Coming to you live every morning from Philadelphia, Unconventional is the one thing you need to read to understand what’s really happening at the Democratic National Convention. Each edition will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the biggest (and weirdest) moments of the day, with original dispatches from the entire Yahoo Politics team — plus a sneak peek at what’s next.
So long, Sanders. It’s Clinton’s convention now.
PHILADELPHIA — At first it was about him. And then, finally, it was about her.
The theme of the first day of the Democratic National Convention was “United Together” — a redundancy that underscored how desperate the Democratic establishment was to set aside the divisions of this year’s long, hard, primary battle and unite the party around nominee Hillary Clinton.
In practice, this meant that Bernie Sanders and his often obstreperous delegates dominated the first 24 hours of the event. How they booed. Who they booed. What they chanted. Whether Bernie could control them. What his surrogates would say onstage. Whether the divisions on display in the Wells Fargo Center reflected larger divisions in the party.
Even Tuesday’s roll call vote, usually a ceremonial tribute to the nominee, was all about Bernie. Instead of interrupting the proceedings when Clinton hit the magic number of delegates — 2,383 — every last one of Sanders’ 1,894 votes was counted, as his team had requested and his supporters had demanded. A woman from South Dakota spoke about how Sanders had “inspired us all”; a man from Washington described him as “transformative.” That was the tone of much of what transpired in Philadelphia up until that point: Trump is terrible. Hillary is pretty great. Bernie is spectacular.
From a historical perspective, it was a remarkable reversal. The names of other Democratic runners-up had been entered in the roll call before: Ted Kennedy in 1980, Jesse Jackson and Gary Hart in 1984, Jerry Brown in 1992, Hillary Clinton in 2008. But none had been treated as tenderly, or portrayed as heroically, as Sanders.
The 1992 “convention was so controlled, they wouldn’t even let me talk,” Jerry Brown recalled on Tuesday. “This is a love fest compared to that.”
The tables turned, however, the minute that Sanders stepped to the microphone at the end of the roll call and “move[d] that Hillary Clinton be selected” — unanimously — “as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States.” The delegates roared. A version of Pharrell’s “Happy” played on the sound system. And Sanders disappeared from the massive screens over the stage.
He’s unlikely to appear again in Philadelphia.
The rest of the night was Hillary’s. The rest of the convention will be hers as well. For the next five hours, a long line of senators and surrogates, politicians and police officers, celebrities and survivors paraded to the podium to tout Clinton’s achievements and testify on her behalf.
“I’m here with Hillary Clinton because she is a leader and a mother who will say our children’s names,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, whose daughter, Sandra Bland, died last year in policy custody.
“Every time I have a big operation coming up, I always receive a note from Hillary, full of encouragement and kindness,” said Ryan Moore, who suffers from spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, or dwarfism.
“When we needed someone to speak for us, to stand with us, to fight on our behalf, Hillary Clinton was there, every step of the way,” said 9/11 first responder Joe Sweeney.
“She looked me in the eye and said, ‘Jelani, I’m proud of you,’” said Jelani Freeman, a former intern who benefited from Clinton’s policy of reserving one spot in her Senate office for foster youth. “I felt seen and heard — for the first time in my life.”
And so on. Speaker after speaker insisted that Clinton was all the things her opponents and critics claim she is not — kind, caring, honest, trustworthy, human — by highlighting the “fights of her life”: for kids, for social justice, for women, for 9/11 survivors, for health care, for human rights.
Bill Clinton was, as usual, the highlight. As Olivier Knox, Yahoo News’ chief Washington correspondent, described it, Bill’s address was “part grandfatherly musings, part nostalgic love story, part family history, part political memoir and entirely about portraying the former first lady as trustworthy, authentic and an agent of change for voters sick of the status quo.”
“Speeches like this are fun,” Clinton chuckled. “Actually doing the work is hard.”
The evening was a laundry list, a hodgepodge, an overstuffed résumé with dozens of reference letters from every imaginable character witness and constituency. But that’s what national nominating conventions are, or, at least, what they’ve become. So far, it’s a fact that’s been easy to forget during this year’s unusual convention season. Tuesday was the night that Philly became conventional again. (Except, of course, for the fact that a major party had just nominated a woman for president, for the first time in the United States’ 240-year history.)
Outside the Wells Fargo Center, Sanders’ last remaining holdouts defied their hero’s wishes and tried to seize the spotlight again, storming the media tents and staging a semi-silent sit-in. The effort was a tacit admission of their waning influence: With a new Pew Research Center poll showing that 90 percent of Sanders’ most ardent supporters plan to vote for Clinton in November, the only way such avid but unrepresentative activists can continue to get attention is by getting in the media’s face.
“It’s exposure,” Ohio delegate Alex Davis told Yahoo News. “We’re forcing you to cover us.”
With Tim Kaine, Michael Bloomberg, Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama set to take the stage Wednesday night, and with Clinton scheduled to accept the nomination Thursday, “Bernie or bust” delegates probably won’t be able to force the issue for long.
Back inside the arena, the convention moved on. Meryl Streep spoke. Alicia Keys sang. And suddenly, as the delegates were starting to stream out, Hillary herself materialized on the Jumbotron, live from New York.
“I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet,” she said. “If there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say: I may become the first woman president, but one of you is next.”
The camera panned out to reveal a roomful of people, smiling and waving robotically. A little girl clung to Clinton’s red pantsuit. The infomercial was back on track.
Missed the speeches? We’ve got you covered.
Olivier Knox on Bill Clinton: “Four years after his folksy and feisty address at the 2012 convention led President Obama to dub him ‘secretary of explainin’ stuff,’ Clinton treated Democrats packed into the Wells Fargo Center here to an affectionate, and often wistful, biographical portrait of 45 years of private and public life with the former first lady, senator and secretary of state.”
Liz Goodwin on the ‘Mothers of the Movement’: “Nine black mothers who have lost children to gun violence vouched for Hillary Clinton during a criminal-justice section of Tuesday night’s DNC program. ‘Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid to say that black lives matter,’ said Lucy McBath, whose 17-year-old son Jordan Davis was shot at a gas station in Florida.”
Lisa Belkin on Cecile Richards: “Twenty-eight years ago, then-Texas Gov. Ann Richards charmed the Democratic Party from the 1988 convention podium, as she taunted the new Republican nominee. On Tuesday night, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Ann’s daughter, chided another Republican nominee for what she called his ‘deeply disturbing worldview.'”
Garance Franke Ruta on Lena Dunham and America Ferrera: “The creator of ‘Girls,’ Lena Dunham, and actress America Ferrera took to the stage here Tuesday night to tweak Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump about his views on women, a topic Democrats have been driving home for months in Web and TV ads in an effort to increase Trump’s already high negative ratings with women voters heading into the general election.”
(At the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia)
Delegate 1: “We gotta win in November.”
Delegate 2: “Yeah. We have so much to fight for.”
Delegate 1: “Yeah. And against.”
On Wednesday and Thursday, the DNC will pivot from populism to pragmatism
In his latest column, Matt Bai argues that, for the first day of the convention, “it seemed for all the world as if Sanders’ argument had carried the day.”
“If you looked at the program for the entire four days, however, you might have realized that all of this was by design,” Bai continues. “Just as the first night of the Republican convention a week earlier seemed to be all about washed-up TV stars, the opening of the Democratic confab, which began with a lineup of union leaders, was effectively conceived as ‘populist night’ in Philadelphia.”
“The unstated theme of the night seemed to be: ‘OK, people, just get it all out now.’”
So what does that mean for the rest of the DNC?
That we’re going to see a show that’s a less about the “unyielding ideology of the populist left” and more about the “pragmatic politics of the last two Democratic presidents.”
We’ll let Bai take it from here:
On these last two nights of the convention, when the television audience will reach its apex, the lineup of speeches will leave little doubt about whose Democratic Party this really is and whose brand of liberalism has actually prevailed.
On Wednesday alone, Democrats will pack in more powerhouse speakers than Donald Trump managed to assemble for his entire convention. (By day four in Cleveland, the whole thing pretty much felt like little more than a family reunion, except that you didn’t know any of the relatives before they showed up and started rearranging the furniture.)
The most symbolically important speaker of the night will be a New York mayor — which shouldn’t surprise anyone, since New York is now the geographic center of a presidential campaign, on both sides, for the first time since 1944, when Thomas Dewey ran against Franklin Roosevelt.
But the mayor on stage won’t be Bill de Blasio, who once ran Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign, and who, along with Sanders and Warren, forms the left’s populist triumvirate.
Instead, Clinton’s team will hand over the podium to Michael Bloomberg, who hasn’t been a Democrat for many years now, and who stands for much of what the left detests. He is a reform-minded billionaire, a titan of Wall Street, an empire builder who champions free enterprise and fiscal restraint.
Bloomberg, who apparently likes Trump even less than he likes very large sugary beverages, will validate Clinton to the national audience, vouching for her pragmatism and gravitas, while de Blasio sits in the cheap seats, suffering in silence among all the bewildered Bernie Bros.
After that, viewers will be introduced to Tim Kaine, the vice presidential candidate whom the party’s left flank was less than enthused about. That’s mostly because, until last week, he bravely supported the president’s trade agenda.
And then, before the night is through, the party will turn to its Gehrig-Ruth combination (might as well stay with a New York theme): first Joe Biden, who wrote and championed the Clinton crime bill the populists now vilify, and then President Obama, chief proponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, who raised more money from Wall Street than Mitt Romney last time around.
I would not expect either man to use the phrase “political revolution.”
And on Thursday, of course, Clinton herself will take the stage, where I doubt she’ll say a whole lot about the sharply leftist party platform that Sanders and his acolytes have been crowing about for a week.
When we look back on this week, we will not see the convention where Sanders and his uprising redefined the Democratic Party, but rather the moment when Clinton and her high command took it back.
Make sure to read the rest.
Click through for the full convention diary from DNC volunteer Tracy Russo
The big picture
Photographer Khue Bui is on the ground in Philadelphia, capturing all of the action for Yahoo News. Here’s his most unconventional pic of the day.
Crying ‘Peter Pan’ Sanders delegate speaks out for party unity
By Liz Goodwin
PHILADELPHIA — As Sen. Bernie Sanders urged his 1,900 Democratic delegates to back Hillary Clinton Monday night, the Internet quickly noticed — and poked fun at — some of his delegates’ emotional responses to the end of his insurgent campaign.
Even in this sea of sadness, Sean Kehren, a 22-year-old Sanders delegate from Minnesota, stood out. For one, he was wearing a Peter Pan-style hat (which represents a “Robin Hood tax” on Wall Street). His expression of pure anguish as Sanders spoke earned him the title of “breakout star” among all the crying Sanders delegates.
Kehren’s image was quickly churned into memes, many of them making fun of Sanders supporters for their die-hard “Bernie or bust” stance. Twitter referred to him alternately as “Crying Peter Pan” and “sad Robin Hood.”
Kehren, however, told Yahoo News that he is not a Bernie-or-buster. He said he was crying in part because he found it very noble that Sanders was encouraging his fans to back Clinton for the good of the nation after such a hard-fought and idealistic campaign. (Kehren also wept earlier Monday when Sanders was loudly booed by his delegates for telling them to get behind Clinton.)
“I was getting emotional over the fact that he was doing his best to unify the party and I think that’s such a noble cause,” Kehren said. “Bernie has led a revolution, he’s led a movement, and now that movement has to get behind the party.”
— Quinn Sutherland (@ReelQuinn) July 26, 2016
— C:FactsTrigger.exe (@JoeDayspring) July 26, 2016
Kehren said he’s not a privileged “Bernie Bro” who hates Clinton, as some on social media have branded him. He said he was raised by a struggling single mom and will vote for Clinton in the election. “She’s done her best to make deals with Bernie and to embrace his side, and I have to give her credit for that,” he said of Clinton.
This is not Kehren’s first brush with Internet fame. “Two months ago, I pulled a woman out of a burning car,” he said. (He helped save the woman’s life by bravely removing her from the car.) And he understands why people with more distance from the impassioned Democratic primary think the photos are funny.
“I’m willing to admit that it’s funny to other people who don’t feel as passionate about it as I do,” he said. “And I don’t expect anyone to know who I am through just a picture of me crying.”
By the numbers
The number of people who watched the first night of the Democratic National Convention
The number of people who watched the first night of the Republican National Convention
The best of the rest
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) July 27, 2016
DOWD: Bubba Pours on the Estrogen… https://t.co/LX7ZqPjeTM
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) July 27, 2016
— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) July 26, 2016
— POLITICO (@politico) July 27, 2016
“Bernie buttons and tie-dyed shirts! F*** Hillary!” https://t.co/VjZmBZFhx8
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) July 27, 2016
I had a moving & illuminating conversation w/ the mothers of sons who have become household names. I hope you watch. https://t.co/7dpkoDACta
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) July 26, 2016
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) July 27, 2016
What to watch Wednesday
Theme: Working Together
Gavel in: 4 p.m.
Vice President Joe Biden
Senator and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg
Current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
Civil Rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson
Actress Angela Bassett
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown
California Gov. Jerry Brown
Erica Smegielski, whose mother was killed in the Sandy Hook shootings
Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard, who survived last year’s shootings at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, S.C.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Actress Sigourney Weaver
Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, founders of the anti-gun-violence super-PAC Americans for Responsible Solutions
Jamie Dorff, whose husband died in a helicopter crash while serving in Iraq
Musical performance by Lenny Kravitz