Throughout the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week, the mainstream media declared that the Republican Party was devolving into chaos — a party in disarray battling intra-party strife and out of touch with America.
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But that was last week. Now, after a Wikileaks flood of 20,000 emails that shows people in the Democratic National Committee sought to drive Bernie Sanders out of the race with a series of underhanded shenanigans — a scandal that culminated on convention eve with the DNC chairman Debbie Wasserman Shultz vowing to resign next week (after the party’s party, of course) — it’s the Democrats who look like a party adrift.
Now, it’s the Democrats who look like a party adrift, and it doesn’t appear that things will get better anytime soon.
And it doesn’t appear that things will get better anytime soon.
Protesters seeking to move the party left — perhaps to the realm of Stalin and Lenin — will be descending on Philadelphia this week. That will be strikingly different from the RNC, where so few protesters turned out that the MSM was actually disappointed.
While the media spent weeks writing about the blood that would splatter on the pavement in Cleveland during the Republican convention as Black Lives Matter took to the streets, nothing happened. Noting the “strangely quiet streets” of the CLE, the New Yorker reported that there wasn’t even “much pointed obnoxiousness.” “We were promised a riot. In Cleveland, we got a block party instead,” lamented The Washington Post.
The much-hyped divisiveness that was supposed to roil the RNC itself fizzled almost immediately, with the dump-Trump initiative never getting near the floor and insurgent Ted Cruz torn apart by catcalls during his speech like a hyena who’d wandered into a lion’s den.
But “pointed obnoxiousness” and much more will be coming to the streets of Philadelphia as tens of thousands of angry left-wing activists prepare to protest a variety of issues and the insider, status quo Democratic ticket handed to them in place of their hero, the Bern. The hashtag #seeyouinphilly was ominously making its way around Twitter. Journalists looking for a seriously divided party and the potential for mayhem need only take the Amtrak a couple of stops up from Washington to find true party chaos.
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At the very least, things on the streets of Philadelphia promise to be tense. In a worst-case scenario, the scene may end up reminding some old timers of the chaos that gripped the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968, when Vietnam War and other protesters staged a mass rally and scores of police and protesters were wounded.
In Philadelphia, a toxic brew is stewing that threatens to generate anger both inside and outside the walls of the convention hall. It starts with the bitter disappointment of Sanders’ radical backers. They were already mad. But Clinton’s choice for vice president of Establishment stalwart Sen. Tim Kaine, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee, amounts to flipping Sanders and his supporter the bird.
In Philadelphia, a toxic brew is stewing that threatens to generate anger both within and outside the walls of the convention hall.
The Wikileaks release of private emails by Democratic National Committee officials proving the organization tried to undermine Sanders will fan the fires. That a petition to eliminate elitist, unelected superdelegates was only partially agreed to — with hundreds of unaccountable superdelegates to keep their votes during future primaries — also won’t help things.
The presence of Black Lives Matter protesters in Philadelphia adds to the potential for conflict, particularly with Democrats seeking to fan the issue during the convention by putting onstage relatives of African-Americans killed by police. BLM will surely be picking at the scab of what has not always been a warm and fuzzy relationship between the city’s police and its black citizens, according to CNN.
Already on Sunday, the marches were underway, with thousands taking to the streets to protest fracking and support Sanders. Yelling “Hell No, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary!” and “This is what democracy looks like,” the marchers made their way down Broad Street, one of Philadelphia’s two main thoroughfares, from City Hall down toward the convention center.
Once things get underway, well-organized activists will be trying to disrupt the convention by blocking streets and creating scenes. Civil disobedience will threaten to become decidedly uncivil
The Green Party and its leader Jill Stein will also be out and about, hoping to lure disaffected Democrats to their cause.
Hillary offered Democratic National Committee Chair Wasserman Schultz’s head on a platter to Sanders backers Sunday, forcing her resignation just before the proceedings got underway.
But with DWS in one email herself referring to the Sanders campaign chair as an “ass” and her underlings seeking to plant stories questioning his religious beliefs, Sanders’ army will no doubt be unappeased. The emails, released the Friday before the convention, could not be more perfectly timed to stir chaos. Meantime, Trump was busy stirring the pot, issuing tweets about how Sanders had been ripped off.
“Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileaks, really vicious. RIGGED,” he tweeted. “The Democrats are in a total meltdown but the biased media will say how great they are doing! E-mails say the rigged system is alive & well!” he wrote in another tweet.
Even better timed is the weather, which threatens to hit 100 degrees in Philadelphia Monday. And the merciless heat will continue, with the temperature expected to be at least 95 degrees every day of the convention after that.
Sanders, who at almost 75 is probably having his last hurrah this week, will likely do little to quell the passion of his backers. He already called for Wasserman Schultz’s head and got it. A socialist, he wasn’t even a Democrat until he ran for president. And in the fall, he’ll return to the Senate a nobody.
The Democratic Establishment thought it could steamroll the party’s base, maintaining the undemocratic superdelegate system and choosing a vice presidential candidate from within its ranks.
But democracy will have its say on the streets this week. And it may well cause Hillary to go the way of the candidate nominated in Chicago in 1968, the hapless Hubert Humphrey, who was defeated by another Republican Democrats loved to hate — Richard Nixon.