Democrats at convention preach unity to a restless crowd


Last week Republican delegates booed Sen. Ted Cruz for refusing to endorse their party's presidential candidate.

On Monday Democrats booed Bernie Sanders when he encouraged them to support their party's candidate.

It's hard to know how the political winds will blow during convention season.

Sanders spoke to his supporters before the convention in Philadelphia had even been gaveled to order and was met with boos when he urged them to support Hillary Clinton, who bested him in this spring's Democratic primaries.

Minnesota, however, backed Sanders during the state's packed caucuses on March 1. MinnPost reports several of the state's convention delegates attended Sanders' pre-convention speech. Like Sanders himself, delegates told MinnPost they hope to see the party come together behind Clinton during the convention and defeat Republican Donald Trump in November.

Leaked emails stir the pot

Sanders, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Senator Elizabeth Warren all gave prime-time speeches emphasizing the need for unity among Democrats.

But on this day it was a tough sell to some of the crowd. Many Sanders supporters were in a surly mood after private emails apparently obtained by Russian hackers showed the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was working behind the scenes during primary season to ensure that Clinton – not Sanders – became the party's candidate.

DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced that she will step down after the convention.

Former Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak, who is a vice-chair of the DNC, told WCCO the emails showed that some of the Committee's staff were not acting ethically.

"That is wrong and it is deeply wrong,” Rybak said. “Immediate action needed to be taken, and it did, and it starts at the top and I’m happy the chair recognized it was time to step down.”


Franken tries comic relief

With party leaders taking heat at their own convention, it was Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota – a longtime comedy writer – who tried to get delegates smiling with some barbs aimed at Trump.

Franken called himself a "world renown expert on right wing megalomaniacs" and professed to have earned a degree in that subject from Trump University. (See Franken's speech here.)

Later Franken and comic Sarah Silverman – supporters of Clinton and Sanders, respectively – appeared together in what the Washington Post described as an attempt to get the two camps to unite. But the effort deteriorated when Sanders backers began booing Silverman.


Ellison praises both Sanders and Clinton

If anyone was able to please everybody at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Convention Hall, it may have been Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison.

Ellison, an early supporter of Sanders, introduced the Vermont senator who he said had "sparked the beginning of a revolution."

“Together, Democrats, we will make our voices heard in November when we defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States,” Ellison said. “But tonight, let’s raise our voices in gratitude to a man who helped make this party greater than ever.”

You can watch Ellison's remarks here.

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