What others say: DNC strives for party unity

  • Wednesday, August 3, 2016 9:27pm
  • Opinion

Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was an obvious choice for a convention striving to be one – and much more apropos than his “America,” the adopted theme of the Bernie Sanders insurgency. Fans couldn’t help but notice, however, that Simon had chosen a number that was sung by his estranged former partner Art Garfunkel, of whom he recently told NPR, “Quite honestly, we don’t get along.” Simon’s rendition was in that way analogous to the Democratic National Convention: a paean to building a bridge sung over the unmistakable crackle of a burning one.

Much depends on the Democrats’ ability to cobble together this particular piece of infrastructure. The enterprise hasn’t been helped along, though, by the not entirely shocking (and possibly Russian-engineered) revelation that Democratic officials connived against the candidate who was not a Democrat for most of his career.

Many Sanders supporters are new to politics, and it shows in their frequently heard promises to vote for a minor-party candidate or sit the election out rather than choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Sixteen years ago, a similar impulse for perceived purity led many liberals to reject another centrist Democrat, Al Gore, in favor of activist Ralph Nader, which may have helped give George W. Bush his hanging-chad-thin victory. The once-popular notion that there was no substantial difference between Bush and Gore looked especially absurd in the wake of the Iraq invasion.

There is no need to wait for such a monumental event to reveal as preposterous the current claims that the choice between Clinton and Trump doesn’t matter.

To begin with, Clinton would be one of the more politically seasoned presidents upon her inauguration, while Trump would be the least. Moreover, in his convention speech Monday, Sanders himself reminded the faithful of the stark differences of tone and ideology between Clinton and Trump on immigration, the environment, health care, and more, concluding, “The choice is not even close.” Sanders went further on Tuesday by cautioning his supporters against voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

The Democratic Party has fired its chairwoman, changed its platform, and made other concessions to Sanders’ improbably successful but ultimately losing campaign. And after a long and sometimes bitter rivalry, Sanders, in contrast with Trump rival Ted Cruz, offered a remarkably full-throated endorsement of Clinton. So did Michelle Obama despite her husband’s hard-fought contest with Clinton eight years ago. The first lady reminded the convention of the power of breaking historic barriers by noting that she, a descendant of slaves, now lives in a White House built by them – and that Clinton’s election would be another such milestone.

Amid enduring dissent, some of the convention’s most successful moments so far have appealed to unity among people – including the kinds of people, like undocumented immigrants and the disabled, who have been targeted by Trump’s divisive rhetoric. But the greatest test of the party’s tolerance is taking place within.

—The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 27

More in Opinion

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Alaska House makes the right decision on constitutionally guaranteed PFD

The proposed amendment would have elevated the PFD to a higher status than any other need in the state

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, a Soldotna Republican who co-chairs the House Education Committee, speaks during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Creating a road map to our shared future

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

An array of solar panels stand in the sunlight at Whistle Hill in Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, April 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Renewable Energy Fund: Key to Alaska’s clean economy transition

AEA will continue to strive to deliver affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy to provide a brighter future for all Alaskans.

Mount Redoubt can be seen acoss Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: An open letter to the HEA board of directors

Renewable energy is a viable option for Alaska

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, speaks in opposition to an executive order that would abolish the Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives during a joint legislative session on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Making progress, passing bills

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Priya Helweg is the deputy regional director and executive officer for the Office of the Regional Director (ORD), Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Region 10. (Image via hhs.gov)
Opinion: Taking action on the maternal health crisis

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among high-income countries

Heidi Hedberg. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Health)
Opinion: Alaska’s public assistance division is on course to serve Alaskans in need more efficiently than ever

We are now able to provide in-person service at our offices in Bethel, Juneau, Kodiak, Kenai, Homer and Wasilla

Sara Hondel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Alaskan advocate shines light on Alzheimer’s crisis

In the heart of the nation’s capital next week, volunteers will champion the urgent need for legislative action to support those affected by Alzheimer’s

Most Read