With Hillary Rodham Clinton anointed as the Democratic Party candidate for president all’s over bar the shouting at the organisation’s 2016 national convention in Philadelphia. Admittedly there seems to have been a fair bit of shouting though it was certainly not as great – or vitriolic – as the American press have made it out to be. Indeed, the disdain of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the party’s supposedly neutral governing body, and it’s sympathisers in the US news media for those questioning the long-predicted Clinton selection has been quite extraordinary. Revelations about the DNC’s undermining of the challenge posed by rival candidate Bernie Sanders, while boosting the Clinton campaign, have simply added to the impression of a party that exists for its leadership, not its membership (which reminds one of Britain’s progressive Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and his unending battle with the party’s conservative parliamentarians and celebrity hangers-on). Emmett Rensin examines some of the supposedly raucous controversy for the Baffler, acknowledging that any criticism of the all-powerful Clinton machine is simply more grist to the establishment’s mill, like the largely mythical, organised online trolls of the “Bernie Bros” (which, again, brings to mind the “Cybernats” so hysterically reviled by the British – by which I mean, Greater England – press during the independence referendum campaign in Scotland, and who coincidentally disappeared from the headlines once it was over):
“Chaos in Philadelphia! Unity shattered before the Democratic National Convention could begin! A fight brewing, a convention divided, a Revolt on the Convention Floor! Hot off a contentious weekend that saw Debbie Wasserman Schultz resign her position as DNC chairwoman, the convention had barely begun before reports began pouring out of booing and—
Well, just booing, really. That became The Story of night one at the Democratic National Convention.
But despite the reports of supporters “hijacking” the convention and turning it into an “ugly family feud,” of sore losers booing “so much that by halfway through the evening they began to grow hoarse,” of an “angry uproar” and “repeated disruptions,” this was not a convention in disarray. There were some boos early on, but those—after a quick text message from Bernie Sanders—subsided. It wasn’t until 9 p.m., when Sarah Silverman inexplicably announced from the stage that “Bernie or Busters” were “ridiculous,” that a renewed chant of “Bernie, Bernie!” broke out for nearly thirty seconds. Over the three hours that followed, all the way until Bernie Sanders managed to deliver a speech despite efforts by his supporters to filibuster a Clinton nomination via sustained cheering, and the convention was gaveled to a close for the night, basic peace prevailed. A few boos were heard, even a few for Bernie Sanders, but there have been C-SPAN segments in recent memory more contentious than last night’s convention proceedings.
There wasn’t so much as a floor fight. No delegations walked out. When the platform came up for a vote, the ayes had it without any more protest than some scattered no’s. When speakers announced, one after another, their enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton, they were not interrupted or shouted down. When it was announced that a picture would be taken of the full convention and that this photo would require stillness from every person in the hall for well over a minute, it went off without incident.
To the extent that any real protest was going on, it was outside the gates: a few thousand activists cordoned off in a park well beyond the enormous perimeter that has been erected around the Wells Fargo Center.
This is not a raucous convention. It is not even contentious, at least not in comparison to the average party gathering of the latter twentieth century, before we became accustomed to the perfect choreography of recent years. Despite some early invocations, it is nothing at all like Chicago in 1968, and it never threatened to be. A few boos, while potentially embarrassing to party managers, do not constitute a rebellion. Inside the hall, they barely caused an inconvenience.”
Also, here is a short piece on the “War on Expertise“, which now characterises so much of populist politics in the United States. Something similar was noted during the anti-EU referendum debates over in the UK, when Machiavellian Brexiter, Michael Gove, declared that, “People in this country have had enough of experts…”
Maybe it’s a new and peculiarly Anglo-American thing?