They’re gaveling in shortly for the second night of the Democratic convention, which will start with the roll call and the official nomination of Hillary Clinton for president.
Speakers will include former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, former Governor of Vermont Howard Dean, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former President Jimmy Carter (via video), among many others — including Dustin Parsons, a fifth grade teacher from Bauxite.
The headliner: Bill Clinton. It’s a big night for Bubba, who will have the unprecedented role of speaking both as the former Democratic president and as the spouse of the current nominee.
The Washington Post’s David Maraniss looks at Clinton’s convention history:
He has been speaking at Democratic conventions since 1976, when the Carter team handed him a modest assignment to praise Harry Truman, and the results over the years have shown him at his best and worst. He was humiliated while delivering the keynote speech for Michael Dukakis in Atlanta in 1988. Delegates yakked on the floor, barely listening. The lights in the hall were too bright. And he droned on so long that cheers erupted when he reached the words “in conclusion.” His own acceptance speeches had only a few memorable lines — from a place called Hope in 1992, the bridge to the 21st century in 1996. Four years ago in Charlotte, he articulated the case for the Democrats and against the Republicans with a power and simple clarity that Obama could not summon.
That speech, lifting the party out of a mild funk, might have been his most meaningful at a convention since 1992. Until this one.
Politico, meanwhile, asks whether Bill Clinton can “win back the Bubba vote”:
With four months to go until Election Day, the presumptive nominee’s husband is “singularly obsessed” with bringing back to the fold white voters who twice elected him to the Oval Office, according to a source familiar with his thinking.
He is laser-focused on Florida and sees a win in the battleground state as the checkmate move to beat Donald Trump. But Bill Clinton, who has virtually disappeared from the campaign trail since the June 7 primaries, is eager to tour the Rust Belt states and even the red South to cut into Trump’s margins as well.
And Greg Sargent at the Washington Post wonders whether Clinton can expose that “Trump’s trade agenda is nothing but a flim-flam act”:
On the one hand, Bill has provided Donald Trump with a powerful weapon to wield against Hillary Clinton. Trump regularly rails at NAFTA, which passed during Bill Clinton’s presidency, as proof that both Clintons — especially Hillary — belong to a corrupt Beltway elite that for decades has shafted American workers in the industrial Midwest, where Trump hopes to win the election.
On the other hand, there may be no other figure in the Democratic Party who is as equipped as Bill Clinton is to make a successful appeal to the Rust Belt blue collar whites that Trump’s trade bluster is designed to win over.
The former president was tapped to speak at the 2012 convention partly to mitigate President Obama’s deficit among those voters, because, as David Axelrod put it, there “isn’t anybody on the planet” who is better at making a big picture argument about where the economy has been, where it is now, and where it is going than is Bill Clinton.
One potential source of drama: Clinton has been prickly with hecklers in the past, and there’s a decent chance there will be a handful shouting out during his speech. Will he keep his cool?
Speaking of hecklers, recommended read from Emmett Rensin at the Baffler, who notes that the media dramatically overstated the level of contentiousness at the convention (and adds that the DNC was being silly if they were worried about a few boos):
But despite the reports of supporters “hijacking” the convention and turning it into an “ugly family feud,” of sore losers booing “so much that by halfway through the evening they began to grow hoarse,” of an “angry uproar” and “repeated disruptions,” this was not a convention in disarray. There were some boos early on, but those—after a quick text message from Bernie Sanders—subsided. It wasn’t until 9 p.m., when Sarah Silverman inexplicably announced from the stage that “Bernie or Busters” were “ridiculous,” that a renewed chant of “Bernie, Bernie!” broke out for nearly thirty seconds. Over the three hours that followed, all the way until Bernie Sanders managed to deliver a speech despite efforts by his supporters to filibuster a Clinton nomination via sustained cheering, and the convention was gaveled to a close for the night, basic peace prevailed. A few boos were heard, even a few for Bernie Sanders, but there have been C-SPAN segments in recent memory more contentious than last night’s convention proceedings.
There wasn’t so much as a floor fight. No delegations walked out. When the platform came up for a vote, the ayes had it without any more protest than some scattered no’s. When speakers announced, one after another, their enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton, they were not interrupted or shouted down. When it was announced that a picture would be taken of the full convention and that this photo would require stillness from every person in the hall for well over a minute, it went off without incident. …
This is not a raucous convention. It is not even contentious, at least not in comparison to the average party gathering of the latter twentieth century, before we became accustomed to the perfect choreography of recent years. Despite some early invocations, it is nothing at all like Chicago in 1968, and it never threatened to be. A few boos, while potentially embarrassing to party managers, do not constitute a rebellion. Inside the hall, they barely caused an inconvenience.