History In The Making On the Floor of the DNC

Cell Phones Capture The Moment Photo: Lee Gleiser

Whether you are voting Republican, Democratic or have yet to decide there is no arguing that “night one” of the Democratic National Convention was one for the history books.  This convention was supposed to be centered on Hillary Clinton as she was anointed the Democrats’ choice for President. But the evening turned out to be about so much more.

Storm clouds gathered around the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa. Possibly a sign of ominous things to come?

The day had begun with plenty of controversy as the DNC “invited” DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz to resign after WikiLeaks leaked 19,000 internal emails. Before the day was over Shultz announced she would not even “gavel” to open the Convention’s proceedings. She was out.

As the skies opened up at the Wells Fargo Center, delegates arrived in droves and drenched despite their rain ponchos. No umbrellas allowed!  That is a security regulation and security is tight at the Center. No exceptions!

And the weather seemed to match their mood, they were angry. There were many Bernie Sanders supporters in the crowd none too happy about the WikiLeaks revelation that the DNC had thrown their support behind Hillary long ago, leaving Bernie Sanders to fend for himself in the political fight of his life. He’d been accusing the DNC of rigging the systemfor quite some time.  He’d been right.

As the evening’s festivities began the air was electric, the mood intense. Was it the storm outside? Was it the storm brewing inside? Delegates came to hear what their party officials had to say, but they also came to speak, to shout, to chant, to yell.

Senator Cory Bookertook the stage early on and riled the crowd. He tapped into their energy addressing them, “My fellow Americans,” and they responded over and over again, “We will Rise.” The chant grew louder each time gaining in momentum and emotion, signs waving in the air . . . a sea of green. There would be no stopping this tide.

When the First Lady took the stage there was no question. Michelle Obama was in the house. She reminded us that the White House was built by slaves and that now her daughters play on its front yard with their dog. She wholly endorsed Hillary Clinton as a sign of promise and hope to her daughters and to ours that a woman can be President of the United States. Michelle was on her mark and made her mark. The applause was deafening. Purple signs reading “Michelle” were as large as the people waving them.

And just when it seemed the applause couldn’t get any louder, just when it seemed the intensity of emotion couldn’t get any stronger, Bernie Sanders took the stage. The applause and cheers went on and on and on. Bernie Sanders was the man of the hour, even if he wouldn’t be the DNC’s presidential nominee. He urged party unity. He urged his supporters to throw their support behind Hillary. He reminded everyone that his campaign took flight on the wings of millions of supporters who donated on average just $27.

I’ll say it again, because it bears repeating, at a Convention that is designed to be all about Hillary, the man of the hour last night was Bernie Sanders. It will be interesting to see how all this plays out tonight at the convention when the  DNC will hold a formal roll call of all states and all territories. Each delegation will declare their vote. While no one expects Bernie to win the nomination, there is no question he’ll receive a lot of support.

Storm Clouds Gather Outside the Wells Fargo Center Photo: Lee Gleiser

 

 

Delegates Arrive Drenched  Photo: Lee Gleiser

Senator Cory Booker Rouses the Crowd Photo: Lee Gleiser

A Sea of Signs Photo: Lee Gleiser

Michelle Obama Takes the Stage Photo: Lee Gleiser

Michelle Signs Are Almost Bigger Than the Delegates Photo: Lee Gleiser

A Clinton Supporter on the Floor Photo: Lee Gleiser

Bernie Sanders is the Man of the Hour Photo: Lee Gleiser

 

Bernie, the Delegates are “Feelin’ the Bern” Photo: Lee Gleiser

 

One Response to “History In The Making On the Floor of the DNC”

  1. Nina Flournoy says:

    Love how you captured the energy of the experience. Such an amazing culmination of events.