By the opening of the Democrats’ convention Monday, it became clear that despite Bernie Sanders’ endorsement, Hillary Clinton never signed on to his “political revolution.”
Quite the opposite, it seems.
By the time the Vermont senator took the stage in Philadelphia, the events that followed his concession conspired to embarrass him before his supporters.
Some even booed his mention earlier in the day of the nominee-to-be.
Most recently, there were the Democratic National Committee emails leaked on the eve of the parley.
In them, now-departing chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz cursed Sanders’ campaign manager. A highlighting of Sanders’ presumed atheism was discussed. Also, Wasserman Schultz verbally fumed at his staying in the race, noting he’d never been a registered Democrat.
All this is awkward for those involved.
None of it is surprising.
Wasserman Schultz in 2008 was co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. President Barack Obama never replaced her as DNC chair. All along, Sanders supporters complained of a tilt against them.
Wasserman Schultz was widely expected to go soon anyway — for reasons predating Sanders’ emergence.
But Clinton’s political distance from Sanders and his loyalists remains more significant than a bunch of snarky memos.
Billionaire ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg is due to address the convention. Flirting months ago with a third-party candidacy, the defender of Wall Street’s role complained about “partisan extremism” and “scapegoating” in the race — an implicit twin shot at Sanders and Donald Trump.
The Clinton camp made it known they believed — correctly, as it turned out — that Bloomberg wouldn’t run unless Sanders won the Democratic nomination.
Some political activists remember the last national convention addressed by Bloomberg. In 2004, while a registered Republican, he stood up at the GOP’s convention in Madison Square Garden and declared his support for President George W. Bush for re-election.
Outside the convention hall, police acting on top-level orders carried out mass arrests of protesters, reporters, legal observers and bystanders. The city later paid an $18 million settlement for wrongful actions, negotiated by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Perhaps the most significant symbolic rebuff of the Sanders agenda came with Clinton’s choice of Sen. Tim Kaine for vice president. Kaine previously backed controversial trade deals and has a profile the Sanders camp finds too close to Wall Street.
Maybe part of the plan is for Clinton to offset the idea that Sanders — and to a lesser degree Sen. Elizabeth Warren — pushed her leftward.
Maybe we’ll find out when Russian hackers drop some more email.
But Clinton did win the primaries, after all. As it was for Donald Trump in Cleveland last week, it’s really her convention to shape.