Democrats launch convention in the midst of Wasserman-Schultz scandal
The resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee made for a rocky start on Sunday, as the Florida congresswoman heeded Sanders’ longstanding call to leave as party chief. Her departure comes a few days after the publication of 19,000 hacked emails, which the Vermont senator said confirmed his belief that the national party played favorites for Clinton during the primary.
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“The party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people,” Sanders said.
Wasserman Schultz was heckled at a breakfast of Florida delegates, with opponents shouting, “Shame!”
Wasserman Schultz told the crowd during a raucous scene that “we have to make sure that we move together in a unified way.” But supporters of Bernie Sanders shouted at her during her brief remarks to the breakfast.
Trump appeared to relish the Democratic chaos on Sunday, writing on Twitter: “The Dems Convention is cracking up.” His campaign chief, Paul Manafort, went further and called on Clinton to drop out of the race altogether.
At the Republican convention, Trump cast himself as the law-and-order candidate in a nation suffering under crime and hobbled by immigration, sticking to the gloom-and-doom theme. As he accepted the Republican nomination, Trump said: “The legacy of Hillary Clinton is death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”
Sanders will address the convention Monday night, and Obama will speak on Wednesday night. Other high-profile speakers include first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden.
They will try to overcome party disunity that seems certain to also be a factor in Philadelphia, given Wasserman Schultz’s departure and the general unhappiness among many Sanders supporters intensified by both the emails and by Clinton’s decision to pick Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia as her running mate.
“If they think they can win without half the party, let them lose,” said Andrew Fader, 27, of New York, who was wearing a “Bernie” T-shirt on Sunday near the Liberty Bell. “And I’ll move to Canada.”
Norman Solomon, a delegate who supports Sanders, said Wasserman Schultz’s removal was unlikely to soothe those who back the Vermont senator. He said there is talk among Sanders’ delegates of walking out during Kaine’s acceptance speech or turning their backs as a show of protest. Sanders’ supporters believe Kaine is not liberal enough.
Sanders endorsed Clinton two weeks ago after pressing for the party platform to include a $15-an-hour minimum wage, debt-free college and an expansion of access to health care.
Liberal Sanders supporters pushed for changes to the party nominating process at a meeting of the convention rules committee Saturday. They did not succeed in passing an amendment abolishing superdelegates, but they did win a compromise deal with the Clinton camp — a “unity commission” that will review the overall procedures and will seek to limit the role of superdelegates in future elections.
Away from the convention proceedings, thousands of demonstrators walked Philadelphia’s sweltering streets on Sunday, marching down the city’s famed Broad Street, cheering, chanting and beating drums — and chanting, “Hell no, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary”
“Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary’s orchestrated collusion cheated thousands of honest Americans, who have invested enormous amounts of money and personal time for real change,” said one of the marchers, Dan Haggerty, 54, an electrician from California.
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