There was a palpable tension in the room as Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took the stage to gavel in the first day of the Democratic National Convention. After all, outgoing DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz had just recently decided to not preside over the convention as a result of email leaks that revealed the DNC’s strong preference for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. In explaining her decision to pass on her role to Rawlings-Blake, who also serves as DNC Secretary, Wasserman-Schultz described how she wanted to start the convention off on a “happy note” by removing herself completely from it. Unfortunately, her absence did not satisfy everyone.
Throughout the first day of the convention, Sanders delegates did not hesitate to express their dissent and wave signs during many of the initial speeches. Every time Hillary Clinton’s name was invoked, chants like “Bernie!” and “No TPP!” would break out throughout the venue. It is understandable that Bernie’s supporters feel outraged. Everything they had been railing against–ranging from Hillary’s untrustworthiness to the sense that the political system is rigged in favor of the establishment–appears to have been confirmed by the email leak.
Despite the recent developments, Bernie Sanders implored to his delegates earlier today at Pennsylvania Convention Center to support Hillary Clinton. He was met with boos and jeers. Even though he stressed that supporting him and voting for Hillary Clinton are not mutually exclusive, many of his supporters do not seem to agree: the revolution Bernie Sanders set In motion is not ending anytime soon and there does not seem to be much he can do about it.
After being interrupted multiple times during her speech, Ohio Representative Marsha Fudge firmly stated, “We’re all Democrats and we need to act like it.” Indeed, in order to win in November, Democrats need to unite and rally together against Donald Trump. The first day of the convention could have been smoother, but after such a divisive primary season, healing and reconciliation within the party may come more slowly.