After a boisterous opening night to the Democratic National Convention, here are the biggest winners and losers:
Michelle Obama: Hillary has a likeability and charisma problem. She needs to join Melania Trump and take some notes from the current First Lady, who seems to ooze such copious amounts of both qualities that she could loan some to both women and have plenty to spare. On a night when speakers praised Hillary at the risk of Bernie boo-birds ringing out, the current first lady gave the former first lady a glowing personal endorsement that made a convincing case for electing America’s first woman president.
Unruly Sanders partisans – the loudest of them in the California delegation – showed respect. Even Donald Trump, livetweeting the convention himself, went silent.
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She stung Trump repeatedly, and hard, pointedly noting her own advice to her daughters not to stoop to the level of bullies: “When they go low,” she said, “we go high.” It was a rousing speech, delivered with passion and precision that brought unity to the boisterous hall. Tweeted Republican strategist Rick Wilson: “This speech is a grand slam for Dems. Over the back wall, ball in orbit.”
Bernie Sanders. After the Bernie-or-Bust crowd booed him earlier in the day when he told them it was time to get behind Hillary Clinton, some wondered whether we could see the odd sight of Sanders getting booed during his own primetime convention address. Didn’t happen. Love for the guy washed across the arena as he appeared to speak. Tears flowed among his young supporters, and they serenaded him with cheers of thanks and appreciation. A remarkable feat for any politician, in any year.
Cory Booker. The guy had to push past Bernie diehards’ chants of “Roll Call!” to deliver an eloquent, impassioned speech around the theme “We Will Rise” – a call for Americans to reject Trump’s divisive rhetoric and stand together on shared American ideals. By the end he had Bill Clinton perched on the edge of his seat, clapping and smiling in appreciation.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The outgoing Democratic National Committee chair tried to hang on to a piece of the convention spotlight despite the furor over the leaked DNC emails, but was unceremonious booed off the stage by Bernie Sanders delegates. She didn’t even get to gavel the convention to order. A tough reelection campaign against a Sanders acolyte awaits in Florida.
Hillary Clinton and the Bernie-or-Bust Diehards Who Hate Her. This is how bad Hillary’s first day of the convention went. Bernie diehards are so angry that they provoked even pro-Bernie comedienne Sarah Silverman to rebuke them. After she extolled the virtues of Bernie’s campaign, she said she was happily and enthusiastically supporting Clinton for president.
Which, of course, prompted “Feel the Bern!” chants from the Bernie dead-enders. Said Silverman: “To the Bernie or Bust people, you’re being ridiculous.” An extended battle of chants began between Hillary and Bernie supporters, which sounded vaguely like “Bern-a-ry! Or Hill-a-Bern!” at various points.
Paul Simon: Poor guy was sent out to sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” right in the midst of the turmoil. He sounded as over-the-hill as he looked. The word “caterwauling” could fairly apply. Twitter wags jokingly suggested that DNC staffers missed a chance to show some real unity by bringing Art Garfunkel out with him. As Simon warbeled unsteadily across the finish line, one critic tweeted: “And don’t come back unless you have Ladysmith Black Mambazo with you!” Ouch.--Eric Frazier