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DNC Day 1: ‘The choice is not even close,’ says Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders greets the crowd at the

Sen. Bernie Sanders greets the crowd at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Sanders: We must elect Clinton

As Bernie Sanders stood before the Democratic convention, many of his supporters were in tears. He choked up, too. Their long road had ended in disappointment, a closer-than-expected second place to Hillary Clinton, and some of his followers aren’t over it. Some may never be.

But Sanders made a forceful case based on the issues he had fought for — from affordable college to expanded health care to climate change — on why “the choice is not even close” between Clinton and Donald Trump.

“Any objective observer will conclude that — based on her ideas and her leadership — Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” Sanders said.

Healing the party’s rifts was the most urgent business on the first day of the convention. For more, read Newsday’s story by Yancey Roy.

Trump trolls Sanders on Twitter

“Sad to watch Bernie Sanders abandon his revolution. We welcome all voters who want to fix our rigged system and bring back our jobs.”

“Bernie Sanders totally sold out to Crooked Hillary Clinton. All of that work, energy and money, and nothing to show for it! Waste of time.”

Will they follow him to her?

Whether Sanders’ most fervent fans are getting the kind of catharsis that will melt their distaste for Clinton remains to be seen. Earlier Monday, the stage of their grief was decidedly in the anger phase.

The booed him at a daytime event when he called for them to support his former foe. They booed mentions of her name from the delegate seats and while marching in the streets. Feelings only hardened after emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee revealed its efforts to undercut him.

Some pro-Sanders delegates are even talking about contesting Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine as vice president. Read Newsday’s story by Laura Figueroa.

Michelle draws contrasts on character

First lady Michelle Obama gave an impassioned speech with a clear message for Sanders’ supporters, hailing Clinton as someone who did not get “angry or disillusioned” when Barack Obama defeated her in 2008.

“I trust Hillary to lead this country,” she said. And while not mentioning Trump by name, she spoke of teaching her daughters to “ignore those who questioned their father’s citizenship or faith.”

Heckle me? Heckle you!

Comedian and political activist Sarah Silverman, who had been a vocal Sanders backer, started hearing “Bernie” chants during her pitch for getting behind Clinton.

Exasperated, she exclaimed: “Can I just say to the ‘Bernie or Bust’ people, you’re being ridiculous.”

They got louder.

Read the story by Newsday’s Emily Ngo.

Trump bump

With party unity a worry, Clinton supporters had other reasons for anxiety: Two major new polls Monday showed Trump gained an edge after the Republican convention.

The CNN/ORC poll showed Trump ahead, 44% to 39% in a four-way matchup with Libertarian Gary Johnson (9%) and the Green Party’s Jill Stein (3%). In a head-to-head matchup, he led 48% to 45%.

Clinton gained ground among white voters with college degrees, but not as much as Trump widened his lead among white voters without a college degree.

A CBS News poll sees Trump up by 1 point when voters leaning toward a candidate are included, a margin unchanged when Johnson is added.

Taking the hint

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose reign as Democratic National Committee chairwoman is coming to an early end because of the email leaks, thought she’d at least be able to gavel the convention open Monday and closed on Thursday.

She gave up that idea, or was persuaded to, after getting roundly booed at a morning meeting by members of her home-state Florida delegation.

The take-away: The 1 percent

The parade of progressive voices Monday night, including Sanders, was designed to help coax his followers into the fold.

But they may be squirming Wednesday when another Clinton endorser takes the podium — former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who might have run himself as an independent had Sanders won the nomination. Read the column by Newsday’s Dan Janison.

FBI probes DNC email hack

The FBI is investigating the massive hack of DNC emails, and CNN reports U.S. officials suspect Russian involvement.

There has been a wave of Russian cyberattacks aimed at political organizations and academic think tanks in Washington, U.S. officials briefed on the investigations say.

Trump ridiculed Democrats’ suspicions that Russia is trying to help him against Clinton, tweeting: “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC emails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.”

Hold the applause

Some voices in greater Trumpland said that as enjoyable as it is to watch the Democrats squirm, the potential of Russian interference in U.S. elections is cause for concern.

“Sure, we’re having fun with the @wikileaks #DNCleak but this is a provocation by @KremlinRussia_E and must be dealt with. Stat,” tweeted former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo.

In the New York Observer, owned by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, former NSA analyst John Schindler writes, “I’m anything but a Hillary fan. ... However, I am far more troubled by the naked interference of the Kremlin and its spy agencies in American democracy.”

What to see Tuesday

The headliner is former President Bill Clinton. The other big event is the roll call of delegates for the Democratic nomination. For the full program, click here.

What else is happening

  • Clinton got a cool reception during an appearance at a national Veterans of Foreign Wars gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Former Vice President Al Gore endorsed Clinton via Twitter, citing “her qualifications and experience — and given the significant challenges facing our nation and the world ... including, especially, the global climate crisis.”
  • Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) channeled his past life as a “Saturday Night Live” comic from the convention stage: “I got my doctorate in megalomania studies from Trump University.” Ted Cruz’s popularity among Republicans has plummeted from 60% to 33% since his GOP convention speech in which he wouldn’t endorse Trump, according to the CNN/ORC poll.
  • The Democratic convention will have an edge in A-list star power. The first night included performances by Demi Lovato, who also spoke of her struggles with mental illness (Video link here). Paul Simon also sang, and Eva Longoria spoke of her Mexican heritage.
  • Former KKK leader David Duke concludes Trump hasn’t ruled out supporting his Senate candidacy in Louisiana. Trump, asked on “Meet the Press” Sunday if he would support a Democrat instead, said, “I guess, depending on who the Democrat [is], but the answer would be yes.”
  • Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills), who is retiring from the House, is among the names being floated to possibly become the new leader of the DNC.
  • The leaked emails also revealed that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is set to headline a closed-door reception that her leadership PAC Off the Sidelines and the Women’s Leadership Forum is holding at the convention, Newsday’s Tom Brune reports.

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