Winners and losers from Night 2 of the Democratic National Convention:
Hillary Clinton. For all the tumult surrounding the Bernie Sanders diehards, she officially made history as the first woman to be nominated for president by a major American political party. When she appeared live via video, with a little girl at her side, and told America’s girls that she might be the first woman president, but “one of you is next,” well, that was a powerful moment. She was slamming the “woman card” down on the table – and it seemed like a fitting thing to do.
Bill Clinton. The potential First Dude and former president gave a different kind of speech, an intensely personal narrative about their courtship and shared love of politics and public service. He went a bit long, but in the end he effectively parried the GOP convention’s “cartoon” portrait of his wife as “Crooked Hillary,” and reframed her as a proven “change maker” who can fix America’s problems. Odd phrasing, yes, but a smart thrust to boost her appeal to an electorate that’s desperate for change. If Team Hillary can make Bill’s image of her the dominant one in the electorate’s mind by November, she’s your next president.
Bernie Sanders. Class, class, class. That’s about all you can say about the democratic socialist-turned-Democratic Party insurgent’s graceful exit Tuesday from the presidential campaign. You could see the emotions washing across his face as he took the microphone to end the roll call vote by officially declaring his former campaign rival the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. What a contrast to Ted Cruz’s jaw-dropping slash-and-burn exit from the GOP convention. If 2017 finds a Clinton White House and a Democrat-controlled Senate, expect Sanders to come out of all this with with huuuge amounts of political clout.
Mothers of the Movement. The mothers of eight slain African Americans took center stage and delivered emotional, heartfelt pleas for understanding between police and minority communities.
Donald Trump. As the single most unpopular presidential nominee in history, he knows he can only win by making Hillary hate-able. The Democrats, night by night, are administering the political triage her battered image so badly needs. Another problem for him: rising concerns of Russian involvement in the DNC email hack as a means of helping Trump. It’d be one thing if embarrassed Democrat politicos were the only ones worried about this. But intelligence officials are increasingly sure there’s something worth worrying about here, and the FBI is investigating. If proof surfaces that minions for Trump’s Russian man-crush, Vladimir Putin, have been trying to help the billionaire’s presidential push, this internet-era break-in will make Watergate look like middle-school antics.
Expect the calls for his still-secret tax returns to grow louder and more urgent.
Terry McAuliffe. The Virginia governor and longtime friend of the Clintons committed a huge unforced error by suggesting that Hillary Clinton will reverse field after the election and support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal so thoroughly hated that it routinely draws impassioned jeers from Sanders partisans on the convention floor. He later tried to walk it back, and Team Clinton had to roll out an emphatic denial. With friends like these...
The Bernie-or-Bust crowd. Right after the roll call vote, Sanders partisans invaded the media tent and staged a silent protest. Many had their mouths taped, symbolically displaying their outrage over being forced to pipe down and let Hillary’s coronation proceed. Their idealism has been admirable, but they seem to be drawing more exasperated eye-rolls than admiring looks as the convention winds on.
Alicia Keys fans. The night ended with just two quick songs from the Grammy-winning singer. Really, DNC planners? Really?