Ohio.
Spurred by the resignation of chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz after a weekend Wikileaks email dump revealed her bias against Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, his supporters and advocates of civil disobedience infiltrated the streets of Philadelphia in droves, chanting, “We are the 99 percent” and “Feel the Bern!”
Matt Pearce, a national reporter for The Los Angeles Times, is running a live blog on what he calls a “calendar of protests” at the DNC. He says one thing is certain – expect arrests.
As Pearce points out, there are many reasons why the climate at the RNC didn’t see an onslaught of protests. For one, Philadelphia is an easier city to reach than Cleveland. Secondly, Sanders’ guaranteed appearance motivated impassioned supporters who are fed up with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presumptive nominee.
But most importantly, some protesters who traveled to Philadelphia felt the RNC protests displayed strange, hateful rhetoric they would like to be disassociated from. After months of violent outbreaks at Trump rallies, the climate was too tense.
“To be honest, everything that I’ve seen at Donald Trump rallies, it’s just a giant hatefest,” said Ashley Vaughan, 24, in an interview with Pearce. “I’d rather stay away from stuff like that.”
Be that as it may, Sanders and Schultz have already faced opposition at the convention. DNC attendees aren’t handling them with white gloves.
Schultz, who stepped down on Sunday evening after calls for her resignation reached a fever pitch, was booed off the stage on Monday morning at a Florida delegate breakfast. The embattled congresswoman presides over Florida’s 23rd congressional district.
Sanders, who maintained allegiance to Clinton after his endorsement two weeks ago, was taken to task by supporters at a Monday morning event at the DNC.
“Immediately, right now, we have got to defeat Donald Trump, and we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine,” he said to a barrage of boos.
After the proverbial political fallout, NBC News reports Schultz will no longer speak at Monday night’s opening ceremonies. Sanders and First Lady Michelle Obama will be the keynote speakers of the evening. The DNC will try to coalesce under the theme of “Unite Together.” Former Vice President Al Gore also announced his endorsement of Hillary Clinton on Monday afternoon via Twitter:
There lies a far stretch for the DNC to prove that leaders and delegates attending the conference are ready for significant cohesiveness in the wake of the turbulent past 48 hours. But, if the Democrats plan to win the election in November, solidarity is key as Donald Trump enjoyed a slight uptick over the weekend in recent polling, according to CNN.
We’ll just have to see if anything will amount to the RNC drama we watched unfold last week. As of now, the events within the last few days are at peak levels of political theater proportions.