Metro-East News

Dems united against Trump, ready to bring it home

Former Vice President Joe Biden takes the stage during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Former Vice President Joe Biden takes the stage during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. AP/File

Now that Hillary Clinton has clinched the nomination, Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention focused on moving forward and maintaining unity against the Republicans.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Convention Center hosted traditional Democratic caucuses such as the Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, the Small Business Council and a Disabilities Council, among others.

The Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus kicked off the day with hopes of connecting to more voters and urging Democrats to look beyond the convention.

Stephanie Valencia, at the Hispanic caucus, pushed the importance of connecting to minority voters. “Minority, millennial voters prefer political messages of aspiration and inspiration,” she said.

Though this may be true, many millennial voters, especially within the Sanders camp, are feeling disillusioned.

Following Sanders’ request that the convention suspend procedural rules and count all delegate votes for Clinton Tuesday evening, about 100 Sanders supporters promptly walked out of the Wells Fargo Center and proceeded to stage a sit-in in the media pavilion adjacent to the Center.

Protestors flooded the pavilion and disrupted pedestrian traffic before police were able to barricade the front door, blocking the way for more of them to enter.

Contention within the Sanders camp was not lost on those speaking at the caucus meetings Wednesday morning.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, addressing the Black Caucus, said he does not think Sanders’ supporters should vote for a third-party candidate.

“A protest vote for somebody other than Hillary Clinton is a vote for Donald Trump,” Holder said.

Holder continued by trying to impose upon the audience the truth of what a Trump presidency would mean.

“Who is going to be on the Supreme Court? Trump makes that decision. Now think about the justices that Donald Trump would appoint, I mean think about that. Really think about that,” he said.

Holder continued by mentioning some Supreme Court decisions that have been seen as detrimental to some Democrats, most notably the Citizen’s United decision.

“If you want a Supreme Court that reflects the will of the people, that’s going to look out for (the African-American) community, but not only that, look out for the vast majority of the American people, you better vote for Hillary Clinton,” Holder said.

Dr. Pam Gronemeyer, a physician from the 13th Congressional District of Illinois and a Sanders delegate, is also pragmatic about this year’s election.

“We have to move forward because if we stay the way we are — I mean, it’s bad. This is a crisis situation. This is an important election,” she said.

Along with many others who attended this year’s convention, Gronemeyer is well aware of the Bernie-or-Bust contention.

In response to the impromptu sit-in by the Sanders supporters Tuesday night, she simply said, “It’s a free country. They have a right to protest and show their displeasure.”

On Wednesday night, the Bernie-or-Bust supporters attempted to enter the media pavilion for a second time to protest against Clinton’s nomination.

Although the Bernie-or-Bust supporters have been causing a ruckus throughout the week, many are still united with the rest of the Democratic delegates against Trump. And unity, above all, has been the main message of the convention.

“For the unity message, I think people are going to have to go home and really think about it. Think about what it means if Trump gets elected. What does it mean if Bernie-or-Bust people don’t vote?” Gronemeyer said.

Tony West, assistant attorney general and speaker at the Black Caucus, managed to see the good in the division among Sanders delegates. “Controversy is the laboratory of progress,” he said.

Gronemeyer is attending the DNC not only as a delegate, but as a member of the party’s platform committee.

“The progress that has been made so far is evidenced in the platform,” Gronemeyer said. “Many of the progressive policies from the Sanders campaign have been integrated, making it one of the most progressive platforms ever.”

Although strides have been made, Gronemeyer said there is much more to do after the convention ends on Thursday. She is part of a group called the Southern Illinois People for Progress and plans on bringing much of the issues that were discussed this week back home. “The work can’t end here,” Gronemeyer said.

The message to Democrats from Day 3 was clear: keep working hard and bring it home. As Regina Thomas, a pastor who addressed the Black Caucus Wednesday morning said, “We can do the same thing for Hillary Clinton that we did for Barack Obama. We just have to keep up the good work.”

Editor’s note: Taylor Schwartz is a journalism student at Temple University. The Journalism Department at Temple is partnering with McClatchy newspapers, including the News-Democrat, to provide locally-tailored coverage of the Democratic National Convention.