PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania — The second day of the Democratic National Convention was supposed to be a coronation. Instead, it triggered at least two confrontations — one, expected, in the streets; and the other, unexpected, inside the hall itself.
The day began according to plan. Some of the supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who had so raucously interrupted the speakers on Day 1 were scattered in different locations across the hall.
As a consolation, the convention lined up several of the most powerful pro-Sanders speakers to nominate him for president, including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who had quit the Democratic National Committee several months before in protest at its apparent — now evident — bias in favor of Clinton. The speeches seemed aimed at satisfying the Bernie fans, as well to allow them a less disruptive way to express their feelings.
Then the roll call vote was held, and the vote totals were announced, with Sanders himself casting the final votes for Clinton.
And then, all hell broke loose. Sanders delegates from around the hall donned gags and raised smuggled protest signs — or defaced Clinton sights — and walked out of the Wells Fargo Center, marching into the adjacent media tent and staging a sit-in. They called the protest “#Demexit,” declaring their opposition to the party’s “rigged” election.
Meanwhile, on the streets of the city, several protests converged — a Bernie Sanders protest, a Black Lives Matter protest, and an anti-Israel protest, among others.
The major news networks largely stayed focused on the speeches onstage, which culminated in former president Bill Clinton’s rambling testimonial to his wife’s life in public service. He stressed her commitment to social justice, working through the legislative process to achieve her goals.
But his was a speech for the party establishment, and for the mainstream media, watching from their perches. In the hallways, and the streets beyond, there was a growing discontent, a search for new direction.