The 2016 DNC makes history in Philadelphia

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Liam Higgins

The view from Philadelphia

Liam Higgins, Copy Editor

Marking the end of the hard-fought primaries and caucuses, the Democrats hosted their national convention in Philadelphia from July 25th through the 28th. The two remaining primary contestants, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, strongly opposed each other in the primaries; however, as the primaries drew to a close, it became evident that Mr. Sanders would not win the nomination, and he endorsed Mrs. Clinton.  Accordingly, the Democrats took on the phrase “stronger together,” implying party unity between supporters of Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton.

The first day of the Democratic convention started off tumultuous; several classified DNC emails were leaked the day before the convention started. These emails heavily implied that the Democratic Party was actively trying to undermine Senator Sanders in favor of Secretary Clinton, resulting in the resignation of the party’s controversial chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

The Democratic Party was undoubtedly pushed towards the left this election cycle. The party’s platform, which is the document showing the policy positions the candidate will generally align with, was the most progressive in its history. It included support for a $15 minimum wage and set a path towards a public option for health care.

“As was the case in 2008, President Obama’s first election, the Democrats had the advantage of responding to the Republicans and painted the picture of a nation on the right track with more challenges to face,” AP Government teacher Mr. Daniel Bachman said.

This first night also featured several big names in the Democratic Party. The first to speak was First Lady Michelle Obama, who delivered a powerful speech endorsing Mrs. Clinton.

“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” Mrs. Obama said, highlighting the incredible progress that the United States has made throughout its history.

Next to speak was Senator Elizabeth Warren, who thanked Bernie Sanders for reminding the Democratic Party of what it should be fighting for. She also delivered scathing remarks about Trump, saying that he “takes advantage of a rigged system.”

The closing speaker of the night was fellow presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who thanked and gave much praise to his supporters. Senator Sanders’ speech attempted to persuade his supporters to vote for Secretary Clinton come November in an attempt to unify the two factions of the party.

On day two of the convention, the official roll call of the delegates was taken, and Hillary Clinton formally became the Democratic nominee for president. The second night featured a speech from Bill Clinton, who reminisced about the times that he and Hillary Clinton had shared and spoke about her volunteer work.

Day three seemed partly focused on the issue of gun violence.  Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy gave an emotional speech on the subject, in which he discussed the Sandy Hook tragedy. He said that he has had “enough of children dying in classrooms.” Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a victim of gun violence herself, stated that Secretary Clinton would “stand up to the gun lobby.”

The third night featured Vice President Joe Biden’s passionate and candid speech, which roused the crowd and praised Hillary Clinton. He spoke of “the unbreakable spirit of the people of America.” Later, Senator Tim Kaine gave his speech and formally accepted the vice presidential nomination of his party. He talked about his volunteer work in Honduras and even spoke several lines in Spanish. He viciously attacked Trump, mocking the Republican nominee’s habit of saying , “Believe me.”  

President Obama closed out the third night with his speech. He emphasized the major changes that he had pushed and achieved during his administration, implying that Hillary Clinton would continue making similar change and progress.

On the fourth and final day of the convention, one of the earlier speeches stood out amongst the others and caused the most uproar. Khizr Khan, father of Humayun S.M. Khan, an Army Captain killed in the line of duty, railed against Trump, saying that the Republican candidate had not sacrificed anything in his life and that he did not trust Mr. Trump to uphold the Constitution, citing Trump’s support for a ban on Muslim immigrants. This speech would not have caused much controversy were it not for Trump’s reaction. Trump pushed back on some of the comments, claiming that he had made sacrifices in his life. Trump even went further to criticize the Khan family, causing a great uproar from both parties.

On the final night, Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination of her party for president, a moment years in the making, both for Mrs. Clinton and women throughout the nation. Secretary Clinton became the first woman ever to become a major party’s presidential nominee. She crowned this moment with a speech that focused heavily on policy as well as the historic achievement she had accomplished.“When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit,” Mrs. Clinton said.  She also used more progressive rhetoric in her speech, presumably to try to win over supporters of Mr. Sanders.

“All of the people who spoke at the DNC did an absolutely incredible job. This election has really been quite interesting, and I think that all the guest speakers did a great job in terms of keeping the entire convention very professional and informative. Personally, I am not 100% ‘Pro-Hillary,’ but if I could, I would still vote for her, because despite everything, I will always be 100% ‘Anti-Trump,’ ” junior and AP US History student Alex Valentine said.

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