I thought I wouldn't like Lena Dunham, but I liked her, and America
Ferrara. They both seemed honest, Lena ruthlessly so. "As a survivor..."
That's an honest place.
"She made it possible," Lena said, "for
my fellow sexual assault survivors in my home State of New York to have
access to safe immediate care in any emergency room."
made it possible for women who are victims of sexual assaults to have
access to safe immediate care, that's only honest progress. Dunham
seemed almost apologetic to be scoring points.
Hillary was a First Lady, then a US Senator. I don't know specifically which New York State law Dunham is referring to.
Regarding the President's speech, I felt it fell it was like watching a
PBS biography. As a speech, it far short of what it should have tried
to do. It wasn't a speech that engaged the right at all; independents,
barely. It was lined at Democrats, some of whom – many of whom – weren't
in the room, many of whom are wondering how it is that Bernie Sanders
can so quickly evaporate. To me, as I listened to everything from Bill
ticking off names of obscure activists to the listing of impressive laws
to the advancing of so many things abroad, I ended up admiring Sanders
all the more: how did he do so much alone, win whole states alone,
mobilize whole masses alone, just by talking mostly about banks, and
without a President of his own in his corner?
As for the
procedural part of the day, especially the roll call, there were
anomalies, departures from tradition, strains of credulity that made me
wince again. Sanders won popular vote Michigan; Hillary took more
delegates in first and only roll call. (That is one state already being
talked of as more vulnerable to going red than ordinarily thought).
Sanders also won West Virginia; yet Hillary got more delegates there.
Hillary will not win West Virginia.
But the worst to me, maybe
the low point of the whole convention, was done earlier than that. It
was done when Governor Jerry Brown himself took over the California
delegation, and reported our votes for Hill and Bern as per the
superdelegate fudgings and Alex Padilla's errant decrees, finalizing the
enormously disturbing failure of democracy that was the California
Obviously, when the party vote is the opposite of the
people's vote, this is not democracy – liberals should already know that
from Bush v. Gore. Obviously, when the AP calls the results of an
entire nominating process the day before California votes, and the
Governor needs to step in to seal the deal, that is not democracy. Jerry
Brown should know that from NBC's premature calling of the 1980
election, thought to have impacted the whole west coast vote.
good will of Lena and America Ferrara was tempered too with something
less than that. When the DNC's communications director not only became
interested in adding protesters to a Trump rally, but also did so in a
way to make it look like Bernie added them, that wasn't democracy
either. That the DNC hasn't dismissed Luis Miranda...well, what can you
say. I guess the calculation here is that the need to defeat the
unethical Trump overrides all concern for ethics on your own side.
Finally, during the roll call: there no pass from New York, to put
Clinton over top, as per home state convention tradition. Bernie didn't
call for nomination by acclamation, as Hillary did for Obama. That was
his own bridge too far. Of all the things he ultimately has capitulated
to, who knows why he didn't capitulate to that. Maybe because his
brother was in the room.
The letdown coming when Hillary's own insincerity shines through is going to be extravagant.
The people who spoke last night, with a couple of exceptions, were the
real talent of the Democratic party, for better and worse, and last
night with their muffled endorsements of Hillary they reminded me of
emergency room doctors, obliged to try to save the gangbanger who only
moments ago was firing at the hospital.
It's always been
discouraging to me – but also made it easier for me to keep a
journalistic arm's length from them – to observe how Democrats use phony
econ to keep racketeering their party. (The idea that either Hillary or
Kaine is going to fix this is completely ludicrous, and everyone knows
it). Housing and college are more expensive than ever, and crush young
lives like debtor prisons, and those two enormous problems are why there
are so many Bernie people in the seats. But Michelle Obama says "Don’t
let someone tell you this country isn’t great — that we need to make it
great again. Because, right now, this country is the greatest country on
Earth." And everyone nods along, even media.
I think the
election will come down to not all these trained seal clap lines but how
well someone can make the case about how to make America a place where
people under 40 might someday actually thrive on their own. E.g., when
Michelle studied sociology at Princeton, that top-priced elite school
cost about half as much as a newish state school with all the faux red
brick costs to attend to-day, where they offer vocational training in
phlebotomy and criminal justice and pretend that's going to college just
like Michelle did. If Michelle wanted to live off campus in the early
'80's, she could pay $300 a month for a single, not $1650 as she would
It remains a great country for Michelle: she's 52 years
old, could indulge her elective interest in African-American studies at
an Ivy League school, and even attend law school without her family even
taking a second on their house.
But it's not that same great
country for the Berners. And when the Berners started to express their
misgivings yesterday, Sarah Silverman, a comedienne known for being
vulgar and not in the democratic sense of the word, shouted at them
"You're being ridiculous!"
Maybe it's more than ridiculous to me
to have Sarah Silverman addressing a national convention. (Two days ago,
she tweeted something about how her current period was a bad one). Media
gave her a complete pass on her outburst – I wonder why?
among the most discouraging moments I heard last night was that the
persistent claim that the Democratic party was "the party of democracy."
Can we say really read the DNC emails and say this? Can we recall how
Clinton ops had found such an effective way through AP to discourage
Californians from voting and say this? Can we say that when the head of
the party voted for the War Resolution? Frankly, it felt more like
"democracy" to watch sulking Ted Cruz not endorse Trump and instead
telling people instead to "vote their conscience."
Cruz's advice is advice I can take. Getting Sarah Silverman to snap at
the crowd "You're being ridiculous" – who's really ridiculous here?