Can Barnburner Speeches Save Democratic Unity in Philadelphia?

When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level,” First Lady Michelle Obama said during her DNC speech. ”No. Our motto is, when they go low, we go high.” 

letsmove.gov

First Lady Michelle Obama helped open the Democratic National Convention with a barnburner speech that brought the house down. It was a speech that we could hear about for years to come.

From the first lady’s speech:

That is the story of this county. The story that has brought me to this stage tonight.


The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. 

And I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”

It was followed later by a strong endorsement of Hillary Clinton from Senator Bernie Sanders, who laid out his most compelling argument to date for his supporters to get behind Clinton in November.

But the day began with booing and bickering, which continued into the night on the floor of the convention hall in Philadelphia. There’s no sign that protesters will stand down throughout the week. Could the discord rival or exceed what we saw from Republicans last week in Cleveland?

Michelle Obama probably delivered one of the most striking pleas for unitiy,” says Detroit News political reporter Jonathan Oosting, who is in Philadelphia and speaks with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson from the convention. Oosting notes that almost all of the speakers heard jeers from the crowd last night, but nobody booed the first lady when she got up to speak. “She commands a certain amount of respect and seemed to get it — and, perhaps, had a better chance of getting her message across.” 

 

Nolan Finley

Oosting says some of the more hardcore Bernie supporters he spoke with after last night’s speeches are still not on board with Clinton’s nomination. But he thinks we may have already seen the peak of visible division at the DNC this week.

In terms of large disruptions,” he says, “I think as the week goes on there may be less and less opportunities for this sort of division to really be a focus of the convention.”

Detroit News Editorial Board Editor Nolan Finley also joins Detroit Today from Philly. 

The first lady gave a hell of a speech and made me wonder why they hadn’t used her more or given her a bigger role these last seven-and-a-half years,” says Finley. “As for Bernie… this sure is the year of the old crank. I hope that’s the last lecture we have to hear from him for a while.”

To here more of the conversation, click on the audio player above.

Image credit: letsmove.gov

This post is a part of 2016 Elections: Issues & Candidates.

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