It’s finally here! The quadrennial explanation for why Americans don’t deserve the fruits of their own labor, or — as it’s more commonly known — the Democratic National Convention. There’s a lot riding on this convention for Hillary Clinton, who is looking up at Donald Trump in several of the most recent national polls aggregated by RealClearPolitics.
Unfortunately, the convention is off to the worst possible start for Clinton and her fellow Democrats — and it may get worse if Bernie Sanders and his delegates aren't planning to make party unity their top priority.
Sanders supporters ... aren't going to squeeze into the backseat of the Hillary-mobile just because Debbie Wasserman Schultz quit.
I asked the most reliable Democratic strategist I know if Sanders supporters would keep their cool all week. Then, I shook that Magic 8-Ball. It answered, "Outlook not so good." Given the news cycle going into the convention, I'm inclined to agree.
This weekend, Wikileaks treated us all to some "damn" emails that Bernie Sanders and his supporters won't be sick and tired of hearing about any time soon. Sanders spent months arguing that the Democratic primary system is rigged. Then, on "Face the Nation" on May 29, he said it's not rigged, it's just "dumb."
Nope. When the Democratic National Committee is discussing a plan to expose that the Jewish guy is really an atheist, it's rigged. And now, thanks to Wikileaks, everyone knows for sure that the party apparatus was against Sanders and operated as a machine to take him down.
First, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was relieved of her gavel. According to a CNN story, titled "Debbie Wasserman Schultz no longer presiding over Democratic convention," a Democrat "familiar with the decision said it was done in hopes of preventing chaos on the convention floor among Sanders supporters."
But wasn't enough because mere hours later, Wasserman Schultz was out as DNC chair. Will that concession be enough to keep order? Magic 8-Ball says, "Don't count on it."
Sanders supporters who just got robbed of what The Wall Street Journal estimated to be 17 trillion bucks worth of federal freebies aren't going to squeeze into the backseat of the Hillary-mobile just because Wasserman Schultz quit. Wake up and smell the metaphorical tea in the harbor! It's called the Sanders Revolution, not the Sanders Minor Disagreement.
Sanders may have used the term "revolution" to make his campaign more dramatic, but his most loyal supporters aren't kidding. Yet, since Clinton became the nominee, the Democratic Establishment has passed on every opportunity to reach out to them. Consider the party platform: no 15 bucks an hour federal minimum wage. No anti-TPP language. No fracking ban.
Then, Clinton had a chance to reach (slightly) to her left for a running mate. Instead, she reached to her right and chose Tim Kaine. As far as Sanders supporters are concerned, she may as well have picked Herman Cain. They see Tim Kaine as a centrist (though that is based on their severe misperception of where the center actually is). After the Kaine pick was announced, Slate writer Josh Voorhees accurately predicted:
"Who won't like the pick? Bernie Sanders fans and other like-minded progressives! Kaine is a Clinton-style centrist who served as the head of the Democratic National Committee, aka the very 'Establishment' that many Sanders supporters believe rigged this year's primary in Hillary's favor. They also won't be thrilled to learn about Kaine's relative friendliness toward Wall Street and his unabashed love of free trade."
Social media confirmed his analysis with vigor. Now, the Sanders supporters have gotten something they want.
Here's all I can predict for the week ahead:
1.) The pantsuit Hillary wears will not instantly sell out.
2.) Michelle Obama will receive a standing ovation when she gracefully pokes fun of Melania's speech.
3.) The mainstream media will find the Democratic convention to be more convention-y than the Republican convention and declare it the winner; moments later, all the insta-polls will disagree.
Beyond that, all bets are off on what will happen in Philadelphia. Thanks to the volatility of the Sanders Revolution, this convention is going to be completely unpredictable, which — with Trump gaining on her (and passing her in many polls) — is the last thing Hillary Clinton needs right now.