DNC: Let’s all have a good cry

    Listen

    It was an emotional night for delegates at the Democratic convention last night, but not everybody shared the same emotion.

    A lot of women who are Hillary Clinton delegates who spent years battling for gender equality were overcome as Clinton won the nomination.

    “I’m just so proud to be here tonight,” said Kathy Boockvar, an attorney who ran for Congress in Bucks County a few years ago. “You know what? Never again will mothers have to tell their daughters there’s never been a woman president.”

    Next to her was Val Arkoosh, a physician who also ran for Congress and is now a commissioner in Montgomery County. “I think Hillary Clinton personifies persistence and grit,” she said.

    When former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell spoke of what this meant for Clinton, his eyes were moist, and his voice trembled. I saw Arkoosh exchange a big hug with Sherrie Cohen, an attorney and Bernie Sanders delegate from Philadelphia. They’ve known each other for years.

    For Sanders delegates like Cohen, there was a different, powerful emotion — loss. Yes, they knew this was coming, and yes, they see the cause as a movement that will continue to make change. But for months, the movement has had an organization, a leader, and a clear goal. With the vote that part of the journey was truly, irrevocably over.

    Cohen plans to support Clinton for president, but she said Sanders supporters need a period of grieving first. “Any loss is something we have to mourn in our lives,” she told me, “and I think it will take some people a good period of time before they can commit to doing everything possible to defeat Donald Trump in the fall.”

    Show me the door, pleaseFor another group of Sanders supporters, the emotion was anger.

    An unknown number of them walked out of the arena after the vote, some with tape over their mouths to indicate their voices were silenced.

    “What the Democratic Party has done is disgusting,” said Georgia delegate Paula Olivares, seething with fury. “It’s disgraceful, it is shameless, and we should all as Americans be disgusted!”

    I was on the convention floor, and I wasn’t even aware of the walkout when it happened. There’s so much noise and so many people constantly moving in and out that I wasn’t the only one who missed it.

    More than 1,800 Sanders’ delegates are at the convention, and my guess is that ten percent or fewer left. Many Sanders delegates told me they’d been texted about the plan and opted not to join. But those who did leave were serious about it. They headed for a huge media tent next to the arena, where police kept them out with a phalanx of uniformed officers. The result was a teeming mass of angry delegates giving interviews to swarms of reporters who moved among them. To complete the circus, Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog was there doing his thing.

    “I saw you with a wig earlier,” one delegate told the needling pooch.

    “I was Debbie Wasserman-Schultz,” Triumph responded. “I had pearls and pasta hair.”

    After some back and forth, the delegate leaned for a selfie with him. Iowa delegate Chris Laursen called the convention a “four-day advertisement for Hillary Clinton,” and said he was angry the Sanders campaign had given up on platform and rules fights and had backed Clinton.

    “So you do you feel about Bernie Sanders today,” I asked. 

    He paused a moment.

    “You know, Bernie helped change my life,” he said. “He’s got to go his own path, and I’ve got to go my own path, and so do all these all these other people. So we still believe in taking the movement forward, and I wish all the best to my brother Bernie Sanders.”

    Our townThe crew on the NPR politics podcast this morning had high praise for Philadelphia. Sam Sanders called it a beautiful city.I’m hearing more nice feedback like that about center city at least. My colleague Maiken Scott did a piece on the Political Fest exhibits, and encountered plenty of happy visitors.

    I asked Rendell last night how he thought the city was doing, and he said it was fine, except for the transportation problems which he hopes they can address.Starting today, we’re having White House motorcades bomb through the city, shutting down major thoroughfares for periods and creating rolling gridlock.I’ll say something I’ve been saying since the Reagan days: It’s bullsh*t to shut down interstate highways in major cities during rush hour because the president or the VP is on the move.

    I don’t buy that it’s necessary for security. Keep the travel schedules and routes secret, use lights and sirens when you need to, and you can get the VIP’s where they need to be without screwing up the days of hundreds of thousands of people.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.