Posted by Kristin Mccarthy on July 27, 2016 in Blog

What's done is done and our 2016 presidential race officially has nominees from the two major US political parties! In a history-making moment, the Democratic Party has nominated it's first female candidate for President last night. Here's your DNC Day 2 Daily Dispatch!

Arab Americans at the Convention
  • Our block party - Ahlan Wa Sahlan Philly! - was a huge success! We had music, dabke, food, hookah, some stand up comedy, and a ton of fun saluting the nominee! Check out some early pictures and stay tune for our wrap up of all that went down.
  • AAIF hosted a luncheon for the nearly 50 Arab American delegates that are in Philadelphia - along with the many more on staff with the DNC, this year we have one of the largest Arab American contingent in our history! Senator Debbie Stabenow, Representative Debbie Dingell, and Billy Shaheen joined us for delicious food and to hear the stories of how and why Arab Americans have gotten involved in the political process.
  • Check out Arab American Clem Balanoff casting Illinois' official votes on the convention floor. Clem served as the Illinois state Director for Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign.
  • AAI President Dr. Jim Zogby and Executive Director Maya Berry briefed the U.S. State Department's foreign press. Listen to their remarks here.
--> Follow AAI's two issue forums today from 1:00-2:30pm and 3:00-4:30pm (est). We'll be tweeting and, hopefully, live streaming on our Facebook page. More info on the panels here.
On the Convention Floor
On the heels of a  controversial and seemingly divided first day of the convention, the second day was decidedly more smooth for the Democratic National Committee. Delegates flooded the floor to officially cast their votes for a nominee. When the vote came to the state of Vermont, Senator Bernie Sanders rose to request a suspension of the rules and moved for nomination by acclamation (a voice vote rather than a tally). In a moment made for television, the "Ay's" had the vote nearly unanimously, and the division that plagued yesterday's testy convention speeches appeared to have been squashed. However, there were many Sanders delegates who walked off of the convention floor after the "Ay's" were given the vote, showing that the Democrats still have work to do in courting the Bernie campaign supporters to Hillary's camp. Hillary Clinton made her first appearance at the convention last night - to "shatter the glass ceiling" and accept the nomination. She appeared via satellite with a group of young women to thank the crowd and the country. She said, "If there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say: I may become the first woman President, but one of you is next."
The speeches that followed Clinton's official nomination were appropriately celebratory of her nomination as the first woman of a major political party. A huge list of trailblazing woman took to the stage to commend Hillary's accomplishments and leadership. The longest serving female in the Senate, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, gave the official nominating speech for Hillary before the vote. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also gave an emotional speech in support of Hillary's nomination, praising her record - like many speakers last night - of serving the cause of woman and children throughout her 40 year career in public service. 

A powerful set of speeches from "Mothers of the Movement" gave the convention a sober importance. Each of the nine mothers on stage has lost a son or daughter to violence over the past few years - including the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Hadiya Pendleton, and Dontre Hamilton. As the women walked on stage, a resounding chant of "Black Lives Matter" erupted in the hall. The woman gave their personal endorsements of Hillary Clinton, who they believe has a plan for leading the nation through a difficult time with compassion and pragmatic policy to end police brutality and gun violence.

Of course the night's biggest headliner was former President Bill Clinton. In a characteristically long and charming speech, Hillary's husband shared stories of their early years together finishing law school, establishing their careers, and starting a family. His humanizing speech also wandered into policy territory as well - sharing that Hillary has deep ties to Israel dating back to her days in Arkansas when she overhauled the virtually nonexistent pre-K school system. Clinton very briefly laid out his vision for an inclusive America under Hillary Clinton - which hit a significant snag. In what we assume was intended to be a message of inclusion, President Clinton declared that Muslims who “love America and freedom” and “hate terror”  should “stay here and help us win.” Some have correctly taken issue with how he spoke about American Muslims as a "class apart,” and we are left wondering where American Muslims would go exactly since the majority are American-born citizens.

Overall the night's celebration of the first woman nominee from a major party has left the Democratic Party feeling good about the energy behind their nominee. With more huge names lined up to speak tonight, there is a lot more to come.

Outside the Convention

While the convention floor was relatively drama-free, a lot of work went into making that the case. Senator Sanders made an unexpected appearance Tuesday morning at the California State delegation breakfast. California (seated stage right at the convention), has been the most boisterous and vocal delegation on the convention floor, frequently booing and chanting speakers on the stage who have either opposed Bernie Sanders of voted unfavorably on issues like the TPP.  Senator Sanders tried to bring the California delegation onboard the Clinton train yesterday morning, but judging by the aforementioned walkout, he may have succeeded in quieting the boos - but many of his supporters appear unwilling to back Clinton.

Another challenging moment for the Democrats came courtesy of one of Clinton's best surrogates - Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. In an interview with CNN pretty soon after Clinton's official nomination, McAuliffe seemed to divulge a pretty damaging bit of information - that Clinton might flip flop on her position against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Opposing the TPP has been a central issue for Bernie Sanders supporters, and McAullife's comments, if true, would be viewed as a huge betrayal to the Sanders campaign and his movement.