Reflections on the Last Day of DNC 2016

First and foremost, to Matt and Oreo – wow! our third convention together. How things have changed. For those of you new to DCW, while Matt started DCW in 2005, we really took off in 2008 when we were THE place for Superdelegate information. Before anyone else even thought about them (except the Obama campaign) we were covering Superdelegate by Superdelegate, naming names when the MSM was only giving rough numbers. Heady times.

Back then, bloggers were in our heyday. The DNC ran a contest for which bloggers, a few national and one from each state, would attend. At Denver there were special places for bloggers. There were many fewer bloggers in 2012, but still. This year, there was “Specialty Media” which included the very few bloggers, plus local outlets, some foreign press, and other outlets that are related to a “special interest” area. There was a “Specialty Media” area, where they didn’t really want pictures taken, which had tables set up with paper signs at each: “ADA” “Jewish” “Women” “LGBT” and like that. There were also comfy chairs arranged around power strips. But no specialized WiFi as there had been previously. I plan to write about what has happened to bloggers, and it’s a sad comment on media and society, which I hope will be rectified. But that’s for another day.

I spent a lot of time yesterday doing two things; first, attending a panel discussion hosted by the Roosevelt Institute, on which economic message will win Hillary Clinton the election, and which will cost her the election. The panel included Joseph Stiglitz, who I would have crawled over hot coals to hear. They handed out a lot of information which I am still synthesizing, and will post over the weekend.

The second thing was talking to media people about their experiences at both conventions this cycle. The consensus was that Cleveland was a dud: under attended, low energy, sad. Philadelphia was joyous. high energy, on point and a true success. Media was struck by the fact that there were more African American speakers on Monday night than attended the entire RNC. Stop. Reread that sentence.  As an aside, the DNC was run by three African American women: Donna Brazile, the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, Marsha Fudge the chair of the Democratic National Convention, and Leah Daugherty, the CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee (her third time.)

I asked all media with whom I spoke if they knew for whom they’d be voting. OH! the demurring. The right wing folks were all stumped: there was  a sense that they’d have to do something, but pulling the lever for Donald Trump would be a difficult pull, except for one woman who came from Texas, shrugged, and said it thankfully wouldn’t matter, The left, all of whom were my contemporaries were, to a man, “party first and let’s leave it at that.” I made some interesting contacts, some of whom you may end up seeing on this blog.

Mike SteeleFinally, I met Mike Steele. OK, to be honest, it wasn’t so much as I met him, as I ran up to him fawning. I was riding up the two-story escalator when I saw him below. I considered running down the up escalator, but thought better of it and took the down escalator, ran over, and just stood there as he spoke with someone else. Like a blithering idiot, I blurted “Mr. Steele, I can’t believe it’s really you. I’ve been writing about you for years. You’re my favourite Republican since Lincoln.” He asked how I knew him and I detailed his run for Senator, his amazing election to head the RNC with all those details including the “Barack the Magic Negro” CD put out by one of his opponents, the issues with his sister, and he grinned and said “You really DO know me.” “I’m a fan”, I said. I related my story to him of having been in Baltimore the week before the 2006 Senate election, and my experiences asking folks about the election. As I was telling the story, I didn’t notice that people were gathering behind me listening.

The story is that I was at a seminar, and I was the only white person attending. Some of my classmates took me to lunch. We walked down an alley, then down a flight of stairs to a soul food restaurant. Most of the food was on a cafeteria line, and as a vegetarian, I wasn’t going to do well, until I saw the “World’s Best Grill Cheese” sign. As I waited for my sandwich, I noticed I was the only person there who was white. I got my food, and sat with my friends, and asked for whom they were voting. One woman said “I’m voting for Mike Steele because he’s black and I’m black.”  I told her that was as racist as if I’d said I would vote for someone just because he was white. Mike Steele nodded and said he agreed that voting should be based on positions and the person, not one’s race. I asked how she could vote that way since her son was 17, and I cited the statistics for prison, parole and probation for black men under 20 in Baltimore. She said Mike was against abortion and that was enough. I countered, and suddenly a woman walked over from another table and said “The honky chick is right, girlfriend, today, you’re an honorary _____________ (bad word)” Mike Steele asked how many people were around, and I told him I didn’t cost him the election. I then fawned about how much I love watching him on MSNBC. “Keep watching,” he said as he hugged me. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

Circling back to blogging, this is the sort of article you get from a blogger: things you don’t see or read on the MSM. Color commentary on events and issues. I hope that you’ll stay with DCW as we cover the election with stories you won’t see elsewhere, keep up with the polls, and follow TMess as he writes about the Supreme Court, which comes back into session the first Monday in October. It’s especially important this year as both campaigns have so far refused protective press. Know the concept?

The White House press pool is comprised of members of large media outlets (and sometimes smaller ones) that follow the president around, day in, day out. One person covers the pool each day. They write pool reports several times a day and cover the president even when there are no events, although not inside private meetings. The pool reports are disseminated to all media outlets requesting them. (As an aside, DCW has received the pool reports since 2008).

One reason for the pool emanates from the First Amendment, but also so that a member of the press can bear witness to anything that happens. In general, the presidential candidates have a protective press pool from the moment we all know who the candidate will be. Negotiations determine the exact level of access. As of today, both the Trump and Clinton campaign have refused protective pool coverage. Trump because he only accepts positive press: that campaign has a list of banned journalists including The Washington Post, Univision, Buzzfeed and Huffpost, to name a few. The Clinton campaign is still coming to grips with the need for press coverage, something Hillary Clinton personally disdains.

Luckily there are still a few bloggers out here, and we’re no press pool, but we communicate!

Off to 101 days of the campaign. Today Hillary Clinton will lead a rally on Independence Mall and then she and Tim Kaine will take off on a bus across Pennsylvania stopping in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, and then on to Columbus, OH. Remember that Bill and Al did a bus trip in 1992. We’ll see what the press does following them around.

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